Wedding speeches are always hotly anticipated and talked about long after the big day has been and gone. Here’s how to get your speech just right.
From properly planning your content and including the right balance of fun and touching anecdotes, to delivering it with confidence and style, the details needed to get a wedding speech right should not be underestimated.
Here are our tips for writing and delivering the perfect wedding speech.
1. Lay the Groundwork
Find out whether it’s going to be an intimate family wedding or a large event with a party atmosphere, so you can adapt your content accordingly. This will help you decide whether family-friendly anecdotes, sentimental stories or accounts of mischievous escapades are appropriate for the audience. Importantly, find out how much time the bride and groom have allocated so you can plan it accordingly – 10 to 15 minutes per speech is the norm.
2. What’s Expected
If it’s a traditional wedding, there are certain things you’ll be expected to say. The father of the bride typically thanks guests for coming and thanks the groom’s family for welcoming his daughter into the family. The groom usually thanks everyone involved in the planning, thanks his parents and thanks the bridesmaids. The best man tends to say a few complimentary words about the bride, mentions the bridesmaids and reads out messages from those who can’t attend. If the bride and maid of honour do speeches, tradition doesn’t dictate any particular content that should be included, but thanking various members of the wedding party is often anticipated.
3. Create a Long List
You’ll probably want to say more than your allocated speech time will allow, so it’s important to choose your content carefully. Make a note of all the stories, sentimental messages and points you’d ideally like to include. Post-It notes can be great for getting all your ideas down. Then prioritise your most important ideas.
Once you’ve decided on the key content you want to include, it’s time to piece it all together. Start with all the must-haves that you know will be expected of you. Then decide which order is most logical for the other content. If you’re including some fun anecdotes, remember to mix these up with complimentary messages about the bride and groom too.
5. Write it Out
If you’re a confident public speaker, it may be sufficient to write your speech in note form, but it doesn’t hurt to write it out in full. This helps you to see how the speech flows from start to finish and if you need to inject it with extra humour, sentimentality or fun turns of phrase.
6. Rehearsal Time
The most important thing you can do to deliver a great wedding speech is to rehearse as much as possible. Stand up, speak at full volume and deliver the speech as you would want to on the wedding day. If you want to add a little of the pressure you might feel on the day, rehearse it in front of a friend, or film it and watch it back to see where you want to improve. This also allows you to check you can deliver the speech within your allocated time.
7. Order Of Play
Being able to picture yourself delivering the speech will help you feel prepared, so find out as much information as you can about how the wedding day will run. In particular, ascertain whether you’ll be using a microphone or if you’ll need to project your voice. Find out what time the speeches will be done too – usually this is just before or just after the wedding breakfast. Also find out what order the speeches will be delivered in so there’s no confusion on the day. Usually it’s the father of the bride, the groom, the bride, the maid of honour and then the best man.
8. Right On Cue
Having some cue cards with you on the day will make you feel safe in case you forget anything. You could bring along your fully written out speech too, but avoid reading word-for-word from a piece of paper.
9. Feed the Mind
It’s easy to get carried away after the nuptials, so be careful not to go overboard at the drinks reception ahead of the speeches. Try to have something to eat or drink to energise you before delivering the speech such as a sugary drink.
10. Take a Breath
If you’re feeling nervous during the speech, take a breath. Pausing in between thoughts or sentences sounds perfectly natural, and it gives you a chance to calm down too.
Write and deliver the perfect wedding speech and make the whole wedding party proud!