If you or anyone in your wedding party is nervous about speaking in public, here are our foolproof Top 10 Tips to give the perfect wedding speech.
For many of us, speaking in public is a daunting prospect – add the presence of close friends and family into the mix, and the pressure can feel greater than ever.
So how do you make sure that everyone involved can relax and enjoy your wedding, without fearing the prospect of making their wedding speech?
Simple. Here are Manor By The Lake’s Top Tips for a Successful Wedding Speech.
- Break from tradition and consider delivering speeches earlier in the day to prevent nerves building up for hours. Why not give the speeches immediately after your ceremony? People are relaxed and happy, (and have a drink in hand!), so it’s a perfect opportunity to get the formalities out of the way, so everyone can then relax and enjoy the rest of the celebrations.
- Set a limit! It’s a wedding, not a conference, so keep the speeches short and sweet. Suggest all speakers write no more than 1000 words if they’re planning on writing their speech out in full, and if not, a reasonable time limit is somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes maximum. For people who aren’t professional public speakers, this is plenty of time to tell a couple of funny tales, speak from the heart, and propose a toast.
- Plan, plan, plan. If you’re one of the wedding speech givers, the best advice you’ll ever receive is to think about what you’d like to say, and make some notes. Very few people can stand and speak off the cuff without any prior thought – unless you do it for a living, this is not the time to try!
- Follow a structure. Once you’ve planned what you want to say, it’s a good idea to organise your notes into sections covering the areas you need to cover – thanking people, sharing memories, and congratulating the happy couple. Concentrate on a strong opening line that will capture everyone’s attention, and always end on a high. A funny tale that leads neatly into a toast always works well.
- Practice. Once you have your wedding speech noted down, practice saying it out loud, as this will give you confidence, and it’s also a good test of how long you’ll be speaking for. If it’s way too long when you say it out loud – now is the time for some serious editing. Find a kind friend who can act as your guinea pig audience, and ask them for their honest feedback.
- Always have a back up. Once you’ve made your notes and are happy with your final version, then make a copy. In fact, make 3 or 4 copies! There’s nothing worse than a last minute panic when you realise that your notes are sitting on the bar in the pub down the road, and you’re sitting at the top table, sweating. Give a copy to a friend, and keep a spare copy at the venue so you can’t possibly be caught out.
- Make eye contact. One of the most daunting parts of making a wedding speech is the moment when you stand up to face your audience, and see a room of eager faces all looking at you! It’s a good idea to spot friendly faces early on and then speak directly to them, making eye contact as if they are the only ones in the room. Do look around the room as you speak, but try and focus on one person at a time.
- Prop anyone? If you’re really nervous about simply standing and speaking, then a great distraction is the introduction of a prop or visual aid. Who doesn’t love an unexpected slide show of embarrassing photos, or proof of the groom’s dubious taste in fashion when you produce his long forgotten leather trousers…
- Let the girls get a look in. The tradition is that the father of the bride speaks first, followed by the groom, and finally, the best man. However, if the bride, or chief bridesmaid would like to say a few words, this makes a lovely break from tradition, and gets the girls firmly back centre stage, which can’t be a bad thing…
- And breathe… Before you speak, take a deep breath, and remember, everyone is willing you on. It’s a joyous occasion and even though you may think they’re a tough crowd, the room will be full of love and no one wants to see you slip up.
For more expert advice and guidance on planning your perfect Cotswolds wedding, call Tina at Manor By The Lake on 01242 245 071.