Being a pen pal may sound a simple task, but…
They say weddings are stressful events to organise, but I think it is arguable that writing a wedding speech is one of the hardest and most daunting tasks of the big day. This wonderful yet unenviable task is often expected of the Best Man, the Father of the Bride, and sometimes the Maid of Honour or a bridesmaid. In fact, if someone close to you is getting married, you could be asked to do a speech, whatever your relationship with the happy couple; whilst the tradition of speeches is still going strong at weddings, the people delivering them is far more varied now than ever before.
Other wedding guests often anticipate the speeches with excitement, and people will probably expect to laugh, and maybe cry a little too. This expectation places a big pressure on the speech writers. Should you share that secret from your school days? Is that joke a step too far? Will anyone laugh at that anecdote, or is it boring? Take a look through our top tips below, and blow the wedding party away with your speech writing skills!
Write it down
The first tip is a simple one: DO write it down. Don’t try to wing it – you don’t know how much your nerves will affect you on the day. Don’t leave it until the last minute either – give yourself plenty of time to write it and rewrite it as needed. You will save yourself a lot of stress by starting your speech writing in plenty of time.
Take it seriously
It may be a bit daunting, and you may not be very keen on the idea of public speaking, but it is an honour to be asked to speak on someone’s wedding day. Approach it with a serious manner. A lot of trust is being placed on you, so you don’t want to let the happy couple down on the day by not having taken your role seriously.
Make sure you are accurate with details that matter, such as names and dates. Nobody wants to witness a Best Man mispronounce a late relative’s name. This is why writing it down is so important – if your notes say Judy, you are much less likely to read it and then say Sue by mistake!
Less is more
It is far better to deliver a short but brilliant speech than to deliver a 20 minute speech with 5 minutes of great content, and 15 minutes of waffle. Be concise. If you feel yourself drifting from the point you intended to make, take a look at your notes and get back on track.
Long before the big day, run through your speech with a trusted and honest friend. Does it have flow? Is it offensive? Does it show the Bride & Groom in a positive light? Is it touching? Keep your audience in mind whilst you’re doing this.
Let your audience know who you are when you step up to the microphone. You may be close to the Bride or Groom, but the Bride’s Aunt, for example, probably doesn’t have a clue who you are. Sharing your identity will help the audience relate to you and what you are saying.
Share a story about the Bride & Groom
Everybody loves to hear a nice story about the happy couple – whether it is about when they first met, a funny story from their time together, or a lovely moment you witnessed. Keep it about the Bride and Groom, and not about yourself – it is their day after all.
Share a personal experience
Share a bit about the personality of the Bride and Groom. Perhaps the Bride got you through a tough time in your life, or the Groom’s Mother passed away leading him to raise money for a related charity. Or it might be as simple as the Bride always having a smile on her face, or time for others. Keep it positive and focus on their good traits.
Use humour sensibly
Don’t be vulgar or inappropriate; always keep your audience in mind. It will no doubt be a very mixed crowd, so keep it light. A popular way to inject humour into a speech is to gently rib the Bride or Groom, in a loving manner. Do not use ‘in-jokes’ or take the opportunity to have a dig at someone!
Make them cry
Weddings are emotional days for many involved, and most people expect to shed a tear during the speeches. Pop a heart-warming story into your speech, and pay homage to those who couldn’t attend the wedding due to ill health or their having passed away. Remember to lighten the mood before the toast though.
Use a quote
If you’re struggling to put your own thoughts into words, why not pop a famous and meaningful quote into your speech? Many people do, with success – just make sure it’s relevant!
Praise & compliment
No wedding speech is complete without a big dose of praise. Weddings are stressful for everyone involved, so any thanks and compliments will be gratefully received. Don’t forget to thank parents if they paid or contributed to the wedding. And I’m sure the Bride and Bridesmaids won’t mind being told they look beautiful, even if they’ve already been told 7 times!
End with a toast
Propose a toast to the Bride and Groom at the end of your speech. Ask everyone to raise their glass, and wish the newlyweds well on their future together. Don’t forget to take a sip yourself.