Making a wedding speech can be a daunting prospect, whether you’re the father of the bride, the groom, or the best man, but it doesn’t have to be an unpleasant experience. Here are some great tips and things to think about when making a wedding speech.
Take pride in your role
Walk forward with pride in the unyielding knowledge that you’ve earned the time to speak on the subject by way of being a parent or special friend.
Create your own comfort zone
Rehearse your talk out loud for ten minutes a day from your special armchair. You’ll therefore design an internal comfort zone within yourself and it will no longer scare you. Every time you rehearse your words will be ever so slightly different. Imagine yourself at the location as the confident warm speaker you want to be.
Keep it conversational
Think friendly casual conversation rather than a distant official approach. This will free you from the fear of making a mistake. Speak real and make friends with your listeners. Forget trying to be a public speech clone. Let your body and voice intuitively reflect on the chemistry of the moment.
Make it clean and brief
Your speech must not be offensive. ‘Awkward’ moments are fine but no dirty stories. Be brief. Keep it crisp, clear and intentional. About four minutes duration would be perfect. Oh and stay sober. Have your celebratory drinks only after your speech.
Be yourself and make it personal
Guests will relate to you if you make sure the speech is personal and you come across as the ordinary, imperfect human being that you are. Guests don’t expect a groomed professional speaker but they do expect you to have thought about what you have to convey beforehand and to mean the words you say.
Nobody is there to judge you
The fear of a big audience is completely unfounded as the fact is you’ll be giving your speech to a group of friends. These people have come to celebrate the love between two people, they haven’t travelled far and dressed up in their fanciest clothes just to evaluate your every word and move!
Plan the pathway to take
Memorise your beginning: “I’m deeply honoured for the opportunity to share some of my thoughts with you tonight… ” and keep in mind your ending: “Would you all please stand and join me in a toast to Jenny and Bill”. Plan a typical path of where you want to take your audience, with your end clearly ahead of you. For the rest, relive your moments from memory.
Check out the equipment
Strong lights shining directly in your eyes help your eyes from shadowing and your audience will be able to see you. Don’t squint and move your head away with off-putting jokes like “Gee that light’s strong!” Just act like everything is normal and look right through it. Every microphone is different so familiarise with the one you’ll be using. Always get to the venue on time and familiarise yourself with the sound system.
Be a storyteller
The secret is to review past experiences and pick the right story for the occasion. You could relate the time little Sally overshadowed the Principal at the school concert; you could talk from memory how the groom acted strangely the day he asked for her hand; or you could make note of the groom’s generosity with the memory of his willingness to help you paint your home during the holidays. Ask close friends and relatives for moments you can use.
In times of great emotion it is often hard to prevent the tears. Once your tears flow the audiences’ tears will flow with you. You’ll soon get back your composure and have people laughing with you as you tell about one of those ‘awkward’ moments we can understand. Under no circumstances say sorry for feelings which are as natural as the air we breathe.