I don’t know how many times that naughty little word “speeches” comes up when we are doing a pre-wedding interview with the bride and groom.
There are two things that, in my experience, the groom gets a little bit nervous about. The speeches and the first dance.
My advice is to write your speech out (and I don’t mean between entre and the main course) before the big day, fold it up and slip it in your jacket coat and then just relax.
As an MC it is my job to make everyone relaxed on the night and by the time you step up to the lectern you will be ready to go. I will have your wife walk up with you, champagne glass in hand ready for the toasts
What will I say?
Before you begin to write your speech or toast, jot down some thoughts about the couple’s relationship, how they met, how you know them, their personalities, or general thoughts about marriage (as long as they’re good thoughts). Once you have some of these thoughts down on paper, it usually becomes easier to craft a heartfelt speech or wedding toast. Here are some handy tips:
- Start off by introducing yourself, so that everyone in the room knows who you are and what your relationship is to the bride and groom. (This doesn’t apply if you’re the bride or groom!) Then make a welcoming statement like, “We’re so happy to be here for this joyous occasion.”
- Transition into a funny story or memory about the bride and/or groom, give your thoughts on love and marriage, tell the story of how the couple met – whatever you choose to speak about from the list you made before you started writing your speech.
- Wrap up with a wish, toast, or blessing for the bride and groom. Then raise your glass with a congratulations, cheers, or whatever is most appropriate.
Along with writing the speech, there are also some things you should and shouldn’t do while preparing or giving your wedding speech or toast:
Write your speech on index cards. They are less distracting than paper, but be sure to number the cards in case they get shuffled around.
- Practice. Even though the typical wedding speech or toast is only 3-5 minutes long, it can be a very long and nerve-wracking 3-5 minutes if you’re not prepared. Knowing your material well helps lessen your nervousness.
- Stand up straight, look confident and make eye contact. Even if you’re nervous, it’s less likely to show if your body language doesn’t give you away.
- Speak slowly and clearly. If you don’t pause to let your main points sink in, the audience may miss much of what you’re saying.
- Be sincere. It’s an honor to be chosen by the bride and groom to give a speech. If you speak from the heart, it’s hard to go wrong.
- Drink too much before speaking. Although you might feel it will calm your nerves, too much alcohol will prevent you from speaking and thinking clearly.
- Talk too long. Nobody wants to hear you ramble, but they will like to hear interesting details or quick stories.
- Use humor in poor taste. Avoid stories about exes and keep your stories suitable for the children and grandmothers who may be in the audience.
What if you’re really prepared, know your speech inside and out, and still can’t shake the, well – the shakes?
- If your knees are shaking, subtly lean against a table or podium. Just don’t be tempted to sit down. Standing is a way to show respect to the newlyweds.
- Are your hands shaking? Clasp them in front of you or behind your back or simply hold onto something (like your index cards).
- To break the ice, you can always admit your nervousness to the audience. Most people have the same fear of public speaking and are just happy that you’re the one giving the speech and not them.
Being asked to give a wedding speech or toast is an honor. With practice and sincerity, you can give a memorable speech or toast that will touch the hearts of the bride, groom and everyone invited to share in their happy day.