Wedding speeches. Oh the pressure. Everyone expects to laugh or be sent into an array of varying ‘awwww’s. Am I right or am I right?
Traditionally speeches were given by Father of the Bride, the Groom (with a toast to the bridesmaids) and the Best Man. This is very simply put of course. There is a long version with plenty of back and forth.
Nowadays, it’s a little more flexible. The bride and groom can pretty much have whoever they want do a little number.
My dad almost turned his down as the father of the bride at my sister’s wedding. Ok I’m hearing many cry WHAT as I even write that. It’s not because he didn’t want to do it exactly. He believes he’s not the best public speaker and hates all attention on him.
So I stepped up. A duo we became. And between us, we nailed it.
Still taken from the video of my speech – hence why it’s a tad blurry.
Here are some of the things I learnt:
Brainstorm first – just sit down (perhaps with a glass of wine or two) and list some of the best memories you have. All the funny times, heartwarming moments and even perhaps a couple of cringe-worthy bits too. Don’t forget though that there will be people of all ages listening, so maybe keep any bad details to when you go for your next night out or sleepover.
All these best bits will form the basis for your speech, so scribble down as many as possible, and once you can’t think anymore, sleep on it. Go back to the list and narrow it down to the ones you think would work best.
Write your speech. Then write it again.
Start writing as though you were just talking to someone. You want it to be natural. You can scrawl bits down, add bits in here and there, and even completely restructure until it feels right. Once you’re happy with it, write it out again – this will help you remember it, but will also be neater for you to learn from.
You could even write note cards with reminders for your speech if that’s easier for you. It’s just whatever works best for you.
Practise, practise, practise. And get feedback – read over your speech until you’re comfortable with it. Maybe even pretend you’re already there at the wedding, about to get going and deliver how you imagine it’d be. The more you practise, the more you’ll feel comfortable.
It’s a great idea to get some feedback from someone relatively close to the bride or groom too. They might spot something you don’t, give you something to add in and could help you build confidence in yourself ahead of the actual day.
Have multiple copies – at my sister’s wedding, the best man deleted his speech. Yep, the whole thing was gone. Wiped clean. Oh, the stress. So definitely make a couple of copies just in case. Luckily he improvised, and although shorter than he first hoped, it still came out really well.
It’s a great test of improvising ability but don’t put yourself through that if you don’t have to.
Don’t worry about getting nervous – we all get nervous. It’s because we care so much. It’s totally normal.
Just get up there. Remember, you were picked because they think you’ll smash it, and show them they were right. If you’ve done all the above you’ll totally nail it, and if you slip up, everyone will be drinking anyway so probably won’t notice. Just make something up, or pause, glance down and pick up where you made a little hiccup. You got this.
And there you have it. My top tips for a smashing wedding speech.
Have you done a wedding speech before?