Speak From the Heart

Nerves and apprehension often surround the thought of giving a wedding speech, but when the audience is there out of love, on such a happy occasion, not all that panic is necessary.

Here are some tips to get you through.

DON’T WING IT

Preparation is key. Give yourself plenty of time to write and practise the speech. Avoid reading off cue cards, though, by memorising the speech and glancing at the cards to keep you on track.

PACE YOURSELF

It is important to speak clearly and slowly and understand that everyone can hear you. Practice will help.

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

Think about who is in the room and deliver an appropriate speech everyone can enjoy. Avoid the nitty-gritty stories and in-jokes only a few people will understand. The humour and tone should appeal to everyone and be inclusive.

ADD HUMOUR

It is okay to lightly tease the person you are toasting. Think of silly stories, in which they were idiotic but lovable, that will make the room smile. You don’t have to rely on just your own material, contact friends and family of the person to gather some unusual anecdotes.

INCLUDE THE OBVIOUS

Lavish a bit of praise on the bride and bridesmaids, and the families. People love to be mentioned and paid tribute to — make others feel good.

EASE UP ON THE DRINKS

While it may be tempting to get a bit of liquid courage, you will thank yourself for not slurring through sentences — you will have plenty of time after your speech to drink, so keep it to two drinks pre-speech.

TIMING IS EVERYTHING

The audience will not appreciate you waffling on for 20 minutes. A five-to-10 minute speech is perfect. Ask someone to give you a five-minute cue if necessary.

TRADITIONAL TIPS FOR YOUR SPEECH

FATHER OF THE BRIDE

  • Thanks the guests for coming and participating in the special day
  • Thanks everyone who contributed to the cost of the wedding
  • Compliments and praises the bride, and welcomes her new husband into the family
  • Toasts the bride and groom

GROOM

  • Thanks the father of the bride for his toast
  • Thanks the guests for attending and for their gifts
  • Thanks both sets of parents
  • Compliments his bride
  • Thanks his best man
  • Thanks and toasts the bridesmaids

BEST MAN

  • Thanks the groom for his toasts to the bridesmaids.
  • Comments on the bridal couple, particularly the groom
  • Reads any messages from absent friends and relatives
  • Ends with a final toast to the bride and groom

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