I did really well in school, but still, I remember being so afraid of getting in front of the class and talking. There was something about being up there and having to talk and having everyone watching. I think a lot of people feel the same way I do about speeches. It’s tough. It’s even harder, though, when you are having to give a speech at a wedding. That’s a lot of pressure. Today, I’ve put together my Top Tips for Wedding Speeches.
First I’d like to point out that these tips aren’t necessarily for the person giving the speech. There is some good info in there for them, but I will be covering the entire topic of wedding speeches. A good portion of it will be aimed at helping the couple make some decisions about the speeches.
Why do wedding speeches?
If speeches are so much trouble, why even do them? First, they’ve become part of the tradition. It’s something that people expect to happen at a wedding. If you don’t do them, people might feel disappointed, either the people in attendance or the people that wanted to give a speech.
Besides that, I really do believe speeches are important. They are an opportunity to learn more about the couple and the relationships between friends. Usually, the speakers will tell stories that no one else knows, and everyone gets a good laugh. Speeches often get emotional as well, and I think weddings are a perfect time for that.
Often, speeches are used by parents or the couple to say thanks to everyone. A lot of people put effort into raising the couple and making the big day happen. It’s good to say thank you.
When should you do the wedding speeches?
There are really two options for when to do the speeches: rehearsal dinner or the wedding reception. Both are good options, but depending on the situation and what you want, you might pick one or the other.
The rehearsal dinner is a great time to do wedding speeches if you are wanting it to be more casual or laid back. The crowd will be much smaller at the rehearsal dinner and it will be your closest family and friends. If you have someone that you worry about what they will say, this would be the better time to have them talk. If they do end up saying something, at least the group will be more understanding.
You will also have more time for speeches. At a wedding, there are lots of things going on, so the speeches should only take up a few minutes. At the rehearsal dinner, people are just sitting around talking. In this situation, you can allow more people to give a speech and maybe even up it up for anyone.
Traditionally, the wedding speeches are done at the wedding reception by the best man and main of honor. This will be a larger group of people and a much more formal situation. In general, this can help control a person that might in other situations say something super inappropriate. Still, if you are concerned, be careful about who you let talk at your wedding reception.
Top Tips for Wedding Speeches
1. Limit the time each person talks
Speeches are supposed to be entertaining, but if any speech goes too long, people will start to get bored. I still remember this one wedding. The father of the bride talked for close to an hour! Yes, there were some good points in there, but that’s an hour everyone had to sit there and listen. That’s way too long!
In my experience, 5 minutes is plenty of time for someone to do a speech. It allows them to cover lots of things without people getting bored. I’d suggest you talk to your speakers a few months before the wedding and tell them that’s how long they will have, so they can plan.
2. Ask Certain People to Speak and Others to Not
Traditionally, the best man and maid of honor give a speech, but don’t feel like you have to follow that. Not everyone is great at public speaking, and some people really don’t want to. If you think it would be better to have someone else do a speech, say something. You can ask someone not to speak and ask that someone else fills in.
This is a touchy situation, so be careful how you do it. First, talk to them in advance. If you wait too long, they might have already spent time preparing or you might not be able to find a replacement. Second, be considerate of their feelings. Bring it up gently and explain yourself. If someone is adamant about giving a speech, you can let them do it at the rehearsal. If they really want to do it at the wedding, let them, but still, find a way to make sure they follow your guidelines. You can also ask to read their speeches in advance to make sure they are appropriate.
3. Plan Your Wedding Speech
Winging it is never a good thing. I can only think of maybe once where someone walked up to the mic without preparing and it turning out ok. Most of the time, it’s a bunch of random thoughts thrown together without any real direction.
Things go so much smoother when people plan their speeches. They can brainstorm different things to have in it, organize things, and even get some great jokes. If they have no idea where to start, they can Google, “Wedding Speeches” to get a start.
When they plan their speech, it also gives you a chance to look it over beforehand. Like I said before, there are some people you really want to check on before they get up in front of 150 people.
4. Practice Your Speech
Once you have a good plan for your speech, you need to practice it. This will help you see if there are any problems like the length of the speech. The more you practice, the better you will be at remembering it and delivering it. This is especially important because it looks really bad if you are having to read off a phone.
When you are practicing, work on looking around at different places. You’ll want to look at the couple and the audience throughout your speech to help keep people engaged.
Think about it like anything else in life. A team wouldn’t go play a game without practicing first. A wedding is really important, so it’s even a bigger deal to practice beforehand.
5. Tell a Story
One of the best thing about speeches is hearing the stories. Make sure to tell a story about your relationship and past with the couple or groom or bride. People connect to stories so they will be listening and excited to hear it.
Choosing a story can be difficult. Find one that most people don’t know and is overall funny. It’s ok to be embarrassing, but don’t make it too negative. It’s also important to make sure the story has a point. Pick a story that shows something about them and their personality or relationship.
6. Talk about Both People
It makes sense that the speaker will know one person in the couple more than the other, but make sure to talk about both. Start off focusing on the one you know, but then make sure to talk about both people. What did you see change when they met the other person? What do you admire about the new person?
7. Speak Slowly and Cleary
What’s the point of giving a wedding speech if no one can understand you? The two most common issues are speaking too quickly or jumbling up what you say. Make sure to speak slowly and clearly.
This again goes back to practicing for most people. You can practice going slowly and speaking clearly, but also, the more you practice, the more comfortable you will feel.
8. Use a Microphone and Sound System
This is the same thing; if no one can hear you, there’s no point. Get a good sound system so everyone in the whole room can hear. Usually, the DJ can provide you with this, but some venues also have a built in system.
Also, when you are speaking, make sure to hold the microphone up to your face and not at your waist. It won’t work if it is too low.
9. End of a Positive Note
It’s ok to make jokes and get a good laugh, but always end on a positive note. Weddings are happy times and a start to a happy future. Your speech should end with something happy and positive to remind them of this.
Creating an Amazing Wedding Speech
That’s it! If you follow most of these tips, you are setting people up for success. Your friends and family will be able to give a wonderful wedding speech, and everyone else will love to hear it!