Weddings are full of tradition. From elements like walking down the aisle, to the first dance, to the meal and the throwing of the bouquet, it’s wrapped up in loving rituals that punctuate every part of the day.
The speeches are an integral part of the wedding, but it can often be the one element that brings with it lots of nerves for those who are speaking.
The key thing to remember is, that you don’t have to follow any set rules when it comes to the speeches. This is your wedding day, so make the speeches happen in a way that you wish them to and in a way that puts everyone at ease.
Here’s some tips on how to make the speeches go smoothly for your big day.
This is key. There are of course so called ‘rules’ when it comes to wedding speeches; in reality these are just more like traditional guidelines than anything else, but there is no reason why you have to follow them at all. Why not just do it differently? Have the speeches in a way that suits you and your bridal party. Often speeches happen after or before a meal in the main room itself. However, why not rip up the rule book and have an informal speech or two at the pre-reception? That way there’s less pressure, it’s less formal and it will be done and dusted before the meal even begins.
The old saying goes that practice makes perfect and this certainly true when it comes to the speeches. Not everyone is going to be comfortable or familiar with public speaking, indeed many of us aren’t these days, so taking on a wedding speech albeit in a room full of family and friends can be scary to say the least. Practice is going to take the edge off the nerves so don’t skimp. There’s no such thing as too much practice.
Use mirrors, video yourself, practice in front of someone you trust, and consider contacting organisations like Toastmasters.
Embrace whatever style you like for your speeches. In other words, don’t be afraid to have some notes or cue cards on standby to help you. Not everyone is happy to speak off the cuff in front of a room of people, so having a few backup notes can settle the nerves. That being said, do try and lift your head out of the notes, pick a point in the room and look at it, or catch the eye of someone close to you and deliver the speech to them.
Again there are old fashioned thoughts on who traditionally speaks at a wedding, but today, those rules are very much a thing of the past. Anyone you wish can stand up and say a few words including the bride and mother(s) of the brides! Don’t be afraid to do it your own way! Also consider that some people may not feel comfortable speaking and you shouldn’t force them to do so.
While you might think your jokes are absolutely hilarious, often it’s a good idea to try and keep the jokes both clean and non-offensive. A wedding is full of a cross section of people – young and old from all walks of life and while your long embarrassing story about the groom might be one you adore, it might not be suitable for the speeches. Keep it respectful at all times, but of course inject some personality into it too. Balance is the key and if in doubt ask someone in the bridal party for their thoughts. Don’t just wing it!
Inject Some Fun
Finally, ice breakers are a great way to settle nerves all round, both for those speaking and for the tables/guests. You could encourage guests to lay bets on how long the speeches will be or outline how to play the ‘thank you’ game. Essentially each guests puts a fiver in a pint glass and each time the word ‘thank you’ is said the glass moves on place to the left. Whoever is left with the glass at the end wins the pot.