How To Write A Winning Wedding Speech
So, your friend (or a relative) is getting married. And you’re the best man or maid of honour! Congratulations!
Having the role of a best man or maid of honour is a privilege because it shows how important you are to your friend or your sibling.
Being asked to deliver a speech is quite an honour as well. But in reality, it can be very nerve-wracking! It’s like more of a punishment for being such a good friend or sibling.
According to studies, the biggest fear of most people is Glossophobia - the fear of public speaking! Standing in front of a crowd can put a lot of pressure. And talking in front for a couple of minutes is a lot more to handle!
But fear not, my friend. Even if you’re not a speaker nor a writer, you can still wow the crowd. All you’ll need is the right amount of preparation.
This short article from Mr Roses will help you conquer the stage and become a better version of yourself. Just remember that you’re not doing this speech for yourself. You’re doing it for your friend (or your relative) whom you’re really happy for.
Get ready to speak like you never did before!
How To Prepare
There are so many online resources available to assist you with putting together a prize worthy speech, which enable you to make your speech about as personalized as can be. A quick Google search will bring up a bunch of online surveys that can be customized, which you can use to ask the couple, the bridal party and close family members questions about their favourite memories, embarrassing stories and what they love about each other. Some questions you might want to ask could be, ‘What is the most annoying habit of the bride?’, ‘How did the first meeting of the groom and his future parents-in-law go?’ or ‘What is the bride’s most cringe-worthy photography?’. If you’re the MC, you could even use these answers as part of a quiz the bride and groom can do in front of their guests!
Request The Couple’s Input
If a couple has asked you to make a speech, toast or MC their wedding, they already think you’re an excellent public speaker and will do a wonderful job. Nevertheless, it is absolutely essential to talk to the bride and groom at least once, to determine what exactly your role will be. Some questions to consider:
- Will I be making one speech, or hosting the evening?
- How long should my speech be?
- Who else will be making a speech, and in what order should the speeches be made?
- What is the preferred tone of the speech (e.g. should the speech be lighthearted? Can the speech be more like a roast?)
- Are there any stories or topics that are off limits?
Once you’ve determined the scope of the speech, you’ll be able to start writing with those parameters in mind and avoid having to cut out anything at a later date.
Writing The Speech
Keep It Personal
Every speech will be different, depending on the couple, your relationship with them and your speaking style and personality, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep a few things in mind as you sit down to write. We suggest:
- Writing a speech that is funny, touching and personal. The most dynamic speeches have a range of tones and messages, often starting off with some jokes and light teasing, moving on to some personal histories and stories, and ending with some kind words and well wishes.
- Leaving room for improvisation, or writing a rebuttal to comments you’re expecting from other speech givers.
- Asking any people about whom you will be talking if they are comfortable being mentioned.
- Keeping the speech within the determined parameters, but also trying to keep it succinct. You may need to cut some parts out of your speech if the reception is running behind schedule, so mark these sections in advance.
- Avoiding writing about personal jokes that nobody bar you and the person in question will understand. These are boring to listen to and will encourage the crowd to lose interest in what you’re saying.
Practice The Speech Loud
Of course, you’ll read your speech hundreds of times before the big day, but practising it out loud is so much more valuable. Not only does doing so give you a chance to hear how the words sound when spoken, but it will also stop you from getting tongue-tied on anything difficult to pronounce like long names. Better still, ask some friends who know the couple to let you practice with them as your audience, and ask for their feedback on how you spoke, the content of your speech, and your overall performance.
Find out if they think you should take anything out, if sections seem inappropriate or if there are any must-tell anecdotes you may have missed. Sometimes feedback is difficult to hear, and of course, you should have the final say, but it’s better to receive the honest critique of your friends than the deafening silence of a crowd of disappointed wedding guests.
Write It Down
There are different opinions when it comes to how you should record your speech, from mobile phone notes to palm cards, to having it entirely memorized. The best thing to do is prepare palm cards, have a back-up on your phone, and have read your speech so many times that it is close to being committed to memory. Although reading from a phone is fairly common, having prepared cards does present a more prepared clean picture.
On The Day
Preparing for your speech is completely necessary, but once the day of the wedding comes, try to relax and enjoy it. You aren’t going to be able to successfully make any major changes to your material, and reading over it 1,000 times will only make you more nervous. As much as you don’t want to make a mistake, also remember that a bad speech does not lead to the end of the world. On the big day, we suggest:
- Pretend it’s just another wedding and that you are just a wedding guest (minus the excessive drinking).
- Don’t drink too much before the speech, but feel free to hit it hard right after.
- Have a sense of humour, and try to laugh at any mistakes or teasing that comes your way.
- Speak slowly. Even if you think you’re speaking too slowly if you’re nervous you’ll naturally start to speed up and will hopefully reach a comfortable pace.
- Address the couple by looking at them as well as the audience, to add a personal touch to your words.
And if in doubt, close with a simple, ‘Eat, drink and be merry!'
Also, don't forget to seal the day by sending a box of blooms from Mr Roses.