Even if it's just something short, a brief 'welcome, thank you for being here and enjoy your day.'
Who Gives Speeches At A Wedding?
More traditionally though, guests will be expecting speeches from the father of the bride, the bridegroom and the best man. If you're being up to date, the bride and chief bridesmaid may also give a speech.
Unless you have the sort of job that has you doing presentations all the time, you may feel a bit nervous about giving a speech in front of a load of people, even if they are your nearest and dearest.
And even if you 'are accustomed to public speaking', your wedding day is a bit different from standing up in a boardroom in front of colleagues and clients. It's more personal and of course you want everything you've organised to go swimmingly on your wedding day.
Here are our tips to help you succeed.
- Be prepared. Gather thoughts, information and photographs, if you're using them, a few months before. Ask for quotes from family, e mail far flung relatives for funny stories. Don't whatever you do leave everything until the last minute. Write several drafts until you're happy with a final version.
- Double check with the other speakers on what they are covering. It's going to be a bit repetitive and dull if you tell the same anecdotes. You don't have to say exactly what you're going to be talking about but you do need to make sure you're not duplicating stuff.
- A bit like your wedding, it's good to have a basic theme for your speech. It could be how supremely organised the bride has been from a young age or how interested the groom has always been in sport. Interestingly, you'll also find that a theme helps the words to flow.
- Don't aim at being a stand-up comic. Humour is fine (although nothing too close to the bone that will make people squirm). But don't just reel off a long list of jokes. On the other hand, you don't want to be overly sentimental and soppy either. What you're aiming at is a balance between humour and affection.
- Don't let your speech run on for longer than 10 minutes. Your audience will get bored. Trust us on this one.
- Don't give lurid details of the Stag's wild past or capacity for drinking.
- Don't ramble on. Use short, clear sentences.
- Try and keep your vocabulary simple - some guests might not have English as a first language.
- Practise, practise and practise again. Rehearse your speech out aloud alone to yourself in front of a mirror, and then in front of a friend who won't be afraid to offer constructive criticism if needed.
- Remember to speak slowly. Don't gabble. When people are nervous they're inclined to speak too fast. Practise pausing between sentences. Remember to wait for laughs - don't speak through them if they come.
- If you can, practise your speech in the location it's going to be delivered. Find out whether you'll have a microphone.
- Don't drink too much before giving your speech. Save the toasts for afterwards.
Remember, nobody is expecting perfection in your speech. You're amongst family and friends. Do the best you can, practise the suggested suggestions above and you'll be just fine!
Main image via Lancashire Wedding Photography.