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Bridal Club Magazine

Tips For Preparing A Good Wedding Speech

Public speaking, it comes naturally to some and not to others.  Wedding speeches are no exception.  If you are one of the lucky ones chosen, it will be because you are special to the bride and groom.  Your speech will be a precious moment in their day that will be remembered for the rest of their lives.

Traditionally, the speeches are held after the meal and before the cake is cut.  If you feel that you will be extremely nervous, discuss it with the bride and groom.  They could try having the speeches before the meal so that everyone can relax and enjoy the food without the pressure of what is to come.

Planning your speech the night before, or five minutes beforehand, is not conducive to a great speech. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time.

Being well prepared is half the battle.  Know and be comfortable with what you want to say and practice it in front of the mirror or a friend. Try taping or videoing it, so that you can see or hear how you come across. You will be able to notice if you need to slow down or if you are mumbling.  Remember to breathe, this helps with nerves on the day.

Plan your speech with a beginning, middle and end.  No table is big enough to hide under if no one laughs at your jokes, so keep them short and the swear words at home.  Good speeches can bring the house down with laughter and set the mood.  Speeches in bad taste can leave people feeling awkward and offended.  The golden rule, if you wouldn't be comfortable saying it with your mother in the room (and she probably may be), leave it out.  Sound out the guest list first before if you have questionable content, especially if there are children to be present.  Try not to drink too much alcohol previous to speaking.   It will hinder your voice projection as well as helping you to say things you never intended.

Cue cards are great.  They eliminate bulky, noisy pieces of paper and if you have rehearsed, all you need is a few words on each card hidden in your hand to remind you.  Best of all, they make you appear more spontaneous.  Just in case you mislay it, have the speech written out in hard copy and give it to someone who will be there.

Remind yourself in your cue cards to 'pause'.   Rushed speeches get the audience feeling nervous, just as long ones get them huffing.  Time yourself as you practice, and remember five minutes is plenty of time to say what you need to say well.

Don't leave your cards at home even if you think you know the speech by heart, in all the excitement and nervousness of the day, you will forget people you really wanted to thank.  Remember, to err is human.

If you have to refer to something that other guests may not know about, explain it to them.  Check with the other speech givers, to make sure no one steals anyone's thunder when it comes to storytelling.

Keep eye contact with the guests, at least a few seconds with each one before moving on.  It will keep them engaged with what you are saying.

Above all, enjoy yourself. Make the gift of your speech to the bride and groom, one that comes from your heart.

A Master of Ceremonies or Toastmaster, traditionally stands and introduces the speakers by name and role to the guests.   This person is chosen because of their relationship to the bride or groom and their confidence in their speaking abilities in front of an audience.

If you are the Father of the Bride, then you will act as the host and speak first. (this is traditionally because the father most usually pays for the wedding) You will speak on behalf of yourself and your partner. (the brides mother)

Here are some hints on what you might like to include in your speech:

  • You may like to pass comment on the success of the wedding so far - perhaps mention any amusing mishaps.
  • Thank all those who have contributed towards the costs of the wedding.
  • Tell everyone about your daughter - and include any short stories of her growing up and how proud you are of her.
  • Officially welcome the Groom to your family.   You could tell the story of how you first met, and what you first thought of him.
  • Mention that you are looking forward to getting to know the Grooms family better - or if you already know them well, then share any pleasant experiences you have had together.
  • Finish your speech with a toast to the Bride & Groom.

Traditionally the Grooms speech is given between the Father of the Bride and the Best Man.  As the Groom, you are speaking for both yourself and your new wife (if she prefers not to give her own speech).  Some couples like to make the speech a joint effort.
These are some things you might like to include:

  • Thank people by name, who have helped with the day - e.g. the person who has made the cake or the reception venue staff etc.  You may need to have this written down in advance.
  • Tell of your joy at the arrival of this day.   Perhaps tell the story of how you met your new wife, who made the first move - you get the picture.
  • Speak to your new wife and let her know publicly how you feel about her.  Say what your expectations of your new future together are.
  • Thank everyone for coming on 'our special day' and mention any guests with apologies, perhaps due to illness and wish them well.
  • Give thanks to the bridesmaids, flower girl, pageboys, both sets of parents, and so on and hand out gifts.
  • Introduce your best man, in order to acknowledge him to the guests - you could show concern that he may embarrass you in his speech.
  • Finish with a toast to the bridesmaids.

The wonderful thing for the bride, is that there are no traditions when it comes to giving a speech.  This can take away any anxieties for saying the wrong thing, but still - we give a few guidelines on how you may like to do this.

  • Thank your guests for coming - especially anyone that has traveled a long distance.
  • Give thanks to anyone who has helped with the planning for the wedding, and thank any bridesmaids, pageboys, flower girls - and hand out presents.
  • You might like to tell everyone about your Mum, dad or both, and your relationship with him or her, especially if you are close.
  • Tell all of your excitement and joy of being married to your new husband (maybe tell a story about how you first met or got engaged) - and give a personal message to him from you.
  • Thank your new in-laws for welcoming you into their family.
  • Thank the guests for the gifts.

As a way to finish, you could toast the guests.   Often a bride and groom will make a joint speech.

The Best Man's speech is one that most people can't wait to hear. Traditionally, you will speak last, after the Father of the Bride and the Groom. (Usually by this point, the guests will have consumed quite a bit of wine with the toasts!)  The expectation is that you will humiliate the Groom with some embarrassing stories of his past, but these days it is not necessary.  Only use jokes or humour that are in good taste and if you are comfortable in doing so.  If there is not a toastmaster, you will introduce each of the other speakers by name and role (Father of the Bride, etc.)
Here are some hints on what you might like to say:

  • Thank the Bride and Groom for the gifts to the bridesmaids and yourself.
  • Read out any messages from friends or family who could not make it to the wedding.
  • Tell stories about the Groom.  Try not to use offensive language or say anything that might upset the Bride!
  • Tell the guests how you met the Groom and about your relationship. Let them know also, that you can see that he is very happy with his Bride.
  • Speak to the Bride and Groom directly to give them your congratulations and wish them well for the future.
  • Usually the Bride is left out of the Best Man's speech - you may want to mention the first time you were introduced or how lucky the Groom is to have found someone as caring/beautiful/special as her.

Finish your speech by announcing that the bride and groom will now cut the cake.

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