Wedding speeches are an integral part of the wedding and if you’re giving one, you’re taking the spotlight off the Bride and Groom…that can be nerve-racking!
For a few minutes, everyone is listening eagerly to hear the witty, yet heartfelt speech you’ve prepared.
If you prepared one at all that is.
10. Don’t ‘Make It Up As You Go’
Flying by the seat of your pants during a wedding speech is a sure-fire invitation to failure. Even if you’re an awesome speech-giver, have no public-speaking qualms and are freaking hilarious, you’re sure to forget to thank someone and possibly the Bride’s name. Ex-girlfriend’s names have been known to sneak in instead! Nooooo, never mention previous boyfriends or girlfriends
9. Keep It Sweet
By sweet I mean keep it to a length that at the end of it, people are still awake, the sight of a Best Man or Maid of Honour unraveling four pages of notes can send listeners into an instant word coma. It doesn’t have to fit into a 30-second commercial break timeslot, but you don’t want heads involuntarily hitting the place setting in front of them, that’s both awkward and painful. If you’re embarrassed or worried about a shorter length speech, just finish off as you’re picking up your toast glass with ‘Well, I’m not one for long speeches, but I am one for a good toast’ at which time most of the guests will murmur ‘Sweet’….
8. Keep It Clean
No swearing and no sex, these are super important rules to follow, especially if kids are attending the reception. I’m not sure that any Bride or Groom wants their speech givers dropping f-bombs or OMG c-bombs (shut your ears Granny!) during a speech on their special day. Same goes with the sexy talk, be it about the Bride, Groom, the Bride and Groom pre-wedding, on the wedding night or with anyone else for that matter (see rule no. 10). Throwing in a line about the groom’s ex from high school and the shenanigans behind the sports shed will definitely earn you a punch in the face from the Bride. Though it makes for good You-Tube footage, it’s tacky and you’ll be banned from everything forever. Yes, forever.
7. Heads Up
Look up and around at different faces in the room and direct your words to them, reading from notes on the table or having a conversation with your shiny new shoes is just the worst, It’s also incredibly boring for everyone else watching. When you get to the parts of your speech that are directed at the Bride and Groom, look at them and speak. When you thank the Bridesmaids/Groomsmen and say how great they scrub up, look at them and speak, but do refrain from winking. It only causes confusion as to whether it’s a tongue in cheek flirty gesture, a serious flirty gesture or that you’re just joking about them actually looking nice.
6. Love From Me..Only
Keep the speech just from yourself, rather than including everybody present at the wedding in your praises, best to just avoid lines like:
‘Everyone is just so happy to be here tonight’ Maybe, not if they’re missing a new episode of their favourite TV series or suffering from an uncomfortable UTI, forced to sit still listening to you ramble on.
‘Everyone in this room loves you both so much’ Um…no. I went to a wedding where I didn’t even know them except for a hello to the Groom at my husband’s workplace. My husband was in the wedding party too. I don’t know how that came about!
5. Live In The Now
Keep your speech relevant, a quirky or humorous anecdote as long as it’s not embarrassing, about how the bride and groom met or some such occasion and how it relates to the culminating moment of their wedded bliss is apt. Touch very briefly on your relationship with the Bride or Groom or both, but your entire personal history with them is interesting to you and them and only you and them. This night, it ain’t about you!
4. Open Mike Night
The speeches are probably not everyone’s favourite part of the night, let’s be honest, the opening of the bar and serving of dinner holds that pride of place.
The line-up usually consists of the MC doing introductions, the Best Man, the Maid of Honour, the father or family member of the Bride and the Groom giving a speech. These days Brides sometimes like to give a speech too, I must say I declined as it just seemed like another job to do. I sat in my sparkly white gown, looked pretty and no one seemed to expect me to speak either!
After the usual suspects have said their piece it’s up to the married couple whether they open up the mike and have the MC invite any well-wishers who would ‘like to say a few words’. Careful if you’ve a tipsy Scotsman at your party who merrily regales the crowd with yarns of drunken bar-top dancing by the bride during earlier times.
Sometimes it’s best just to shut it down and start the music!
3. Thank Them All
If it’s on your job list to do the speech where you thank everyone from the florist to the caterer to the flower girl’s mother for taking them to seventeen dress fittings then make sure you do it. Get a list from the Bride or Groom, ok who are we kidding, the Bride will give you the names of everyone who needs thanking. For goodness sake do not, I repeat, do not forget Great Aunt Esme who has travelled 63.5 hours from Humpty Doo to attend the nuptials. Miss her name off the list and the poor couple will never hear the end of it. Never.
2. No Joke, Seriously
Wedding speeches are divorce-joke free zone. Any joke of any sort surrounding marriage you can pretty much scratch off your list of things to keep everyone listening. Sorry, you’re going to have to work something else out. Focus on a nice, feel-good story, ok perhaps a quick dash of humour to balance things up (no embarrassing stuff remember) and bring it home with a sincere sign-off like ‘May you always have each other’.
1. Sober Bob
Avoid getting shitfaced prior to giving your speech.
Slurring your way through a half hour of jokes only you find funny and tangents about stories from your school days (see No.5) will only result in guests clearing throats frequently until there’s a solid chorus of ‘ahem’ going on. Fair enough too. After the speech is delivered clearly and the clapping has abated, feel free to get your drink on!
It is, after all the Bridesmaids and Groomsmen’s sworn duty to get the party started and keep it going all night long!
Have you ever had a Wedding Speech Blunder moment?