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Your guide to writing, preparing, editing, coaching and delivering traditional speeches

Wedding Speech

While most people fear public speaking, a worse scenario involves giving a wedding speech. In this, you probably know many of the guests as well as the bride and groom, so the downside of a poor speech is particularly low, especially on an emotional basis. A hidden benefit issues from the same source—your knowledge of the bride and groom gives you an especially effective edge. That knowledge doesn’t necessarily reduce the anxiety you feel when faced with this task.

As with all public speaking instances, wedding speeches need to be planned in advance. Knowing generally what you would like to say helps allay your trepidation, but you may need additional relaxation techniques. One technique you should not employ is alcohol. You should delay any intake of alcohol until after your job is done. Stories abound about some of the mistakes made in wedding speeches not to mention any long simmering resentment that may surface under the liberating influence of alcohol. When you first arrive at the venue for the reception, try to acquaint yourself with the room and introduce yourself to guests whom you may not know. This helps to calm the jitters.

In preparing your wedding speech, you should start with your knowledge of the couple. Brainstorm and write down any stories that you think may be appropriate. From these, you can begin to formulate a purpose behind your speech. Do you want to touch an emotional note, do you want to make your speech humorous, or do you wish to be serious and sincere? If you need more anecdotal material, you might tap into the friends and relatives to whom you have access. Once you’ve settled on the tone of your wedding speech, you can organize your structure with a beginning, a middle section, and an end.

Your greeting should address all of the major players at the wedding and express positive energy about the day. Keep eye contact with the room, especially with the couple and the rest of the wedding party. You are really having a conversation with them rather than making an instructional or informational lecture. The content should be respectful of the personalities and sensibilities of the audience, so keep it as clean as possible. Any anecdotes about wild times spent with either the bride or the groom should be off limits. Stories should be chosen to illustrate certain points about the couple and the day of their wedding.

Your delivery should be casual but not sloppy. Speak to everyone in the room and keep it short, probably between five and seven minutes. You want to express sincere thoughts, even after any humor you may use to relax the audience. Keep the focus squarely on the happy couple, as the day is theirs and not yours. Keep the “I” and “me” statements to a minimum. The ending should detail the setting of the day and make a call to action for the next part of the wedding to commence. Remember that your wedding speech is just a part of the proceedings and then step out of the way.


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