December 2019

Tim Willoughby writes about wedding speeches:

Love them or hate them, speeches are a key part of a wedding reception. Those speeches give guests an insight into who the bride and groom are, as well as their relationship, and are a chance for the hosts and the happy couple to speak to and thank their guests for attending. So what’s the best way to arrange these speeches—or just get them over with? Our experts weigh in.

Great wedding speeches are all about timing, both how long the speeches are and when they take place. You don’t want to disrupt the flow of the evening, but you also don’t want to wait so long that the speakers have either had too much to drink or have spent the whole night waiting to get the party started.

Here are a few options:

  1. Have Speeches Happen Right Away
    Getting these formalities out of the way is great for two reasons: Your parents, bridal party and best man can enjoy the rest of the evening stress-free and they can serve to set the tone for the night, too. If you want to kick the night off with speeches, schedule them to happen as soon as everyone has sat down or after the starter. Make your grand entrance, take your seats, then ask the first person (usually the hosts of the event i.e. Bestman) to take the microphone. You can have the speeches all happen back to back or take a little break between speeches so your hotel staff can serve the first course, picking up the microphone again after the salad plates are down. Some weddings have delivered the speeches in the hotel lobby before they actually enter the food hall.
  2. Wait Until Starters Are Served
    Another great option (that still has those speeches happening early in the evening) is to hold off until guests are served their main course. This part of the meal is the longest, so it allows for a little more time for talking without interruptions from the hotel staff. Make sure your hotel staff serves your VIP tables first, so anyone giving a toast can enjoy their meal while it’s hot. Then, as other tables are being served, they can get up and make their speech with a captive audience.
  3. Kick Off the Dancing With Speeches
    The third option is to have speeches at the tail end of the meal when your speechmakers will still have plenty of time to enjoy the reception when they’re done. You can either have them get up to speak at the end of the meal or invite them to take the stage when it’s time to dance. Schedule the speeches, then head straight into the cake cutting. Finish off with your first dance and parent dances, then open up the dance floor!

Sources:

  • https://www.brides.com

Whether you are a Bride, Groom, Bestman, Father of the Bride, Father of the Groom, the time has / will come where you are faced with writing and delivering a wedding speech that will probably be the most important speech you will deliver in your lifetime before family, relations and friends. You may have done it before, you may not have done it before or this may be your first and only time or you may have more to do in the future. Whatever your situation, treat this wedding speech has the first and last one as people are looking forward to what you are going to say.

To make your speech memorable for all the right reasons, time, persistence and dedication to the cause are three prime ingredients in the writing of the speech.

Time

Start thinking about and writing your speech weeks, even months before the actual wedding. Writing this speech, indeed any speech takes time.

Persistence

Set time aside to write some of it every day and keep at it until you have the first draft completed. Don’t lay up on it until you have achieved this.

Dedication

Enjoy writing it. You are writing about someone or people you love in your life and who are very important you. Give them justice in your speech.

To make your speech unforgettable for all the right reasons; pace, pausing and voice projection are the three prime ingredients in the delivery of your speech.

Pace

You must deliver your speech at the right pace, saying every letter in every word, so as not to speak fast (the main challenge in public speaking).

Pausing

Pause after every comma, full-stop and at the end of every paragraph to allow the audience react to what you have said and allow you to take a breadth.

Voice projection

You need to speak differently to how you would normally speak to people on a one to one. Use inflection techniques by hitting words hard, hitting words soft.

Whether you have to deliver a Father of the Bride Speech, Father of the Groom Speech, Groomsman Speech, Bridesmaid Speech, Bride Speech, Groom Speech and / or a Bestman Speech; you have a lot to say, with the speech content being different for all of the above speakers, but with one common theme i.e. the Bride & Groom.

For many speakers, the main concern is, ‘How will I remember my wedding speech?’, ‘How will I stay on track?’ and How will I make sure that I don’t forget anybody or anything?’. Speaking off the cuff is fine if you are able to do this and ‘wing it on the day of the wedding’, which some of us can, but most of us can’t. We the latter, need some form of speaking medium i.e. notes.  

There are five options to consider re; notes, namely;

  1. Pointer cards
  2. Full paper script
  3. Smartphone
  4. iPad
  5. Laptop

Pointer cards

Pointer cards are used to write down the main key points or keywords in your wedding speech. You will need to remember what each word/point means and be able to expand upon it, based on pre-speech practice and rehearsal. They are normally held in your hand, though can be left on the table too.

Full paper script

Here your full speech is written on paper in large font in front of you. The paper is normally left on the table and you basically have to read it out. There is no pressure in trying to remember any part of the speech, as it is all there in front of you. One must be careful, not to just read it out and lose the connection/rapport with their audience.

Smartphone

You can use your smartphone to have speech pointers on it or your full speech on it. The device is small and therefore could be difficult to manage and will have to be held in your hand. Might not look all that professional.  

iPad

You can use your iPad to have speech pointers or your full speech on it. The device is a nice size and can be held in your hand or left on the table.  

Laptop

Finally, the laptop is an option, though it can be and look big and awkward. It can have speech pointers or your full speech on it. The device will have to be left on the table.

What speaking medium suits you for your wedding speech, I know what I would choose…!

When it comes to any major event, any and every Event Manager will tell you to ‘start early’. And there is no bigger event than arranging a wedding, probably the biggest event any couple will do in their lifetime, demanding a start time 2-3 years in advance in some cases. Breaking down the wedding in to its many components is the trick and then tackling each one in turn until complete is the key i.e. a developing a plan or worklist, where everybody and everything is included.

One of the key components to a wedding is the wedding speeches, that most times is last on the list or plan and sometimes doesn’t even make it on the list or plan. Why is this? For a lot of people, they feel that they will ‘wing’ the wedding speech on the day; they will write their wedding speech nearer the time or on the morning / day of the wedding or they don’t want to think about the wedding speech, because the thought of it upsets / worries them. The wedding speech is the one thing about the wedding that they are simply not looking forward to and hate doing it. But deep down they know it has to be done and they just keep putting the writing and delivery of the wedding speech on the long finger.

Don’t procrastinate and start early by;

• Purchasing a small notebook and pen (or using your smartphone note page)
• Immediately writing down people and things and what you want to say about them as they come to mind
• Opening up a Word document and transferring these into it by drafting the structure / content of the speech
• Doing something on the wedding speech everyday or every few days at least until complete
• Putting the main finishing touches to the wedding speech
• Practicing it
• Putting it away until a few weeks before the wedding and then fully completing it with a final practice rehearsal in the hotel venue

Start early…

Large weddings are still as popular as ever with upwards of 200-300 guests still being invited by the Bride & Groom, with every wedding hotel fighting for the business, and being transformed into paradises for the happy couple and their wedding guests.

There goes with the above the pressure on wedding speakers to write and deliver memorable, appropriate and good wedding speeches that are appropriate, impressive and are memorable to the Bride & Groom and their wedding guests.

To achieve the above three criteria, your speech should be broken down into three stages:

  1. Structure / Content
  2. Writing it
  3. Delivery

Structure / Content:

Find a quite place to sit down and write down everyone and everything that need to be included and mentioned in your speech, with a specific focus on the Bride & Groom. Decide how much you want to say about everyone and everything and in what detail, always conscious of the listener.

Writing it:

Now start putting your above speech draft onto a Word Document, knowing, realizing and accepting that every word you are going to say will be on paper in front of you i.e. that you will stick to the script. Have your words in large font, 1.5 or double-spaced, paragraphed accordingly and finishing sentences on each page.

Delivery:

Finally, it is down to practicing your oration of your speech. With the speech on the table, microphone in your hand; practice your speech as if you are speaking to 5000 people and from the heart. If possible, do a pre-rehearsal too in the actual wedding venue.

Don’t underestimate the time, effort and discipline demanded of you in writing a wedding speech (indeed any speech). Start early, enjoy the process, because it will be over before you know it…