The do's and don't of a wedding speech
When we think of some of our biggest fears, snakes and spiders generally spring to mind, but did you know that just outside of these hair raising fears sits public speaking and you’ve been asked to read a speech at your besties wedding. The prospect of getting up on stage under all the pressure to be polite, funny, charming AND emotional is enough to send any man running for the bar, but fear not, here we have created a handy guide of do’s and don’t to help you not just write the perfect speech but execute it with style and grace.
Let’s start off with a positive.
DO: Preparation is key.
A well written and delivered speech isn’t one that you just made up on the spot. Giving a speech at a wedding is not just an honour but a chance to show how much your friendship means to you. Take some time to reflect on what either the bride or groom means to you and to share it with the crowd. So make some time before the big day to prepare what you’re going to say.
DON’T: Bring up their ex’s.
This is a slippery slope that no one can stop. You’re at a wedding, these two people just confessed and committed to their undying love for each other in front of their closest family and friends. They DO NOT want to hear about “that crazy ex” nor does anyone else in the crowd. So if you have any reference to their past that will embarrass anywhere in your speech, take it out now.
DO: Remember to say congratulations
It’s amazing how many times this is forgotten at weddings and it’s generally the whole reason that you’re making the speech in the first place. It’s also a great way to tie up and have everyone raise a glass to the newly wed couple.
DON’T: Tell private jokes
They might be side splittingly good but if only a few people know what you’re talking about, then it’s not going to go down quite the way you think it will. Opt instead for a memory that the crowd can relate to.
DO: Keep it short
There might be a lot to say but if you talk for too long then you’re going to loose the crowd. A good rule of thumb is to keep a speech between 4 and 5 minutes. Keep the crowd wanting more.
DON’T: Get smashed before your speech
If I had a dollar for every drunken speech I've heard with an “I love youse” then I could probably retire comfortably right now. While you can have one or two drinks beforehand, if you are one of the key speech givers then have just enough to give you that Dutch courage and help you get over the nerves. If you’re slurring and swaying and getting emotional, it’s really not a good look.
DO: Make reference to both the Bride and Groom
I mean you are there for them and not the free party right? RIGHT……??? Even if you’re not close to the Bride or Groom it’s a great idea to say that you can see how happy they are making your close friend or family member.
DON’T: Make it about you.
There is nothing more tacky during a wedding than when the speech is all about the person talking. Sure you can bring yourself up as part of a story but when the whole thing is about you then it just isn’t right. Remember the whole point of you being asked to speak is to speak about the bride and groom.
DO: Tell a story
Every story has a beginning, middle and end and this is a great way to write your speech. Think of one great story and use it as your structure for what you want to say. It will take the crowd on a journey and they will love the ride.
DON’T: Be crude, lewd or rude
If you have to resort to swearing, rude or offensive jokes or embarrassing one of the bridal party then you don’t deserve to be speaking. This is an opportunity for you to show how much these two mean to you so take it and put some thought into it.
Last but not least, and this is more for the Bride and Groom but, under no circumstance (unless you like train wrecks) GO FOR AN OPEN MIC
This is a sure fire way to not just kill the mood at any wedding but it can drag out for far, far too long. While I am sure Auntie Bette wants to just say a couple of quick words, more often than not, she gets lost in what she wanted to say and waffles on for nearly 20 minutes, then Uncle Jo wants to get his to bobs worth in too, and so begins the slippery slope of half the wedding guests wanting to say “a few words”.