How To Do A Memorable Wedding Speech

Picture8Far too many people – whether they are the groom, father of the bride or best man – see a wedding speech as something to be dreaded and endured. However, it really doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some tips as to how you can ensure that your wedding speech goes smoothly, memorably and even enjoyably.

Practice and Prepare

Top of the list when it comes to any form of public speaking – and wedding speeches are no exception here – is making sure you are fully prepared. Make sure you put in as much practice as you possibly can, and then do a bit more. It really will be worth it on the day, giving you confidence in what you’re saying and as a result helping to calm those dreaded nerves and leaving you free to focus on doing the best job you can.

Personalised Speech

It is so easy to find a collection of impersonal one-liners from the Internet, the kind which would fit any occasion, and then ram them together into a speech. However, this doesn’t necessarily make for a good or memorable speech. With wedding speeches, personal content is important: don’t forget who you’re talking about and why you are all there. Use the one-liners as nice added extras if you do need them, but make the personal content the meat of your speech.

Relax and Enjoy

Regardless of your role, this is a special day and one which should be enjoyed. So make sure you take the time to enjoy yourself.

If you start getting pre-occupied with thoughts of your speech, then try to gain some perspective. Think about all the other things happening that day which are more important than your speech (like the wedding ceremony itself, the bride’s dress, the catering, the entertainment…). Yes, you should always try to do the best job you can, but it’s not the end of the world if your speech isn’t 100% perfect. And besides, the more you worry, the more stressed you’ll become and the less likely it is that you’ll be able to do the best job you can, so relax and enjoy yourself.

Don’t Set Expectations Too High

Part of the above point is to not set the bar too high for yourself. You will do a great job, that is a given. However, don’t get it into your head that your speech will be so good that you’ll be given a standing ovation, carried out on the crowds’ shoulders and immediately snapped up by an agent and offered a multimillion pound film or TV deal.

Similarly, avoid the temptation to brag to others about how good your speech will be. Why bother creating pressure for yourself?

Say Your Thank You’s

So easy to forget and yet they can really make a difference to your speech. Thank the organisers, thank the guests for coming, thank the catering staff. It will get the audience on your side, they will happily applaud such sentiments, and they’re a very easy thing to remember and say. The result? A big confidence boost for you – particularly welcome at the start of your speech.

Don’t Get Drunk

Give yourself every opportunity to do the best job you can. This means leaving off the booze until you’ve finished speaking: alcohol may calm your nerves, but it also will impair your performance. Don’t run the risk of slurring your words or losing your place. Save the drinking as your reward for a job well done.

Speak to As Many People As Possible

One of the reasons why public speakers can get nervous is that they imagine their audience as some huge, fearful demon. Don’t allow this to happen: speak to as many people as possible during the day. As well as humanising them in your mind (“they’re not as bad as I feared”, “that person’s really nice, they’re bound to laugh at my jokes”), it will take your mind off the dreaded speech. If you’re lucky, you may also pick up some ideas for your speech: some last minute personal touch which will make you look professional and polished.

Give them an “A”

Linked to the above point about humanising your audience, Rosamund and Benjamin Zander’s book The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life
talks about giving people an “A”, something which can work wonders for your confidence.

What do I mean by giving people an “A”? Imagine you are rating all of them for their personalities, how they are going to respond to your speech, and what they are going to think of you. Give every single on of them the highest possible grade: an “A”. Allow yourself to think the best of each and every one of them.

This may sound corny, or a bit too much like psycho-babble to any sceptics among you, but do give it a try. It’s amazing the difference such a small shift in your thinking can change your confidence, how you react to and interact with people. For more information on “The Art of Possibility” and other similar techniques, see the link below.

That’s it! A few simple things, but if you are fully prepared, include some personal touches and don’t allow your imagination to run riot then you’ll be absolutely fine. Enjoy your big moment!




Peter D Oxley
Pete Oxley is a freelance writer and business manager who lives in the English Home Counties. He enjoys reading and writing in a wide range of areas but his main passions are sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction and Steampunk. Influences include HG Wells, Charles Dickens, Neil Gaiman, KW Jeter, Scott Lynch, Clive Barker and Joss Whedon. Author of the non-fiction book "The Wedding Speech Manual" and the historical fantasy series "The Infernal Aether". He lives with his wife, two young sons and a slowly growing guitar collection. Probably a masochist: aside from writing and willingly speaking in front of large crowds of strangers, Pete spends his spare time playing music badly and supporting football teams that play badly.

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