Well it’s about time. The bit you’ve all been waiting for, how to write a hotter than hot wedding speech!
Today, humanist celebrant Zena Birch and I have conjured up 10 top tips between us, to walk you through simple universal steps to get you started with writing an honest and authentic wedding speech, regardless of your role or gender, that will leave your guests willing you on and wanting more.
We’ve all been to weddings with the jokes and speeches churned out time and time again. We say, be unique and make your own unique mark.
I saw a speech that had so much ripped off the internet they may as well have read out the hyperlink… Nick C
I’ve mentioned before, contrary to popular wedding tradition, public speaking is not for everyone. It is both an honour and an enormous responsibility.
Coupled with the nerves and frivolity of a wedding day, there’s no doubt even for the most extroverted amongst us, delivering a great speech is not as easy as it looks. There are so many things to think about and that’s before you’ve written the thing!
How to project, how to engage an audience and take them on a journey, to allow time, to not rush, to create a succinct, beginning, middle and end.
If you are asked to do a speech and it feels like to big a feat you can always so no.
No one should be forced to take on this role if they don’t want to and if you do, but the formality of giving a speech is ‘not your thing’ don’t be afraid to be creative either. For example – Mr Nu Bride was asked to do a speech at his best friends wedding and crippled with a fear of public speaking we had to come up with the idea to create a video instead. We added heartfelt messages from guests who couldn’t make the wedding and played that during the speech session instead. It went down a treat. We started off with personal message to the groom, some moments to reminisce and good wishes to the happy couple, with video messages at the end. Crisis averted. Happy best man and happy groom!
The morale of your story? If you want to do a speech – do it your own way.
So let’s go!
1. Be You
Make sure it sounds like you. Don’t google for jokes (that everyone else has churned out) or advice, trust yourself to find your own funny and your own wisdom.
Nu Bride: Don’t ‘try’ to be charismatic or funny, just be sincere and be yourself. It works a charm!
2. What do you want to say?
Think about what you want to say. Will you be sharing stories or sharing advice or a mixture of the two.
3. Give yourself time
In order to be able to do the above, allow yourself enough time to think through the speech before you write it. Be still with yourself. Enjoy the opportunity to reflect and reminisce.
4. Write a list
Write a list of why you have been asked to write a speech in the first place (or chosen to do one) and shape your speech around these points.
Nu Bride: Once you have got more of an idea of content, think about your structure. Start with a intro – who are you? Not everyone will know who you are, introduce yourself, how do you know each other? Think about the main bulk of what you want to say and then think about how you want to wrap it up, how you want to conclude, what words of wisdom or well wishes do you want to impart?
5. Know your audience
Think about who you will be addressing and who you will be talking about. Focus on this and choose your language and tone accordingly.
Nu Bride: There’s nothing worse than watching a speech with crude “in jokes” or unnecessary sexual connotations and watching Grandma squeal in the audience! Always think about the different generations in attendance and pitch it accordingly.
6. Pace yourself
Whilst starting to write your speech, pace yourself and don’t veer off topic unnecessarily!
Nu Bride: You don’t have to write it all in one sitting, take your time and come back to it when inspiration strikes or an old memory pops in!
Practice saying your speech out loud. What may read easily on the page – off the page may feel like a tongue twister. Also, saying it all aloud earlier on the day allows both your brain and mouth to feel familiar with the words, rhythm and sentiment. If there are moments where you might tear up, reading it aloud beforehand will highlight to you where these moments are, you can then make a note and take a breath to steady yourself in anticipation.
Nu Bride: When practicing it is a great idea to time yourself too. If you’ve been given an allocated window, you can get a better idea if you’re on track or not or if you need to add or edit some content. Whatever you do, don’t over-rehearse. You want it to feel familiar but to also feel authentic, not like you are reading a script.
8. Slow Down
Nine times out of ten you will rush through your speech. Pay attention to the pace.
Nu Bride: Breath and slow down. Remember, your audience are hearing your words for the first time. Allow them hear them. Allow them to process and truly let your words resonate.
9. Get Creative
If much like Mr Nu Bride you are not enthused by the idea of giving a speech, but really would like to do one without embarrassing yourself or inducing a full blown anxiety attack on the day. Think outside the box. Take advantage of the multi-media. Is there a way of delivering a speech via a simple video, or like Tom – great a singing less so giving a traditional speech, so decided to write something in song instead. I’m not suggesting you all turn into composers, but my point being if a traditional speech doesn’t sit well with you and you want to do something meaningful. Play to your strengths, it can still be authentic if you think outside the box a little bit.
10. Enjoy it
Both the process of writing it and the joy of delivering it. If you don’t think you will enjoy it, politely decline!
Nu Bride: It’s such a joyful process, enjoy the journey, enjoy sharing stories, reminiscing and celebrating all the people who matter in your life. How often do we get to do that?!
Header Image: Sanshine Photography