The do’s and don’ts of wedding speeches
Wedding speeches can, in fact, be entertaining if they are planned properly. Never-ending speeches and speakers with poor execution are sadly the markers of “speeches gone wrong” – captured on video, and forever imprinted in the memories of all the guests in attendance. Looking for tips on great wedding speeches? The best advice is grounded in simplicity.
Wedding speech jokes – don’t plot your jokes:
If you’re not naturally funny, starting to strategically plot jokes into your wedding speech is likely not a great idea! Be yourself. When you sit to write your speech, don’t over-think things, just write points that naturally come to mind for you. The more organic you are in your approach, the more effectively you will speak, as you’ll be staying close to your natural communication path. Trying too hard to strategize a speech leaves you far more likely to stumble and fumble when you’re at the podium. There’s nothing worse than the joke that never takes flight.
The internet is not always your friend:
Sure, there are tons of fabulous quotes and metaphors you can pull from the internet to aid your speech writing….but you can count on the fact that everyone else saying a speech that night has done the same thing. Don’t pull your material from the internet. It will be impersonal and redundant, and once again strays from your natural conversational topics. Keep it personal, simple, and natural – you’ll be far more at ease when it’s your turn at the mic! (ok…that being said, you can find some of our favourite quotes for wedding speeches in our post, Happy Quotes About Love and Marriage)
We all have them. They’re fabulous memories and staples of personal relationships. That’s precisely the problem! They are personal to you and the person you are directing your speech to. The other guests will have no personal connection to your inside joke or inside reference, so it will be lost on them completely. Although there’s no harm in making a quick reference to an inside joke, its best to avoid making it a topic of its own. If the guests can’t relate to what you are saying, you won’t have their attention for very long.
Short wedding speeches – short really IS sweet:
The average person will tune out within 30-45 seconds of a speech unless it is in some way entertaining or relatable. Stick to the main points that you want to get across. Long stories and over-explaining will lead to boredom and guests will quickly resume conversations at their table when they lose interest.
It’s all about the timing:
The general rule of thumb is that speeches should not be taking place during the serving or clearing of meals. If there are wait staff trying to serve, or clear dishes in the background, your speech will not be the main focal point, and you’re far less likely to be heard. Food clearing and serving generate both noise and conversation. Speeches are best executed before or after dinner service, or between service when guests are eating/consuming the food in front of them.
Confidence is key:
Be confident. This is easier if you stick to the advice about keeping your approach and topics natural. Body language is just as important as words you are saying. Avoid mic-tapping (it has already been tested!), leaning against the podium, or fidgeting with what’s in front of you. Engage the guests with eye contact, stand comfortably straight, and speak clearly. Even if you’re terrified of public speaking, never say you are as part of your speech, and if you fumble on your content, keep going. Nobody else will know you’ve made an error unless you make it obvious.
Use the microphone properly:
No amount of wedding speech tips will work if you’re not using the microphone properly. If other speeches have taken place before yours, DON’T tap or test the microphone – it has been tested and volume adjusted already! If you’re the first speaker, ask the DJ or A/V provider to test out the mic BEFORE the guests enter the room. Adjust the mic to the correct height before you begin speaking – and don’t move away from it during your speech.
Following these simple guidelines will ensure your wedding speech is memorable for all the right reasons!
*Article contributed by Leena from Let’s Party Consultants
With over 15 years experience, Toronto wedding planner Leena from Let’s Party Consultants is a highly esteemed and sought-after industry expert who has been featured in numerous publications and media outlets. Her strategic approach to event planning, paired with her unique concepts, lead to a completely customized experience for each couple. She has received glowing referrals from vendors in the city & abroad and continues to exceed Client expectations with each flawlessly planned event.