Speeches are often the feared element of a wedding day. Solid preparation ahead of the day is the key to eliminating nerves.
1. Cover the essentials. Whether you’re the groom, best man or father of the bride, make sure the customary elements are researched well in advance and included within your speech. Debretts offer guidance on the traditional things to cover, allowing you to relax, safe in the knowledge that you are delivering all that is expected of you.
2. Practice, practice, practice. If you’re nervous about the delivery, recording a simple voice memo on your phone of you making your speech is really handy to way to evaluate your speech’s length and check that your content is suitable. It will also enable you to realise the speed at which you are talking.
3. Nerves can cause you to go off topic and talk about a lot of unplanned things! Rather than reading from notes word for word, get comfortable enough with your wedding speech so that it can be whittled down to a few key points on cue cards. You can always expand on them if you feel comfortable on the day but otherwise they will provide a really clear focus to your thoughts.
4. Test your volume in advance! Try and take a minute at the venue prior to your wedding to test your voice projection by asking someone to stand at the back of the venue to see if they can clearly hear you (bearing in mind that bodies soak up sound so you’ll have to amp up the volume even more on the day). If in doubt, a small PA system might be the best £100 you spend on the wedding!
5. Schedule your speech where it works for you on your wedding day; if the thought that it’s looming is going to be too much to suffer, then take control from the outset and plan to deliver your speech whilst your guests are enjoying their champagne and canapés. There is nothing wrong with mixing up a usual program of events – especially if it means you can worry less and enjoy your day.
6. Nerves can make an appearance on the day and it’s good to be prepared for those feelings and ready to convert that adrenaline positively. Remember that you aren’t being asked to sell something at a huge business conference or appearing on a televised panel. Everyone is on your side! It’s a wedding – a celebration of love and a great party!
7. Speak at a snail’s pace! Words can be uttered more quickly than intended when nerves are involved. Although it may feel strange, aim to slow down your wedding speech delivery. Avoid stumbling by trying to speak twice as slowly when speaking aloud to an audience.
8. Above all, remember to be yourself when you make a speech. It doesn’t need to run as a comedy act, or a deeply sentimental sonnet of dedication. If you’re the groom, after including the obligatory elements, give your speech some structure. Focus on three key things about your wife that you love, include an anecdote in relation to one of them and simply deliver in your own style. Job done!