I had the idea for this post after I gave a speech at my best friend’s wedding and got tons of great feedback from my friends and the newlyweds’ families. I WON at speech-giving. Now, don’t get me wrong, I usually am not the first to stand up in class and talk about things. I’m actually the last person who wants to do that. But at weddings… it’s different.
This was two of my best friends’ wedding. Not one best friend but TWO. I love them both dearly, and when asked if I would give a toast/speech, I didn’t hesitate. Of course, of course, of course. Everything was happy.
But then. I had to write the speech. Oh lord, give me strength. My introvert side was like WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO YOURSELF? SIT DOWN. TELL HER YOU LOST YOUR VOICE. ANYTHING ELSE, PLEASE!
So, I began to write. And here are some tips of mine for you if you have to give a speech and you don’t know where to start or how to pull it off.
My first tip is to be sappy, but not too sappy. It’s a wedding, you have to say SOMETHING love-related. But that doesn’t mean you need to be quoting about love all night long (unless that’s part of your grand scheme- in which case, go on AHEAD). I saved the sap for the last ten seconds of the speech. A good love quote from one of my favorite books. Sap is always good, but I believe moderation is key.
Keep it simple, stupid. A classic rule. Don’t go in unprepared (unless you are a speech genius)- at least have some vague outlines to help you if you lose track. I was overwhelmed by all the stories I could tell, until I just decided to narrow it down to 5 reasons that they were my best friends. This kept my speech on track without too many rambles… because I can ramble for the rest of my life.
Watch the people you’re giving the speech about. If you’re nervous, looking at faces of people you don’t know well, and feeling like they’re judging your very capable speech-giving skills, is only going to make you worse off. Look at the bride and groom! That’s who you’re toasting to, after all. And if you’re feeling brave, do some nice turns to those listening around you.
Anecdotes! Don’t forget the anecdotes! As a listener of wedding speeches, the things I look forward to the most are funny stories about the bride and groom. This doesn’t mean you need to go deep into details or tell that really long-winded story that was a had-to-be-there moment in the end. Some one-liner memories can go a long way!
And my last, but probably MOST helpful tip, is to run your speech by someone first. For me I gave the outline of my speech to one of my friends while we were driving to rehearsal. She gave me positive feedback and made me feel more comfortable with what I was going to say. If you’re feeling like something might not be right, give your speech to a parent or a friend who will be honest & constructive with feedback! But don’t worry- it’s hard to get a wedding speech wrong! Because that room is full of LOVE. 🙂
You’ve got this!