Alright, you got the call up to the big leagues and you have been asked to give a speech at a wedding! But are you ready? Well, if you’re lost for words, we got your back.
We’ve all been at a wedding and seen someone bomb in front of the mic. It’s just awful. Maybe they had a few too many drinks, told the wrong kind of embarrassing story, or just dragged their stage time to what felt like an eternity. Once, I was at a wedding where the best man thought it would be a swell idea to list a bunch of women the groom had been with (with a few of them at the reception even)! He thought it would be good for a laugh. He was an idiot.
Friends don’t let friends give bad wedding speeches.
With the number one fear being public speaking, we wanted to give you a few quick tips to help you make your speech a hit and win the crowd.
1. Prepare thyself, don’t wing it. Have you ever left a conversation and THEN remembered what you really wanted to say? And in your car, you delivered the greatest, most hilarious comeback of all time? Well, if you don’t prepare, that will happen to your speech too. You may have some awesome ideas for what you’ll say, but that doesn’t mean you can rock it out in front of 100’s of people if you haven’t rehearsed. No matter how good you think you’ll be, without preparation, I cringe for you. If you’re not a seasoned public speaker, don’t be ashamed of using cue cards, either – if you freeze up, you can always fall back on them. Practice a few times and if you have someone to help you, ask them to give you some feedback.
2. Write a 3 Part Story. Break your speech into three parts – beginning, middle, and end. I know that sounds simple, but it will help you compose your thoughts. The beginning is an opportunity for you to introduce yourself, your relationship to the happy couple, and get people to like you (good time to tell a joke and give thanks). It is also a good time to share a quick story of an experience you shared with the bride or groom. The middle is a great place to talk about their relationship, things you admire about them, or perhaps a cute story from when they first met. The middle is also the best place to get the tears flowing. If you got them to laugh at the start, now swing the emotions the other way by talking about love, life, and family. A great speech takes people on a journey. The end is a great time to thank the families, express good wishes, and make a toast. You could even share a quote you like as part of the toast. By breaking into these three parts, you’ll simplify what you need to prepare.
3. Give em Five! Five minutes, that’s all you need. Have you ever seen someone ramble for twenty minutes trying to deliver an off the cuff monologue? Terrible. Use tips 1 and 2 and break down your speech into three short pieces and try and make each of the sections a complete thought. These first three tips will make your wedding speech writing super simple. Five minutes is long enough to make an impact, but short enough to leave em wanting more.
4. Humor is good, but the right humor is best. Remember the audience is all ages, not all humor is the same, and inside jokes will most definitely fall flat. And if you’re not funny, don’t force it! Find some funny stories that even the great grandmothers would laugh at. Perhaps something silly the groom did in his childhood or the amount of shoes the bride has. Don’t mention exes, children, or jokes about the honeymoon. Keep it classy. If you have a story that is just absolutely hilarious, save it for the party later and pick the right audience.
5. Be Your Full Sincere Self. This should go without saying, but often we get so wrapped up in the speech itself, we forget why we are there. It’s not about you, but about the celebration of the love of two people. And you have been asked to share your connection with them in front of others. How awesome is that!? Don’t forget to just be your authentic self and be as genuine as possible. Forget about how you sound, what you wrote, or how well you deliver the words. Focus on making the audience feel something. Get them to see how much you really care and your speech will be a mega-success. Guaranteed.
Now go and write your wedding speech and knock their socks off. Have some fun, and try and keep yourself to a two drink max before you get up to speak.
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