There is an excited feeling in the air as your wedding day approaches and a whole new phase of your life begins. And, as always, many of us leave the worst for last…last minute additions to the seating chart, paying all the vendors and writing your speech. Are you nervous about speaking at your wedding? Are you worried about what your father will say? What embarrassing moment of your life will he bring up? Will he go on and on about stuff? Well, here are five tips that you can use for your speech and pass onto your fellow speakers in order to make your wedding day a memorable one.
- Grab the audience’s attention in the first 15 seconds. Immediately start off with a fun fact, quote or question before you go into an introduction. If you don’t do this, you will lose your audience.
- Practice as much as you can!
- Video tape yourself practicing and watch for things such as pace or weird gestures.
- Don’t read your speech or memorize each word. Practicing makes you comfortable with your content and you can write key points on cue cards. If you forget a part, your audience will not know, so don’t panic.
- Pause and breathe. Even experienced speakers get nervous. When you are up on stage, a five second pause can feel like an hour! A pause helps your audience process what they hear.
- As you practice, write the word “pause” in capitals on your speech where needed. This embeds the breaks in your speech subconsciously.
- It’s okay to take a sip of water while speaking and this will force you to stop and breathe.
- Keep it family friendly. It’s distasteful to hear speakers swear or tell embarrassing stories! And do not give a speech drunk. Weddings are family events – keep it clean.
- Time yourself. Ask the couple how long they want you to speak for and time yourself as you practice.
- If you are an emcee, draft a program timeline with the couple. Let other speakers know how much they have to speak.
- Do a practice run to time other speakers and ensure content is family friendly. If you can’t get everyone together at the same time, meet with them individually.
Above all, don’t be afraid to show emotion. The best speeches are the ones given from the heart.
So, all the best to you! May your day be filled with wonder, joy and entertaining speeches!
by Calgary Wedding planner, Alexandra Slawek & Shaila Khan (Motivational speaker)