3 Golden Rules and 5 Top Tips for nailing that wedding speech

3 Golden Rules and 5 Top Tips for nailing that wedding speech

There you are at your best friend’s Big Day.

Standing in front of a sea of expectant faces all looking your way and waiting to be entertained by YOU.

Flashback to 6/12/18 months ago when you eagerly agreed to delivering the toast to the Happy Couple, feeling honoured to have been asked, basking in the importance of it and glowing with pride.

What could possibly go wrong?

Fast forward to the approaching Big Day and looming deadline pecking at your head relentlessly. Where has that confidence and bravado gone now, when you really need it?

Don’t panic! After reading the following Golden Rules and Top Tips you’ll be prepared, so relax – you are going to nail this speech!

You know the subject matter better than most people in the room will – it is your specialist subject! If it weren’t, you wouldn’t have been asked to do it in the first place.

Before we get started though, I’d just like to qualify something. I am not about to dispel that irrational but extremely common fear of public speaking; if I could do that I’d have an entirely different profession (and probably a bigger house and smarter car). But I can offer some advice on how to write a brilliant speech that the audience – and more importantly the Happy Couple – will love. And you might even enjoy delivering it.

With the clock ticking and the pressure on, this is not the time to give in to writer’s block so stay calm. Finding your material is actually a cinch (you already know your subject, remember?); putting it into words doesn’t have to be any harder.

Just remember these 3 Golden Rules:

  • Be yourself – keep it natural by imagining you are talking to a good friend.
  • Don’t try too hard to be funny!
  • Never talk for more than five minutes. Ever.

Now you are ready to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). Armed with these 3 Golden Rules, you are ready to find out how simple it is to write the best speech ever…….

  • Introduce yourself. The opening lines should explain to your audience why YOU are the one standing up with the mic (if there is one). Introduce yourself – even if they all know you already – and tell them how you know the bride/groom.  Don’t go into details; just make sure everyone is comfortable with who you are and why you are the Chosen One making this speech. Give yourself context, grab the audience’s attention and lay the foundation for the rest of your story, making them want to hear more.
  • Share a story.  Make a list of your favourite moments with the person you are celebrating (please no X–rated ones though – they are INAPPROPRIATE, so cross those off your list immediately!) Then sift through your list (hopefully you’ll actually still have a list after deleting the inappropriate ones) and look for a story that describes why the bride/groom is unique.  Give a little detail to add colour and life to your story; you want to show your audience your favourite side of this person, the one that you know better than anyone else.
  • Pinpoint a best quality. Tell us the one thing we should remember about this person?  E.g. “no matter what, I can always count on him/her to…….”
  • Make the couple the star of your story.  Say something nice about the couple – and if you don’t have anything nice to say about the man/woman your friend is marrying, then fake it! Maybe they bring out the best in each other or they have a nice family? If, however, you do like them, tell us why. You’ve already mentioned a special person so now tell us about the special couple.
  • Finish where you started – Go back to the start of your story; grab one of the details, remind us of a funny line or saying now that you have provided the context.  Form a conclusion to neatly wrap up the points you have made, clarifying the theme. Then raise your glass and wish the newlyweds a lifetime of health and happiness. Job done!

Now your speech is written, make a note of the salient points on one index card. Do not be tempted to read the whole thing, word for word.

The audience doesn’t want to hear what you have written; they want to hear you talk to them. Remember Golden Rule No.1 – you won’t require more than a few prompts to keep you on track.  Practice your delivery out loud a couple of times the night before the wedding and again the following morning – your subconscious will have been at work refining it overnight. Moments before delivery, go over the salient points on your card once more.

Then, when the moment comes, deliver with passion and confidence. You’ll totally nail it!

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