Congratulations you are due to give a speech at a wedding! It's actually not as high pressure as people make it out to be. There are a few things you need to know about the speeches at weddings. Here is some background to help you:
When speeches happen
The most likely time speeches will be held is in between food service. No one likes clattering and scraping of plates while they are trying to listen, so you will be speaking in one of three places:
1. On entry of the bridal party, prior to entree (this isn't often).
2. After entree (likely).
3. After mains (most likely).
It's rare, but sometimes weddings will have speeches after dessert. This usually only happens for lunchtime receptions or with groups who aren't pushing to get onto the dance floor.
Order of speeches
Traditional order runs:
1. Parent or parents of bride
2. Parent or parents of groom
3. Anyone else who has contributed greatly (aunt/uncle/grandparents/employer)
4. Bridesmaids collectively or Maid of Honour
5. Groomsmen collectively or Best Man
6. Bride or Groom or both together
7. MC toast (optional)
Of course every wedding is different and lots of couples throw tradition out, but keeping the bride/groom speeches for last is best so they can thank everyone and correct any details that were not accurate from other speeches. (Looking at you, dads & best men who like to exaggerate).
Content & timing
Your speech should run between 3-6 minutes. There is an average of 6 people speaking at each wedding, so be considerate of the time restrictions and don't try to tell too many throwback stories. Your speech should include the following:
- Introduce yourself in relation to the couple.
- Reflective thoughts or a story on the couple as individuals before they met/how they met.
- Describe ways you are proud of the couple and excited for their lives together.
- Give thanks to everyone who contributed.
- Toast to the couple, the day or the future. (Just figure out, in advance exactly what you are toasting).
If you choose to toast, remember to take your glass of drink to the lectern or wherever you are speaking from.
Avoid the following
DO NOT Google your speech. Everyone has already heard the google speeches, even if you haven’t. You’re better off mumbling original words from the heart, than using that stereotypical template off the net.
DO NOT read a speech from your phone. You will look like you’re texting in the photos and your face may also turn out blue from the light of the phone. Phones are unreliable and could go flat, delete your speech or cause disruptions in the microphone you are using. Print your speech, twice, and put it in a safe place.
DO NOT have too many drinks prior to your speech. If you are exceptionally nervous, in advance you should nominate the MC or another significant person to read your speech on your behalf.
The microphone needs to be around 5cms from your lips. If you are holding it- keep it up high and close to your face, but the mic should never be so close that it touches your lips. You will want to shy away from the microphone as soon as you hear your voice, but don't. Please stay close to the microphone, there should be someone to adjust the volume for you. If you turn your head, turn the microphone with you, or parts of your speech will be missed. Most people think they can be heard in the room without the microphone. This is never true. It’s highly likely that the speeches may be being recorded for video through the microphone and the audio will be lost if you do not speak into the microphone directly. If you have your phone on you put it on flight mode. Sometimes mobile phones negatively affect microphones. Data transfers and signals coming from your phone can interfere with the microphone and make it cut out. Even if your phone is tucked in your pocket, flight mode or having it turned off, can be a good option. Standing in one place is best. Roaming around the room will affect quality of sound and become a lighting nightmare for the camera people. Look up from your speech when you can. Smile. Relax your pace. Slow things down to be comfortable. Enjoy yourself.
Good luck with your speech!