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Fabulous Wedding Speeches

10:00 AM - October 15, 2014 by Susan Cooper

There you are, delivering your speech in front an impressive gathering of guests, and holding them totally in thrall.  They love you!  They are laughing, exchanging appreciative looks with each other, and showing you a lot of appreciation.  Later they are hugging you, patting you on the back and complimenting you on the terrific speech you just delivered.  


Or . . . do you see yourself frozen in an extended pause, frantically searching for your place on a rumpled sheet of paper, sweating, garbling your words and wishing someone could just shoot you now!

Obviously, our hope for you is the former, and if you follow the advice on this site and in our recommended resource,

 

= = >  Wedding Speech Tips and Examples < = = 


the latter will never happen!  The point?  Positive visualization is extremely important.  But first, let’s get to the prep work.  



Preparing Your Speech

Thinking of just ad libbing your speech?  Not a good idea! Even if you are on off-the-cuff kind of guy, a wedding requires a well-prepared speech.  Mark Twain famously once said:  “It takes three weeks to prepare a good ad-lib speech.”  

Remember any of Billy Crystal’s nine hosting stints at the Academy Awards?  He appears to be the master of the effortless ad-lib.  In fact, Crystal starts preparing many months in advance.  Always the consummate pro, his intense preparation is the backbone of his success and his seamless delivery.  It’s one of the reasons he’s been asked back so many times.  

By all means, if you feel comfortable throwing in an offhand comment for laughs, do so.  But don’t plan to wing your whole speech if you want to make it great!

The moment to start work on your speech is when you first find out your friend is getting married.  This will give you lots of time to ponder what you will say, come up with the best anecdotes, and even gather new ones in the lead up to the wedding.

Before the wedding, it is also a good idea to practice speaking into the microphone. This will help to build your confidence. You'll also learn how to avoid unpleasant feedback squeaks. 

Dig into a resource on wedding speeches for ideas and actual templates you can customize, as well as great quotes, toasts and humorous lines.  

 

= = >  Wedding Speech Tips and Examples < = = 


Structure

Remember high school English class and start off with an outline.  Then just start filling it in. (Your ideas and writing will flow better if you leave the editing until later.)  This isn’t a business speech.  So forget the “first tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them” formula.

Instead, plan to start off with a catchy intro.  An anecdote is easier to pull off than an opening joke. People love them (as long as they are short!) so by all means, feel free to include one or two more in the body of your speech.  You'll also want to sprinkle your speech with compliments, perhaps tempered by a friendly jibe:  “But there was the time that…” (fill in with anecdote).

Finish with an emotional punch and a heartfelt toast to the Bride and Groom. Once you’re satisfied with your speech, write it out on index cards.  You’ll want to use visuals, such as big letters, hi-lighting and images--prove to provide memory cues.


Length of Speech

If you are one of the main speakers, such as the Best Man, aim for about five to seven minutes.  The guests are looking forward to being entertained and a short speech might leave them feeling disappointed.  

On the other hand, you don’t want to make your speech too long.  Remember, there will be other speakers who won’t appreciate it if you go on and on.  So the guideline is to make it long enough to satisfy and entertain the guests, but short enough to leave them wanting more!  


Delivery

Practice your speech until you have it down pat. Professional speakers recommend exaggerating your intonation and gestures as you practice.  The reason is that we have a natural tendency to dampen down our expressiveness when in front of an audience.  So if you practice with greater emphasis, your delivery on the day of the wedding will be just right.

After practicing on your own, enlist family and/or friends to sit for a run-through and provide helpful feedback.  Stand up at a reasonable distance from them to more closely approximate the actual conditions of speaking from a head table or podium.  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xfq72mln7gM      Best Man speech video

Memorize your speech.  Knowing your speech cold, will provide you with the jumping off point if you wish to ad lib . . . and the confidence to do so.so.   You want to deliver your speech in a relaxed manner with flair and humor.  It’s the preparation and practice that will get you there.

A final point to ensure a warm reception is to mingle with the guests beforehand.  By introducing yourself to a few of the relatives and friends you are effectively warming up your audience.  This will go a long way to adding to your confidence.

= = >  Sample Wedding Speeches and Tips < = = 

 

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