Firstly, I just want to take the opportunity to thank everyone for their support off the back of my last blog. It was a bit emotional, but it was really humbling to see people reaching out to me directly and offering their support. Even if you managed to read through the whole thing, I'd consider that an achievement in itself, so thank you.
Anyway, onto something, I'd hope a little more light-hearted for this week, I did promise after all!
Wedding speeches are awesome, it's a great opportunity to get some really genuine laughs, heartfelt compliments and hear a few embarrassing stories at the groom's expense.
I've witnessed some absolutely incredible speeches, and unfortunately, some absolute car crashes, that have left the entire room sitting uncomfortably in their seats. So I'd like to go through a few do's and don'ts of making wedding day speeches:
DO - FORMALITIES
Traditionally, speeches go in a certain order, Father of the bride, Groom and then Best man. In with those speeches, there are certain people you have to thank or acknowledge, definitely take the time to read up on the formalities of these things, because the people you address will depend on your role within the day. I'm all for doing things "differently" but I've seen guests get really upset when a speech doesn't include a mention of a relative or friend that can't be present.
DON'T - MAKE INAPPROPRIATE JOKES
Best men, I'm looking at you for this one. As funny as it is to remember how the groom was cable tied to a lamppost, half-naked and handcuffed to a stripper on his stag-do, speeches aren't REALLY the best time to bring it up. Yeah, crack a few jokes at the groom's expense, but keep it PG, especially if there are kids attending. I saw one best man open with the sentence "I had prepared a few lines for today, but the groom snorted them last night!" There were gasps, and a handful of guests left the room. It just wasn't classy and certainly wasn't the best way to start off a speech. Read the room, and if something does sound a little too risque, consider leaving it out of your speech.
DO - PREPARE
The best speeches I've seen have been written well ahead of time. For the love of God, don't leave it till the night before to prepare your speech! Look at some examples online, watch some youtube videos and cherry-pick some elements you think you could incorporate into your own speech (Leave out the cheesy one-liners though!). Unless you're a seasoned after-dinner speaker, chances are you can count on one hand how many public speeches you've made before, so make sure you've rehearsed your speech out loud to check its coherence and flows. Delivery is key, so confidence when reading out your speech will go a long way towards eliminating those nerves!
DON'T - GET DRUNK BEFORE YOUR SPEECH
The last thing you want is to be completely intoxicated by the time it comes to making your speech. It maybe goes without saying, that slurring your words and barely being able to stand up isn't beneficial. I'm not saying don't drink, but be mindful if you are making a speech not to overdo it. There's a difference between dutch courage and knocking a whole manner of dinner plates off a table into the lap of the brides mum.
DO - CONSIDER DOING SPEECHES BEFORE FOOD
This is becoming quite a regular thing now, as It's a given that you'll be nervous before making your speech, it's only natural. Those nerves can have a bit of an adverse effect when it comes to enjoying the meal that the bride and groom will have carefully selected. Getting those speeches out of the way nice and early can allow everyone to relax a little and more often than not, it gives guests something to talk about between themselves.
DON'T - GO ON TOO LONG
This comes back to preparing, ideally you want to try and hit that sweet spot where your speech isn't too short or too long. Generally, approximately 1200 words or around 5-10 minutes is a pretty decent time frame to try and aim for. You want to keep your guests engaged and attentive, so make sure you read your speech out loud and time how long it takes you to run through. Try not to rush your way through it, and don't forget you'll need to make allowances for toasts and the odd laugh here and there too.
DO - TELL A STORY
By far the best way to keep the attention of your audience is by telling a story. Talk about how far the couple has come, the achievements and successes they've shared together. It's sometimes helpful to include a few props here and there too, to really help the guests properly envision the story you're trying to tell. Bonus points if you get a few laughs from those props too!
DON'T - TALK ABOUT EX'S
This is a huge no. no. No matter how funny the story is, talking about previous relationships is an absolute no go when it comes to wedding speeches. Remember the wedding is a celebration of the newlyweds and not an opportunity to discuss any past endeavours, that people in the room might not even know, or need to know about!
DO - BE COMPLIMENTARY
Despite the nerves and the pressure, let's not forget this is a rare opportunity to stand up in front of all the important people in the newlyweds lives and talk about your admiration for them. Dad's, tell your guests how proud of the new couple you are, Grooms, gush about your new wife and her family, and best men, don't just try to publicly humiliate the groom, talk about your friendship and the laughs you've had together.
As you can see, there are lots of things to consider when making speeches, and what I've written is no hard or fast rule as far as speeches go. Take a deep breath and remember you're there to celebrate the love between the newlyweds. Every single person in the room shares a common interest with you, and that's the couple you're making the speech about, so do them justice and make it a gudden!
And with that, I think I'll raise a glass to the end of the week, and sign off.
I'll see you next week for another blog.
Peace, Love and Photo's.