A Guide To Overcome Wedding Speech Nerves…
This ultimate speech guide will give the best tips and tricks to help anyone overcome wedding speech nerves, not just in the way that you speak but in the way that you prepare your words, too. Speeches are one of the highlights during any wedding breakfast, so it is important to deliver the speech with clarity. This means taking your time, reading slowly and being confident.
But performing this mammoth task can be daunting at the best of times, and if you are not a confident speaker then it could pose a real problem. Luckily for you, Nicola Winslade, expert wedding co-ordinator at one of the finest wedding venues in Wiltshire, The Bishopstrow Hotel and Spa, is on hand to make sure your speeches are word perfect, helping you to tackle that most crucial of addresses and get that speech to run smoother than silk. Take it away!
Take Your Time
If you are the groom, father of the bride or best man, then delivering the speech is a big deal and responsibility – so planning is essential. This is not your GCSE French oral exam, so don’t wing it! Take the time to plan and practise in advance.
Not Last Minute
It’s essential to sit down a couple of months before the big day to map out your ideas and any key moments or memories you wish to talk about during the speech. Having a clear plan in your head will help you feel at ease and, the further in advance you begin planning, the more comfortable and familiar you will be with the material. The only thing that you want to watch out for here is that things don’t become too rehearsed. No robot speeches, thank you very much!
Keep It Brief
Traditionally there are three speeches: the groom, best man and father of the bride, with brides and bridesmaids also saying a few words now too. Three speeches doesn’t sound like much, but if each of you prattles on for too long, then your audience is going to lose interest fairly quickly. You want to keep the wedding party engaged and listening for the entire duration of your speech, so try not to be longer than 10 minutes. There’s nothing worse than an endless wedding speech, so don’t be that person!
Time it Right
Speeches traditionally take place after the wedding breakfast, but these days more couples are choosing to get them in the bag early. Raising a glass before the meal has two benefits – the impending dinner prevents speeches from rambling on, and it also means your nerves have passed in time to relax and enjoy the food!
It can be intimidating to know that your audience is going to be made up of close friends and family because they will actually want to listen to you, unlike colleagues who are, more often than not, politely disinterested in what you have to say. Even if public speaking isn’t your forte, you will only have one wedding day or may only be a best man once, so it really is important to give it your all. Just imagine everyone in their underwear – that’s the age-old trick, right?
Don’t leave going through your speech to the last minute. Practise your speech at home a number of times until you can remember the majority of it without glancing at your notes. If it helps, imagine you’re going to be graded. You want that A+, so strive for it!
Bring Cue Cards
Like your teachers always used to say at school, try not to read your speech word for word like it is a script. Make eye contact with your audience and prompt yourself using your cue cards. If visual prompts are more your style, then you can include a colour code, or even pictures to help jog your memory.
Steady Your Nerves
As difficult as it sounds, even if you are petri ed about public speaking, try not
to show your nerves to the audience. The speeches are usually after the wedding breakfast, so you will have a chance to grab a cheeky drink beforehand if you need a little Dutch courage. Another helpful trick is to choose a few key audience members, ones that you know well, and make them your ‘anchors’ for the duration of your speech. These will be the people with whom you make eye contact throughout the speech – it’s always reassuring to get a nod of approval or a subtle thumbs-up from a friendly face.
Whether you are reminiscing about an embarrassing story, or sharing a joke about a family member, laughter is the key to success and will make the speech memorable for weeks to come. Channel your inner Hugh Grant from Four Weddings and a Funeral – he nailed it.
Know Your Audience
This is especially pertinent if you are the best man. You may not be familiar with everyone in the wedding party, so keep the speech PG to ensure that nobody takes offence!
Closing the Speech
Raise a glass to the happy couple and conclude your speech with a toast to the couple and something snappy that will be remembered. You don’t want a lack lustre last line letting you down, so steer clear of clichés if you can.