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Top Tips for Speeches

If you're reading this, the chances are that you're one of the designated speechmakers for an upcoming wedding. The chances are also that you're a tiny little bit concerned about it - which is hardly surprising because, apparently, one of the commonest phobias is the fear of public speaking. So here are the ten top tips for wedding speeches.

  • Let's take the pressure off straight away. Admit to yourself, right now, that you don't have to make a speech. There is no law that says bridegrooms, best men and bride's fathers have to turn into stand-up comics on a day when they've got much more important things to think about.
  • Write down the few words that you do have to say on a piece of card and practise reading them out loud a few times.
  • For every ten people who are terrified of public speaking, there's one who loves it and the chances are that, if you've got more than ten people on your side of the family, there will be one at least who is quite comfortable with standing up and telling a few jokes on your behalf.
    There's no need to apologise or justify sending in a substitute, just deliver your words and then say 'and now, my brother-in law/friend/cousin/aunt/wife would like to say a few words'. When the substitute has finished, the best man simply introduces the next speaker.
  • If the bride's father, bridegroom and best man all happen to be reluctant public speakers, you could always do a team talk. Being in the limelight isn't half so scary if you're sharing it with two other people. Agree in advance about who will speak first, stand up together and share the announcements and toasts.
  • Another alternative to the traditional wedding speech and one that usually works really well is to put on a show, using visual aids. Either one of you or all three can do this. Borrow a projector of some kind (the reception venue may well have one and a screen as well but check this in advance) and prepare a set of funny, touching, relevant photos and even sketches or cartoons.

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