For many people, speaking in front of large groups is a huge fear. This is always a cause for concern when it comes to wedding speeches. Whether it’s not knowing what to say, how long to speak, or if they should be serious or funny, all of these issues tend to come up when it’s time to write a speech for a wedding. Well, at Grand Banquet Hall, we’ve seen plenty of good and bad speeches at weddings, so we wanted to give you some pro tips. These tips aren’t specific to any one speech at the wedding, but a general guideline for anyone involved in the speech process.
1. Keep It Short
Keeping your wedding speeches to an optimal length is extremely important, with five minutes long being ideal. You might feel like you have a lot to say, but no one wants to hear you talk for too long. You’d have to be an incredible speaker for the audience to pay attention to you for longer than five minutes. So keep it short! Make your points, and then move on to the next speaker.
2. Make It Personal
One of the best ways to make your speech hit its mark is to make it personal. Start out with how you met the bride or groom. These personal moments give emotional cues to the audience. They’ll be more involved if you offer up a fun or touching anecdote or two. Just make sure you’re not rattling off story after story after story! The love and emotion that comes from this aspect of the speech will carry you on through to everything else you say.
3. Practice, Practice, Practice
The absolute worst thing is watching someone do a speech with their head stuck in note cards. Make sure you’ve practiced your speech multiple times in the mirror at home, or in front of a friend or two. If you’re trying to give off a certain body gesture or motion at key points in the speech, make sure you’re practicing that. Those non-verbal cues are all a part of the presentation.
The more you practice, the more confident you’ll be during your speech. Coming across as extremely nervous during the speeches can be off-putting for the crowd, and they’re likely to eventually tune out. Speaking with confidence goes a long way towards keeping your crowd engaged.
If you don’t want to look like the maid of honor in the above video, make sure you’ve practiced beforehand! Don’t just rely on reading from your cards. There are plenty of great techniques to practice a speech.
4. Show Some Humor
Adding a few funny moments in your speech will keep your crowd engaged. They’ll appreciate the lightheartedness that it brings, and it gives depth to the bride and/or groom. Offer about two funny stories that are a little revealing. Make sure you’re not embarrassing the person too much, though. There’s a certain point you don’t want to cross when it comes to the humorous portions of your speech. The line will be different for every person—it’s up to you to judge where that line is.
5. Things To Leave Out
Some of these are obvious, but they do happen, so it’s worth mentioning. Make sure you’re leaving out any racial jokes. Some people may find them funny, but you’re better off erring on the side of caution.
Leave out comments about cultures or traditions of the family. Again, it’s entirely too difficult to gage how 200 to 300 people will react to these types of jokes, so it’s simply better to leave them out.
Jokes about family members should also be left out. You don’t want to say something about the groom’s mother only to have her be offended. This isn’t the time or place for that.
The humorous portions of the speech should leave out anything about ex-girlfriends and boyfriends. There’s no reason to bring them up, as funny as it may be. Also, make sure you’re leaving out any stories about drunken nights. Those should be saved for the bachelor or bachelorette party. The person may be sensitive to some of these moments, and you don’t want to air out these stories in front of a big crowd.
Wedding Speeches: Conclusion
Make sure you’re having fun with your speech. This is your time to tell everyone how you feel about the bride and/or groom. Your speech will allow you to take the guests on a journey with you. As long as they can tell you’re being truthful and not exaggerating facts, they’ll appreciate it. Try and find inspiration by doing research. There are great examples of wedding speeches all over the Internet. Keep it personal to you, but don’t be afraid to take ideas from good speeches that others have done.