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How to Give a Great and Memorable Speech

The speech portion of a wedding is the most loathed, both by those who have to give the speeches and those who have to listen, really it’s only for the benefit of the bride and groom. Emotional, obnoxious, cringe-worthy and endless speeches have left us with a vehement dislike of all things wedding speech and so we’ve put together a quick list of tips to help you make your speech short, snappy and engaging.

Keep it short

We’ve had groom’s speak for an hour and forty-five minutes before and we’ve had bridesmaids do a quick one minute jaunt on the mic. It’s all about length – or rather the lack there of it. Your speech should be 3-4 minutes at the absolute maximum otherwise your audience will tune out and get restless.

Keep the inside jokes inside

Apart from the fact the bride and groom might not want inside jokes conveyed to 300 of their closest friends and family, inside jokes will leave the audience entirely confused and it dulls your speech becuase you lose their focus.

Try to memorise as much as possible.

Remember your school speech competitions back in the day? It’s all about engaging with people. If your eyes are transfixed on the page, your voice will be muffled and you’re not engaging the crowd.

Sincerity is key

Speak in your day-to-day voice. If you’ve never read a book but you’re quoting passages from Voltaire and speaking in iambic pentameter, it’s going to sound false. Stick to who you are and be sincere about what you’re trying to convey. You were chosen for your character not your ability to read a thesaurus.

Start and End on a high

Generally, at speech time, people tune out and barely listen other than the bridal couple and perhaps a couple of the oldies so you really just need to ensure that you start and end on a high. Open with something funny and end with something endearing and you’ve got toast gold.

Ask the person why they chose you

If you launch into a comedic recount of the bride’s past flames when she was expecting a romantic reading, she’s not likely to be pleased and if you begin reading Shakespeare when you’re not so literary, it’ll come across as false. Clarify their intention from the start.

Use notes

When you’re up in front of a crowd, probably half a case of champagne in already, you’re likely to forget near everything you’d intended to say. Instead of trying to remember it all in the moment, ensure you have notes. They can be one line prompts or the speech written out in its entirety but whatever you choose, make sure you have something to refresh your memory and keep you on track (and on time)

Emotion

If you get emotional –as you’re likely to be – take a moment to pull yourself together before continuing. There’s nothing worse than trying to understand someone doing their best impression of whale song while trying to speak.

Make a Keepsake

Often the bride and groom will have loved what you've said so much that they'll ask for a copy of it and if you've memorised the whole thing, you'll have nothing to give. Apart from the logic of writing it down in case you forget something, or on the offchance that you get stagefright and mumble your way through it, preparing a keepsake of your speech is a lovely way to gift the bride and groom your words to reflect on later.

Stay true to who you are, be tasteful but comical, engage your audience both through your words and our body language and end on a high to truly capture the audience's attention and you've successfully made a great and memorable toast!