WRITING A GREAT WEDDING SPEECH – Top tips from Rose Haskell – Celebrant.
Written especially for the Taranaki Weddings Bride Guide
So…You’re off to a wedding as a guest or member of the bridal party and you know that you’ll say a speech at the reception. Nice! This thought can often cause a bit of anxiety as you start to think of the right words to say. In my experience attending wedding receptions and listening to the speeches, more often than not the speaker will acknowledge that they had no idea where to start in writing their speech. I am here to reassure you that it’s not as hard as you think!
Here are some tips and pointers to consider as you construct your wedding speech.
Provide a bit of context.
Pretend that everybody in your audience is meeting you for the first time, that way, you start with a level playing field where everyone has the same basic background information about you. Start with the basics:-
- Introduce yourself (My name is…);
- Introduce your place in the couple’s lives (and I am the…);
- Walk the crowd down memory lane (we first met…X amount of years ago);
- Bring up a treasured memory from the past (I remember when…).
It is important to remember that this memory doesn’t have to be funny or embarrassing, all that matters is that you treasure it.
You may find that you are one sided, talking about your friendship with only one half of the couple, and that’s OK. The beauty of speeches is that everybody who knows the couple as individuals will have a chance to share their thoughts on each person respectively. For your ‘one-sided’ perspective, another guest will balance you out with their perspective on the other person!
Express your enthusiasm!
Here, you will be pre-empting that the day will go swimmingly (and it totally will), so take a moment to express how you feel about the day (the weather, location, ceremony, decor, food) and how grateful you are to be in the moment with the couple.
At this point, you can also acknowledge the other half of the couple on their appearance and disposition, and (most importantly) for how happy they make your friend.
Make it about the couple.
Aside from introducing yourself and your place in the couple’s lives, try not to talk about yourself too much.
Listening to wedding speeches most weekends, I find that comments such as “I am her best friend in the entire world”; “Thanks to me, they met” and “I did this, this, this and that – you’re welcome” sees more eye rolls than engaged smiles.
My rule of thumb: If you want to give yourself credit for anything, try and word it as being a team effort. You might otherwise come across as a bit self-centered where in this situation, you want to come across as humble as possible by making it all about the couple.
Talk about why the couple makes a great team.
During the ceremony, the crowd may get a general overview of the couple’s journey, as well as their individual positive characteristics.
Here, you can provide some really historic and specific insights as to their individual characters; what wonderful things they bring to their relationship and why, as a couple, they move mountains (metaphorically speaking).
This is a great way to reinforce the positive vibe of the day and show the crowd that you are a wonderful, genuine friend with the couple’s best interests at the heart of your speech.
Think about their future.
Bestowing warm wishes on their marriage and their future means you expect their journey to last.
What do you hope they’ll achieve on this journey? Lots of love? Lots of laughter? Good sex? Say it! What is something that one or both of them has hoped for, for a long time? A new boat? A Harley Davidson? Let them know that you hope that this is the next big thing they can purchase, now that the wedding is all done and dusted!
However you do it, acknowledge that their future will be epic!
Some people have a naturally humorous personality and/or have heaps of funny (and embarrassing) stories up their sleeves. With that in mind, if you can’t think of anything humourous to add to your speech and if you aren’t the most outgoing, comedian type – don’t worry!
You don’t have to stress yourself out thinking up funny content. The best thing you can do in your wedding speech is simply say heartfelt words with maturity and respect. Being natural is a really good way to engage your audience, who would rather hear something lovely and genuine, than something potentially cringe-worthy that they possibly don’t understand (such as an inside joke).
A speech can be pretty daunting to think about, write and then deliver. If you think about constructing your speech methodically and with the couple in mind, the words will come naturally. I hope this is a good start for you all. Now go forth and nail it!