Today I have wise words for you from people who are specialists in words – Great Speech Writing, a website that helps people write amazing things for their loved ones’ wedding days.
So there is a downside to a marriage. Someone has to stand-up and give a wedding speech! And it’s no secret that public speaking brings on a whole raft of anxieties even when there isn’t a wedding to arrange.
We receive so many calls from couples asking where to start. Is there a template for a gay wedding speech? Who speaks and what do they say.
Fortunately, the answer could not be simpler. There are no rules. No obligations. No century-old traditions. We have crafted hundreds of wedding speeches and all that matters is that they are warm, relevant and sprinkled with love.
That’s isn’t quite as easy as it sounds, and it requires time, patience, and skill. While no two speeches are the same, and each begins with a blank page, every single one will follow these fundamental principles.
T – Thinking Time
Taking time to prepare is the first, indispensable step. Whether you’re the Best Man talking about a Groom or Bride talking about your new wife, write down memories and anecdotes you associate with them and see if a theme emerges. Whether it’s the love of a sports team, mishaps on nights out or how much one half of the couple has changed the other, a good theme grounds the speech and makes it relevant and personal. A good starting point is to ask yourself how you’d like the audience to describe your speech the morning after. In other words, think about what kind of speech you want to give. A moving one, a funny one, or something out-the-box? It’s up to you, and you’ll be in a far better position to realise your vision once you have one.
T – Three Rules
Every speech should be original, clear, and relevant. Steer clear of cliched one-liners you found on the Internet or you lose all claims to originality and the personal touch for the rest of the speech. Don’t overcomplicate things. Use short, punchy sentences of 5 to 10 words. These will be easier to deliver and will keep your audience engaged too.
T – Take Your Time
When the moment comes to share your speech with the congregation, take your time! The most accomplished public speakers speak surprisingly slowly; around 120 words per minute, give or take. It’s impossible to hang on every word if they’re coming out at great speed, so speak slowly, and practice the pause!
Aim for a speech somewhere between 1,000 and 1,500 words. Any longer and your guests may start checking the time!
Don’t panic about memorising the speech unnecessarily! A bit of a panic with a microphone in your hand can lead to your fluffing lines or repeating a section without realising. Unless you’re the next Dame Judi Dench you also risk sounding a bit flat or wooden because your focus will be remembering the words rather than focusing on the meaning behind what you’re saying. Read your speech, but know it well enough that you don’t have to depend on the page. Ideally you’ll be familiar enough with the content that you can glance down and know what you’re saying next.
Our Final Thoughts
Talk about what makes your partner special. Why you work so well together. Why you value them. Speak from the heart and you can’t go far wrong.
Best of luck and, more importantly, enjoy. It’s your opportunity to say some lovely things about your nearest and dearest (alongside some good-natured teasing!). You may never have a more open or receptive audience either. A truly unforgettable speech is there for the taking.
Lawrence Bernstein is the Founder, Director, and Senior Writer of Great Speech Writing based in London. Head to their website for more advice on speech writing and delivery or to enquire about having one of their top writers write your upcoming speech with you: www.greatspeechwriting.co.uk