We catch up with the wonderfully talented wedding planner Natalie Hewitt for her top tips on wedding speeches.
Natalie Hewitt has seen a fair few wedding speeches in her time as a wedding planner; some executed brilliantly and some not so well. But she has a few great tips for planning and delivering a great speech…
You either love public speaking or you don’t and for most, the thought of standing up in front of a room full of people fills them with dread! A lot of couples are now opting to have the speeches before the wedding breakfast, though this can often cause delays in the kitchen and result in your beautifully pink fillet of beef being turned into a dry, chewy lump. It’s also common for those in the wedding party to have a few drinks for Dutch courage, but there’s a fine line between feeling relaxed and being completely inebriated.
But public speaking it isn’t something to fear! If you fail to plan, you plan to fail, so some pre-wedding planning will save you making some common mistakes:
- Write your speech well in advance of the wedding – not the night before, or even worse, the morning of the wedding!
- Make your content relevant – telling personal jokes or talking about the EU just isn’t appropriate for a wedding speech.
- Keep it short – people’s attention span is only so long and they have a few of these speeches to listen to. That being said don’t make it too short either. About 15 minutes is acceptable.
- Tell a few light hearted jokes, anecdotal stories or romantic declarations of love, but do not make it obscene or offensive – the last thing you want is the bride running out in floods of tears.
- Don’t drink too much beforehand. You could end up slurring your words, forgetting your speech or just make a fool of yourself.
- Practice your speech a few times, out loud and remember to speak slowly, clearly and at an appropriate volume for the room, if you don’t have a microphone. Watch how politicians speak; they pause at regular intervals to give the audience time to digest what has been said and gives them time to think of what they are going to say.
- Write yourself a few Q cards, but don’t rely on them. Remember to look up and talk to your audience, otherwise you could end up mumbling to the floor. And if you get nervous with all those eyes staring at you, look just past them or at the beautiful bride.
If you don’t know what you should be saying or who you should be thanking in your speech, there are lots of templates on the internet or in books, but I would just use these as guides. Some guests spend all summer going to weddings and they don’t want to sit through the same speech each week. Shake it up and make it fun but most importantly remember why you are doing this speech in the first place; you have a pivotal role in the wedding and your involvement will contribute towards the success of the day. Good luck!
For more wedding planning tips visit Natalie Hewitt Wedding & Event Planner
Photography by Edward Tyler Weddings (www.edwardtylerweddings.com)