10 ways to nail your bridal speech

25 Apr 2017

Thinking of making your own speech on your big day? Here’s how to steal the show

Image: Sergey Ryzhov

An increasing amount of brides are turning tradition on their head and opting to give a wedding speech all of their very own. If you have the confidence to step up and deliver to an audience of your nearest and dearest, here are 10 ways you can leave a lasting impression….

1. Begin with a quote

The start of a speech should grab the attention of the audience in a few words, whether that is by addressing your crowd formally i.e. ladies and gentleman, or citing a quote that sets the tone for your speech. Romantic quotes are always expected at a wedding, but if you are aiming for a funny speech have a think about famous quotes that will lead on to a perfectly timed punch line.

2. Inject personality

Get the formalities out of the way first and foremost and then let your personality shine through your words. Whether you are using cue cards or reading the whole speech from a print-out, make the speech as natural as possible – incorporating your everyday language (censored, where appropriate), phrases and colloquialisms, as well as ensuring eye contact with your guests. This will mask any nerves and make you appear calm and collected.

3. Add anecdotes

Your wedding guests will all be looking forward to the speeches and the funny stories that come with them. Revisit the experiences that you have shared as a couple: your first date, holidays abroad, embarrassing moments; and choose two or three that you feel will keep your guests engaged from start to finish.

4. Include props

When telling your stories, get creative and bring the moment to life with a host of props that help explain the sequence of events. Photos and videos are the ideal storytelling aid, and can easily be projected on to a screen or wall at your venue; if someone is helping you, have a run-through with them prior to the wedding.

5. Reference your wedding planning

The highs and lows of wedding planning make for great speech material, and your guests will be interested to hear how the big day came together. Just remember to keep it brief and not use the opportunity to state how much you did and your partner didn’t do… the atmosphere could quickly turn very frosty.

6. Make it rhyme

Brides, grooms, best men and fathers of the bride are increasingly turning to the medium of song to communicate their heartfelt words. This is a great idea if you are less confident about the prospect of giving a speech as you can easily rehearse it and you can refer to your lyric sheet throughout. For songs, use a backing track to keep you on point, or for poems, recite several times prior to your wedding to identify a flow and rhythm that is natural for you.

7. Thank your family and friends

There’s one way to keep everyone on side with a speech and that’s by thanking all in attendance. Include special mentions of those who have gone the extra mile to help make your wedding day a success – from relatives who have helped to fund it, to the loyal bridesmaids who assisted with DIY projects at 3am. 

8. But don’t repeat your partner’s speech

While you don’t have to read your speech to your partner before the big day (after all, the element of surprise is always exciting), it is best to cross-reference what topics you are covering and who you are thanking so that you don’t duplicate what has already been said. Choose to split the ‘thankyous’ (and toasts), or agree that just one of you will cover this.  

9. Don’t forget your other half

Although it’s easy to get caught up in the attention of giving your own speech, remember that it shouldn’t be all about you. Make regular references to your partner, the love you share and the future you can look forward to… bad habits and all.

10. Sign off in style

When your speech comes to a natural close, keep your sign off short and sweet. Introduce the next speaker (if you aren’t the last), raise one final toast and give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back.

And if that wasn’t enough to get your creative juices flowing, here are five brides who nailed their wedding speech.