Wedding speech wisdom: how to make a great speech

29 Jun 2016

Think you can wing it? Think again! Here's how to make an impact with your wedding speech

There's a fine line between a good speech and a great speech. Step up to the mark, with these words of wisdom from The Wedding Speech Expert, Carole Spiers. 

Do the expected...

A wedding is a sacred ceremony, where you are meant to perform your role in the manner that everyone is hoping for -  like a theatre audience. A lot of people, especially the bride, will be deeply hurt if you cut across established wedding-day etiquette.

  • You should play your role with sincerity and enthusiasm
  • If you’re the bride’s father, be ready to show emotion at this sentimental farewell
  • If you’re the groom, express gratitude to your new in-laws, and re-emphasise your devotion to your new wife
  • If you’re the best man, display plenty of light-hearted wit about the groom’s bachelor days
  • Your speech should be entirely original. It’s a unique occasion, so a recycled speech will be a let-down

Tip:  Try to do it without notes. There probably won’t be a desk or a lectern. So learn your words, and speak from the heart.

...and do the unexpected

We call it spicing the mix.

Provided you’re following the ground-rules correctly, then you can afford to insert a few touches of cheek and charm that break the ice -  reminding the guests that weddings are all about joy and happiness, as well as duty and honour.

At those moments, you are like the court jester. You must be bold and daring and able to titillate. But go one step too far, and you’ve failed. It's all about balance.

You’re better to restrict the risqué humour to stories about the groom, rather than the bride, unless you know for sure that she’s got a broad sense of fun. But generally, judge the atmosphere at the time. If you feel the audience is on your side, you can take a bit of a risk -  and good luck to you.

Tip: Try a little commemorative verse. It represents a refreshing shaft of wit, and creates a welcome break in the rhythm.

Carole's top five tips for speech writing:

  • Open your speech with a quotation, a question or even a story
  • Make eye contact around the whole room – left, centre and right
  • Use open body language to engage with your audience
  • Raise and lower your voice throughout your speech
  • Stretch individual words for emphasis

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