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Wedding Speeches

Posted 05-29-2008 at 10:15 AM by vhong

Tips for Giving a Great Wedding Speech

As if weddings were not nerve-wracking enough, there is the added element of the possibility of having to give a speech. There do not appear to be any clear cut rules as to who will give speeches at a wedding, I've heard the best man, the groom, the bride, and the mother-in-laws for possibilities as to who might be giving a speech at a wedding. However, the truth is whoever is going to be giving a speech, there are tips you will want to take to heart in order to follow the theme of the happiest day of your life.

Here are some tips to get you through this more stressful part of any wedding.

1. Ask if you'll be expected to give a speech. If you think you might be called upon to give a speech at someone's wedding, then ask ahead of time and find out if this is the case. There is nothing worse than being caught off guard and asked by either the bride or groom on the spot to give a speech. In fact it brings to mind a deer caught in headlights. I have personally seen this happen, and watching someone be all tongue tied, break out in a cold sweat and stutter is just as painful to watch as it is to be person going through it. So, find out ahead of time if you will be expected to give a speech.
2. Should your speech be lighthearted or serious? This is another question you will want to ask. If the bride or groom was looking for a solemn speech, and you get up there and crack a few jokes, this might be upsetting for the person who asked you to give the speech. It is better to find this out ahead of time and save both yourself and others the possible embarrassment.
3. Be prepared. Whatever you do, don't decide to wing it at the wedding. Unless you are one of these people who can easily give a speech at the drop of a hat which is uncommon, you will be sorry if you don't prepare. So, just like when you took that speech class in college, write out your speech and then fill in some index cards to use when you give the speech. Then stand in front of the mirror, or your dog and practice, practice, practice! You'll be glad you did.
4. Don't say anything that is going to embarrass or anger anyone at the wedding. No childhood stories that are less than flattering, and no mention of previous boyfriends, girlfriends, lovers, or whatever. This is one time when you should follow the golden rule, "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." You will be much happier for it, and so will everyone at the wedding.
5. If you are the groom and are going to be giving a speech, make certain you praise your mother-in-law. Even if for some reason you don't get along with your mother-in-law, it is customary for the groom to praise her, if only for raising your bride. Who knows your doing so may help to mend a breach if there is one. Anything is possible!
6. Use the internet. Are you stumped for what to say during your wedding speech? There are plenty of examples online that can give you ideas for ways to give a heartfelt and appropriate speech. Don't be afraid to look online at the many different examples and then to pick and choose what pertains to what you want to convey for your wedding speech.
7. If you are unknown to even half of the wedding party then be sure to introduce yourself and tell the wedding party why you were chosen to give a speech at the beginning. Maybe you are the best man, and a close childhood friend of the groom for example. The rest of the guests will truly appreciate your telling them if they have not had the chance to meet and speak with you as of yet, or have only done so briefly.
8. Make eye contact. This is very important if you want those at the wedding to truly listen to you and hear what you have to say. Even if you only occasionally make eye contact with some of the people, or pan through the crowd from time to time this will help to keep their attention on you.
9. Make your speech quickly and concisely. Don't drift off topic, or make long winded explanations. Most of all, delete the sound "um" from your speech, practice not using it if you use it when you get stumped. Instead make all your points in a concise manner, and this will help you to retain people's attentions throughout your speech.
10. At the end of your speech, return the crowd's attention to the bride and groom. This is also your opportunity to wish them well.
11. Make sure you stand to give your speech. Some people like myself have a tendency to get knocking knees when they have to get in front of a crowd. It is perfectly respectable to lean against a table if you your knees are shaking to help you to stand solidly. If you do it right, no one need ever even be aware you are doing so!
12. Make sure you hold onto your speech cards or something else if your hands have a tendency to shake. This will help you to keep them still and hide your nervousness from the crowd.

Giving a speech at a wedding need not be nerve wracking, and can in fact become a memory to be cherished for many years to come both for yourself and those who are attending the wedding. If you follow these tips you will be certain to give such a speech!
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