Often when thinking of weddings, it’s easy to imagine the day full of breathtaking florals, signature cocktails, and the bride in her stunning dress. It’s no surprise weddings are truly a wonderful celebration and funeral for your wallet, regardless of its size. If you find yourself close to the wedding party, you will get to witness firsthand the intricacy of details guests usually overlook.
Much like our fearless founder Lynn, I find myself in the wedding planning sphere and quickly realized going through this process – I am not a typical bride. Non-typical in the sense that I am not after current trends, will forever loathe shopping, lack attention to detail, and above all else to preserve me and my fiancé’s sanity, we hired a planner. On the other hand, something we collectively look forward to is our vows, or exchange of promises to solidify our union. Much to our surprise, when we asked our Matron and Maid of Honor and Best Man to be included on our day, they instinctively replied, “Do I have to give a speech?”
Realizing that writing and public speaking can cause anxiety and fear in many, I’ve rounded up some tips and advice to help the process unfold, naturally.
1.) Remember to K.I.S.S. – Keep It Super Simple
It’s been proven most people have an attention span that correlates directly with their age. Granted, a minor speech could feel like defending a dissertation for some or a walk in the park for others. In any case, great memorable speeches are under 2 minutes. If it’s a multicultural wedding, interjecting keywords or phrases adds a nice touch. Avoid intimate inside jokes that would get lost on the audience, steer clear from heavy banter or roasting, and going off on tangents ultimately, less is more here.
2.) Follow Your ABCs
This is probably the best place to start brainstorming or outlining a first draft. A, highlights the bride (or groom) before they met their partner. B, brings in the other and life before they became a couple. C, is them coming together and a positive outlook towards their new life.
3.) Take it Back to the Beginning
One of the best parts about writing is bringing it back to the beginning, your statement sentence, the “why” you’ve compiled these words. Great storytellers whether it’s in literature, music or podcasts always find a way to tieback and drive home their point. Make every word intentional and then make sure the theme or statement is woven throughout.
4.) Avoid Fillers
In taking numerous public speaking courses and even listening to others and myself in virtual meetings, nothing stands out more than “Um” or “Like.” Similarly staying away from corporate jargon such as: “At the end of the day,” guests will notice and may or may not be counting how many times they’re said. Nervousness will always be there, but leaning on them is a crutch and kills your confidence.
5.) Practice Makes (Close to) Perfect
The key to getting comfortable with whatever speech you’ve prepared is practice. One of the best pieces of advice I received came from a yoga teaching class, voice recording yourself (as cringey as it sounds) will help. This will guide you with your annunciation, tonality, and setting the tempo or pace.
Bonus, if you can get to practice with the microphone before reception begins, avoid using your cell phone to read from. When in doubt print it out. A photographer mentioned nothing ruins a moment faster than a couple or friends reading from their phones. Whichever approach you take, give yourself time to get comfortable with the masterpiece you come up with, make it your own, have a laugh and ultimately have fun.