As someone who is relatively comfortable speaking in front of groups of people, I can say that even I get cold sweats when I have to stand in front of a crowd at a wedding. I don't know if it's because you feel so much love for the people who have just said their vows, and you don't want to mess it up. I don't know if it's because you know so many people in the audience, (and who better to give you a hard time than those who love you best??). When it comes to weddings, speaking is hard!
After emceeing four weddings, and giving speeches at countless wedding events, here are some of my tried and true tricks for writing a wedding speech you can be proud of!
Start Early Give yourself time, like months of time if you've got it. Every time an idea pops into your mind, make a note on a Post-It and keep all those notes together in a safe place. Let the ideas percolate in your brain, either growing or fizzling out. If you find the idea is growing, make notes on that same Post-It. When you sit down to write your speech, you might just find it's already three quartres written!
Shorter Truly Is Sweeter As a writer, one of the biggest rules of thumb is to cut the sentences you love the most. So even though you found the perfect one liners from poems throughout the ages, maybe just pick your favourite one instead of half a dozen. People just don't want to sit through a speech with no context.
Keep Inside Jokes Between The Two Of You Obviously you and your best friend laughed until you CRIED that one time, but inside jokes during wedding speeches can actually make the crowd feel a bit excluded - they don't understand your joke! So throwing in an inside joke or two is fine, just try not to make it five minutes of inside joke stories.
Pick A Person To Give Your Speech Too The biggest pain in public speaking is knowing where to look. Ask your date or your friend if you can "give" your speech to them, meaning as you're speaking, they'll be the person in the crowd who you make eye contact with and speak directly too, as you're delivering your words. Having that one face to focus on will make a world of difference!
Plants In The Crowd This trick is my favourite - when you're giving your wedding speech and you deliver a zinger that you were sure would having people keeling over, there's nothing worse than when no one laughs. Literally. So go back to those friends who you trust more than anything, and ask if they'll laugh at every joke you make. Loud. Laughter is contagious and the more people laughing means the more people laughing. There is no shame in needing that extra confidence boost and to be honest, it's better than trying to just keep having more cocktails!