I’ve written this post to try and give a little bit of guidance to couples and any speech makers.
Unfortunately, the speeches are often a source of great worry. Most people would, given the choice, rather fight off a lion than stand up in front of people and give a speech!
I’ve seen Bridegrooms who’ve made themselves physically sick with nerves at the thought of having to give their speech. They’ve not touched their meal and been an almost a complete nervous wreck by time the desserts come out.
So what can we do…
Firstly, let’s look at when the speeches are held…
If any of the speech makers are likely to be particularly nervous about giving their speech, then consider having these before the meal is served. That way, there isn’t much waiting around beforehand and once the speeches are over, they can get on and enjoy their meal and the rest of the day. One word of caution though, if you do do this, make sure your caterers know, as timings in the kitchen will need to be adjusted, you don’t want your hot starter burnt or cold!
One of the hardest parts of giving a speech is getting everyone’s attention in the first place. This is where a trained Master of Ceremonies, such as myself, comes in handy. I will get the attention of your audience before introducing, by name and title, the first of the speech makers. I will then introduce, by name and title, each of the subsequent speech makers, finally rounding off the speeches and transitioning to the next part of your day, so your guests are informed throughout.
I can also supply a sound checked, cordless microphones for the speeches and advise you to have a quick run through with the speech makers during the cocktail hour so they can practice and get used to hearing themselves through a PA (an unusual experience for most).
I will also make sure the Photographer is ready and that one of the Ushers has been instructed to round up any guests not in the vicinity.
Notes – you’re not expected to memorise your speech! I’d always advise that you at least have some cue cards with bullet points for your speech. It’s probably best not to have a set of notes that you’re going to read verbatim, as it’s really difficult to read from a script whilst trying to talk and, most importantly, engage with your audience.
Notes are also a good way to stop you rambling on about all sorts of trivia. Long, rambling speeches are a sure way for your guests to lose interest.
If you are having a mixed nationality wedding, then a great start to your speech is to try and learn a key phrase in your foreign guests native tongue, welcoming them to your wedding.
Speeches – So, who goes first?
Well normally, the first speaker is the Father of the Bride. (Though this may be the Mother of the Bride, an Uncle or Brother in his place.)
He thanks everyone for coming and those involved in the organisation of the wedding. Be very careful not to forget anyone or you could use the caveat “and everyone else involved in making this day special”. He then normally refers to a few affectionate anecdotes about the Bride and then welcomes the Bridegroom into the family.
The Father of the Brides toast is “to the Bride and Bridegroom”.
Then it’s the turn of the Bridegroom.
He thanks the Father of the Bride (or equivalent) on behalf of himself and his new wife (normally a cheer from the audience at the mention of the new wife!).
He then goes on to thank the guests for coming, his parents for raising him and the best man for supporting him. It’s at this point that you’d present any gifts such as flowers for the Bride’s and Bridegroom’s mothers, gifts for the Bridesmaids etc.
He then says a few words with regard to his new wife.
The Bridegroom’s toast is “to the Bridesmaids”.
Then the Best man…
He is expected to read any emails, letters or messages from friends and relatives who couldn’t make it to the wedding. He then goes on to tell a few stories and anecdotes relating to the Bridegroom, that should be lighthearted, fun, and maybe, slightly embarrassing. These should include how they met, their friendship and have a few compliments for the Bride.
They should not be rude to the point of offending any of the guests.
The Best man’s toast is “to the new Mr & Mrs ………..”.
Sometimes, the Bride herself or the Maid of Honour may also make speeches.
Top Tip – ask for the speech makers drinks to be served last, that way, they know that everyone else has been served and are ready to begin.
I hope this helps and has given you some ideas…
Oxfordshire Wedding Entertainment
01235 426333 or 07870 134826
I run Oxfordshire Wedding Entertainment, based in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. I’m a DJ who has the belief that weddings can be so much more… I can provide the musical accompaniment to your whole day, from ceremony to drinks reception to wedding breakfast and finally, the evening reception. I can be your Master of Ceremonies, helping to guide and inform your guests.
I’m so much more than just a DJ…
I’d like to talk to you about your wedding day, to offer up ideas, to help and advise you.
If you’d like to arrange an appointment, then please contact me.
*Main image courtesy of Neil Hanson, Nordicpics.