Some tips on giving good wedding reception speeches
It's your wedding day, so you can do whatever you want!
But having said that, you will want to make the most of it since it will be captured on video for ever. No pressure!
To me, speeches are one of the most important events of the day/evening to capture.
It personalises the video in a way that no other method can.
We want to get an insight in to who you are and how you met. Trying to get the same from an interview for example doesn't quite match. A speech on the other hand is happening in real time, with real emotions, and with interaction.
Video aside, it also personalises the evening with those in attendance.
I decided to write down some tips on giving speeches and what is 'usually' expected from them.
Firstly, relax and be yourself. Everyone there knows you anyway. So don't rush it. Even if you're nervous, those feelings are real, and the emotion is real and it really does look and sound great on video. Emotion is real! So embrace it.
The best remedy for nerves is preparation so let's go through a check list of what is usually expected from a speech. As long as you get to say what you want to say, no one cares if you're nervous.
Oh and don't drink too much before the speech either :)
(Pictured above. A very good speech by one of my grooms)
(Bride &) Grooms
THE "THANK YOU'S"
Engage everyone by thanking them for attending. Mention those that have come a long way to be there. You could make this part quite entertaining by asking "Where are the Smiths?", and then "Where are the Joneses" and then "Who here isn't a Smith or a Jones?".
Sometimes your M.C. has done this for you but it's still good to mention those who have travelled near and far.
Thank all those who helped put the day (and night) together. If you can, from family right through to catering.
Most couples save their parents for last on this list of thank-yous so that they can spend a moment talking about them. If possible, something unique that your parents have taught you or shared with you. Or you could mention them first, that doesn't matter at all but the same principle applies. Perhaps start with thanking the new in-laws first and then your parents.
Acknowledge the bridal party and whoever else is of significant importance to you. How great they look tonight and or mention how greatful you are that they are there. Perhaps even an anecdote on the best man, (or Maid of honour for Brides). You'll probably need to get him back from what he said in his speech anyway.
SAVE THE BRIDE 'TIL LAST
Now the most important thing. If you say nothing else in your speech atleast turn to your Bride, mention her by name or say "and now MY WIFE" and begin to talk ABOUT HER. Even if it's not in your nature to shower compliments at you partner. Now is the perfect time to suprise her with how much she means to you.
Because if not now, then when?
You could start with a brief story on how you met, or even just explain the moment you decided that she was the one. And vice versa for Brides. BUT KEEP IT BRIEF!
The final part of your speech, should just be about your partner and how much you love her and some reasons why. This is usually the most heartfelt and 'meaty' part of the wedding speech. It's what everyone wants to hear. So does the Bride, even if she says she doesn't!
THE "THANK YOU'S"
Do a brief thank you to everyone but leave the personal "thank you's" for the groom, if he's not giving a speech then find out and do the thank you list for the couple. (See above). Of course if the couple aren't aware of who needs a special thank you then add that too.
TALK ABOUT YOUR "CHILD"
This is obvious, but worth mentioning as people can't wait to hear what the parents are going to say about their kids growing up to now be married or married again even. I'm not going to give any advice here on what to say, this is usually quite interesting and funny no matter how the subject matter is approached.
TALK ABOUT THE NEW SON IN LAW (OR DAUGHTER)
Talk about what you thought of your new son in law when you first met him (keep it light!). And then what you think of him now and how he approached the topic of marriage if possible. Once again, these stories are priceless. It's all you! It's what people have come to hear.
Set them off with a positive note, and how special the two are together. Words are powerful things and can have a greater impact than you think.
This is the inspiration for this blog actually. From watching many groomsmen speeches.
KEEP IT POSITIVE!
Yes you were best mates, then this person came along and you had to share them from that moment onwards. This is usually funny to hear but keep it as light and as positive as you can because although funny, it will be captured forever so you don't want it to sound too sour, especially over time.
SHARE A UNIQUE EXPERIENCE
Share a unique experience you had with the Bride or Groom or both. Unique being the operative word here.
Ok this bit is tricky. I'm going out on a limb here to explain. Most wedding speeches from the bridal party have the same advice. This is fine don't get me wrong. But when you read what I'm going to write, you might want to add a personal twist to it.
Most speeches say to the groom "If you're wrong, admit it. If you're right, be quiet". Or something along those lines. That advice, although quite sound is perfectly OK. As long as you know, that's what everyone says! It may be the case that some guests have never been to a wedding before, in which case, they will find that advice quite amusing. But I'm going out on a limb here to say that if you must offer similar advice try adding a personal twist to it.
Having said that, if you get too personal you might come off as some kind of marriage counsellor. So maybe it's best to say just love each other and be happy! That's up to you, but my obligation here is done, as long as you are aware that, that is the most common message in these speeches, so you can decide for yourself if you still want to include it :)
END POSITIVE, RAISE A TOAST
Well, all speeches can and probably should end in a toast but the main point here is to end positive. Remember what you say will be played back over ... and over... and over... for many years! Especially if it's a great video.
HAVE FUN WRITING YOUR SPEECH!