The ‘wedding speech’ terror!

Couples I talk to often seem anxious when it comes to speeches. It’s as if they feel they are an imposed burden that could spoil their wedding day.

   They say things like:

  “I’m not a good public speaker”

  “Dad is worried about making a speech”

  “Must we have speeches?”

  “Can we do them before the meal to get them over with?”

  “Do we have to do them if we only have a small group of guests?”

     It’s natural that people are anxious and nervous at the idea of making a ‘speech’; everyone is, so let me first of all put ‘wedding speeches’ into context. 

   A wedding is a celebration that your family members and guests have come along to share with you. Many of them will have given gifts. Someone will be paying for the food and drink (and entertainment) – often shelling out a large sum of money.

     In my eBook ‘Wedding Speeches for the Nervous’ (you can see it at, I recommend that you banish the word ‘speech’ from your thinking; a ‘speech’ conjures up the need for slick professionalism and humour and we picture famous presenters and actors far more talented than we ever can be. 

    How depressing!

    Now pause for a moment and think how you behave if someone comes to dinner at your house bearing presents. You would welcome them, thank them for coming and thank them for the gifts they brought. 

    A wedding ‘speech’ is no different. You are welcoming people and thanking them for coming – possibly highlighting people who have come a long way. You are thanking them for their gifts and good wishes. Every speechmaker will say nice things about the couple and their families.  People will propose toasts, and so on. 

   I tell the potentially nervous wedding speakers that they are not making a ‘speech’ as such; they are ‘welcoming guests’, ‘saying thanks’ and ‘proposing a toast’. In my aforementioned book, I give templates for each wedding ’speech’.

    It is your choice as to how many speakers you have; each one should have a purpose and finish with a relevant toast. 

   At a same sex wedding, you could have a parent or representative from each family as well as the two people being wed.

    I steer people away from the ‘let’s do them first and get them out of the way’ approach. Your guests will be hungry so I advise that ‘speeches’ come after people have had the chance to eat something.

    I also advise that speeches are done in a single session – i.e., not split between courses. Splitting the speeches breaks momentum and loses impetus.  The ideal spot, in my opinion, is after the main course has been cleared.  You could have them after dessert but this is also a natural point where people tend to drift off.

   But it’s your choice.

   Make sure your Master of Ceremonies knows your plan so he / she can get everyone ready. If you haven’t hired a toastmaster or MC, appoint someone to take on these responsibilities. 

  How long should a speech be?  My quick answer is ‘shorter than most of them tend to be’, but that’s another topic. 

 My eBook ‘Wedding Speeches for the Nervous’ (you can see it at, gives examples and formats you can follow. 

   I’ll end this with a toast, “here’s to you making a memorable speech and enjoying doing so. Cheers!”

‘Don’t delay – Plan today’

It’ll be a New Year when you read this and we all hope that 2021 isn’t as traumatic as the one we’ve just finished. Happy New Year to you all, whoever and wherever you are.

Uncertainly is very destabilising and, unless you are planning your event a long way ahead, we all still wonder how life will really be like over the coming months.

You might be forced to consider a smaller event that you had originally planned but don’t let that deter you from having your event on the day you want it. ‘Live streaming’ can make your live event reach an even bigger audience. My ‘Mini Toastmaster’ services can give your event extra organisation and glamour (I’m referring to the red tailcoat, not to me) and at a comparatively ‘mini’ price. Be assured, however, that I will still be my usual size.

I can give you a ‘Town Crier’ announcement clip (with whatever background you wish) to publicise your intentions to your chosen community.

My ‘This Is Your Life’ service will be tailored to include in your special birthday or anniversary celebration.

Covid (there, I’ve written the ‘C’ word) has upended most aspects of our lives but I recommend you refuse to let it cause you to cancel your event planning. I would be delighted to help you. Happy 2021!

Are the toastmaster/celebrant roles now defunct?

Things will never be the same. When wedding ceremonies restart many will do so with smaller groups of guests and, despite whatever legislation allows, with some people too nervous to attend. The grandparent generation might even be disallowed or discouraged.

Web conferencing is already playing a part to help solve these challenges and this technological assistance will grow.

As far as the toastmaster / celebrant is concerned, he or she will need to perform the roles of advisor, planner, scriptwriter, producer, choreographer, coordinator, performer and enabler – and many of the current job protocols and rituals will evolve accordingly. For example, I have events in the pipeline where I am scripting the wedding ceremony as I would in my celebrant role – and (via web conferencing) making family members able to perform it.

For this new world, I will need to revamp my websites and my marketing literature; I’ll still use the titles ‘toastmaster’ and ‘celebrant’ but I’ll also describe my potential contribution with a phrase like ‘your wedding day planner, co-ordinator, choreographer, director, performer and Zoom-Master’
That doesn’t yet feel quite right and is still work in progress so please feel free to comment.
We might not have wanted this new world but we’re going to have to live in it..