You might know the tale of the savage lion charging into a roman amphitheatre to eat some slaves. The lion was suddenly racked with uncontrollable nerves, after hearing the announcement, ‘after his meal, we will ask our victorious lion to make a short speech’.
I’ve seen wedding speakers in similar states (not in amphitheatres, although it might have felt like that to them).
Wedding celebrations and wedding speeches go hand in hand. It is possible to have a wedding celebration where no one makes a speech – but I’ve never seen it. I’ve been to weddings where speeches are very short (less than a minute each) and I’ve been to weddings where speeches are very long (sometimes far too long!).
The shortest wedding speech I heard was when the bride’s father stood up and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, my wife (Jean) and I would like to welcome you and to thank you very much for coming today. Please stand and toast the health of the bride and groom”. Everyone did as they were told and nobody complained.
Most wedding speeches are longer than that and most speakers are apprehensive and nervous; that’s natural.
So how do you overcome those nerves – or at least control them?
My first tip is to forget the word ‘speech’ and think of the word ‘toast’. You are not making a speech, you are proposing a toast. You might also be saying ‘welcome’, ‘thank you’ and, in the case of the groom, also saying ‘how lucky you are’.
I give this advice to every groom and father of the bride – and it’s advice I use myself.
So, what do you think?
Please comment and tell us what works for you. Thanks.
You can get more tips, advice and sample speech ideas (sorry, ‘toasting’ ideas) from my kindle book ‘Wedding Speeches for the Very Nervous’