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Five Tips for Delivering a Great Wedding Speech
Wedding season is upon us. The beautiful brides and handsome grooms will be matched by bridesmaids and groomsmen. A touching ceremony, whether simple or elaborate, complete with, "I do," and "You may now kiss the bride," will bring joy to so many relatives and friends from far and wide.
Then — the reception. Someone will hand the best man a microphone, and he will ramble on about college, bars and how goofy life was when they were young. The bride's father will step up, and talk for 20 minutes about how cute she was a baby to an audience looking for their next drink. The maid of honor will not be outdone — she delivers a somber story about working together at the mall during the Christmas season.
And don't let Uncle Louie have the mike. He is already drunk. Everyone still remembers the last time at a cousin's wedding.
Why take a wedding speech seriously? It is the one chance we have to honor a loved one publicly outside of a eulogy. It is a time of great joy, and with this, an opportunity to lift up the bride or groom with smiles and laughter.
Old family friends, colleagues and business associates may be there, as well as friend who "knew you when." Not only is your audience more than the bride groom, but it may wind up on YouTube. Do it well.
A good wedding speech is generous, funny, and warm. It goes from 1-6 minutes, so there is not much time to meander. What can you do to prepare one?
1. Remember Your Goal.
You are honoring someone. It is about them. Whether it is your spouse, a parent, a child, or a good friend, you want to let them you know appreciate them. Don't embarrrass them. Many a relationship is ruined by telling a story that the person preferred remain locked in the archive forever.
2. Keep It Simple.
Eloquence doesn't need to be complicated. While being thoughtful is important, sounding like Shakespeare will not help.
3. Be Sober.
Have a drink later if you like, but if you took the time to prepare your thoughts, make sure you are capable of telling them. What could be more awkward than instead of telling your best friend, "I treasure those days playing in the school yard," you say, "Do yoush remember… 'member that whatchamacallit where we would, um, swing?"
4. Keep Stories Short.
Tell anecdotes, but remember your audience just needs an overview. Get to the punchline quickly and they will be wanting more. Drag on with details, and they will be looking for the guy with the hors d' oeuvres tray.
5. Have Fun.
This is a wedding celebration, not a condo association budget report. Smile often, and enjoy the opportunity to ham it up, and toast a new day!
I am Anthony Trendl, a speechwriter from Wheaton, IL who has heard a few too many "Uncle Louie" wedding speeches. It is my mission to help you sound your best whether at your daughter's wedding or your annual meeting.
To connect with me about writing your speech, please see http://chicagospeechwriter.com/Wedding_Speeches_Toasts.html