Traditionally, weddings gather lots of close friends and family that you and your beloved cherish. Among the floral arrangements, choice of venues and wedding photographer, you have most likely allocated many hours discussing those that will have the privilege to be present on the most important day of you life! Finding compromises between the people you want to invite, the ones you have to invite, and of course–your budget! (Forget the ones your mother wants you to invite ! )
Beyond enjoying a sumptuous events with lots of bubbles, gourmet food, and glamorous outfits, your guests have first been invited to witness the love you share for one another and the traditional exchange of the vows. Your guests are coming to hear you literally share the reasons why you want to spend the rest of your life together, for better or for worse! I always focus on the better !
But let’s face it, giving a toast in front of all of your guests can be a little daunting, adding to the stress and expectations that wedding planning already creates ! Chances are you don’t have much experience in this area !
Grooms, best men, maids of honor, daddies, this article is for you ! Perhaps you have experienced the ‘blank page’ syndrome in the past few days as you search for inspiration. Are your worries keeping you awake at night ? The big day is approaching–you need your beauty sleep ! « What if people get bored, what if I start choking up, forget my place, or start coughing? » The pressure starts to become unbearable, and what should be an honor begins to transform into a nightmare! You are about to do the unforgivable, download your wedding speech from Google! Breathe in, relax, you have ended up on the right blog !
THE EXPERIENCE …
I have had the chance to witness so many speeches that I feel more than confident to give you advice on how to get through this. Have I told you that writing was another passion of mine ? Even in the busiest wedding season, I alway find time to sit down and write articles about my passion! I also write poems and songs, but that’s another story, and today we are talking about you! Words can express so much, and adding sincerity to your message is the key to success! As a wedding planner, there are always details to review during the meals, but I always take a moment to listen to the speeches. Throughout the months of wedding planning, I become acquainted with the bride and groom; I share their intimate dreams for the future and dedicate myself to solving their problems. So, listening to what close friends have to say always interests me the night of the wedding ! I admit that I have discreetly shed some tears ! I guess those were excellent speeches !
The objective is to create sincere & clever content that doesn’t annoy or offend anyone. You want to touch and surprise people, the more they connect to what you are saying, the more you will make a lasting impression. Do not look for perfection, life is made of beautiful mistakes that makes us more human. However, some common errors can be avoided : vulgarity is banned no matter what ! You do not have to humiliate anyone to shine a little more—if you can’t say something nice about a person, then DON‘T say it. If a few key rules are followed, your toast will lead to resounding success. And if you happen to be single, you could potentially get yourself some admirers ! Inspiration, here we come !
TELL A STORY…
Giving a perfect speech is all about drawing your audience into a story. Remember how easy you used to become captivated by your parent’s bedtime story and peacefully fall asleep ? We definitely do not want your audience to fall asleep, but I trust you get the idea! It requires a ready smile & personality in your voice to keep them entertained and engaged ! Try to adjust your voice tone and flow, breathe consciously as you become a little nervous, and don’t hesitate to stop and smile at people, especially the couple. In other words, try to listen to yourself, and be aware of the effect you produce. It is fine and normal to get a little emotional. Play with that aspect while controlling it in a way that doesn’t appear too forced or faked. Easier said than done! I know ! You have time to practice and rehearse !
A great story is always structured. It contains a beginning, a middle part and the end. (An magical happy ending, of course my dear ! ) You will sound like pro if you conclude your toast in a way that refers back to the very first comment. In order to capture your audience’s imagination, always be very specific! Give examples, share privileged moments, describe your best past memories and anecdotes. Some stories close friends might have heard a hundred times before, but it could be the very first time for other guests. Always assume it is the first time for everyone and try to surprise people. List your friend’s qualities with real-life examples and compliment her/him in a way that everybody will find personal. Good friends usually share the same values and qualities !
THE DON’TS …
I wouldn’t recommend asking someone else to write your speech. I know it sounds obvious, but it might not be for everyone. Giving a toast is a very personal affair. Don’t try to fool people, it will become very clear that you are not the author if you are not! The same goes for hunting down speech templates on Google. Avoid using gimmicks like lines from songs or movies. But getting some advices from friends or articles might help you to finalize your writing (as I hope this one will ).
Unless you are an actor, do not try to memorize your speech, it is absolutely fine to read it ! If you are the very emotional type, don’t print it on a piece of paper, people might notice your hands shaking and may feel embarrassed for you. Instead, download it onto a tablet. Holding the Ipad tightly will help give you the confidence you need. Also, using a tablet allows you to choose a font and size that will be very easy to read. It also gives you the opportunity to look at people, and come back to your text without much difficulty. At all costs, avoid improvisation! You do not want to put yourself in an awkward situation or you could be the very first listener surprised by your words !
Too much alcohol is also not recommended ! I have seen mother’s of the bride so frightened by the idea of making a toast that they started to drink glasses of champagne, one after another. When their turn came up, they could actually hardly move and the effect was not what they had hoped for! The only thing the couple and their guests truly wanted from those speeches was for the mother to go back to her seat !
Less is more! ( At least, in this area ! ) This is a crucial point. The last thing you want to do is send guests running desperately to the bar to escape your never-ending speech. Your speech shouldn’t last too long. Keep it under four minutes. ( I love being specific.) Try to use empathy, your speech is not the only one guests will have to hear during the evening.
THE TECHNICAL …
In terms of planning and coordination, I always recommend the couple I work with to mix the speeches in among other events, instead of having them all lined up at the same time–which will most likely bore the guests. Fit them in between musical happenings, courses, and entertainment.
Make sure ALL the guests will be able to hear you. There is nothing worse than being at the end of the room and not being able to catch 1 word out of 5. I recommend to using a microphone, good speakers, and running a sound check before the event. Although your wedding planner will be present, it is also good to have a sound & light engineer to adjust the volume, and to close the speech with soft music. For the bolder ones, a spotlight on the speaker can add lots of drama ! If a wedding videographer is present on the day ( a very good choice to make ), make sure he will capture and record this long lasting souvenir.
Once you have written down your speech, always get some feedback from the type of straight-forward friends who will let let you know when you look really bad! Remember that your partner won’t be the best critic. Also, it is better to keep them in suspense!
Et voilà ! We hope you found some inspiration in this article ! Please feel free to send me an email if any questions come to mind, or share your speech in the comment section below as an example for others. Remember, giving a speech at a wedding is great honor, it is like offering an invaluable present to someone you love, and you can be certain they will remember it for years to come. Have fun and celebrate love !
SUMPTUOUS EVENTS, destination wedding planner in Paris