You may be the father of the bride, the best man, or a relative and been asked to give a speech at the wedding. What should you do, what should you avoid? As with most things in life, there is no simple formula and it is situation dependent. However, if you follow these seven tips, you will be well on your way to giving that knock out wedding speech.
1. Make it short, sweet, and personal. You don’t have to give the Gettysburg address. If you can make it funny, heartfelt, and memorable that is a bonus.
2. Depending on how many speakers there are 3-5 minutes is an ideal length. Keep the number of speakers limited, this is not a platform for everyone to share their connection with the bride or groom even if you’re related.
3. Find a theme and stick to it. Make just three points. Make them laugh, make them cry, make them beg for more.
4. Tell a story or three stories, which have a clear beginning, middle, and end. The stories should be connected. You can start with a personal reflection, a nice memory, go through the body of your speech, eg how the bride and groom met, and end with a prayer/blessing/dua/congratulations for the new bride and groom.
5. If you are the host, eg Father of the bride, thank all the guests, acknowledge VIPs or relatives who have come from afar, as well as the volunteers and people who made the event possible.
6. Practice, practice, practice. You can use index cards, but the better you know your material the less dependent you will be on them. Whatever happens, don’t read your speech. Practice in front of a mirror, with family and friends, till you have fine-tuned your speech.
7. A wedding is not a roast and it is definitely not about you. No one amongst the bride, groom, guests, or bride or grooms families should be made uncomfortable or embarrassed with what you say. Avoid inside jokes, or things about childhood memories that are not relevant to the general audience, or poking fun at marriage.