Knowing what to say during your wedding speech is only half the battle. Even if you have penned a masterpiece, if it isn't delivered properly, then all your efforts will have been in vain.
This article takes a closer look at the art of wedding speech making and will arm you with all you need to deliver the goods on the day.
Speech Making Essentials
For any wedding speech there are some key speech making rules you should follow, and here they are:
Before you begin the speech making, make sure you are introduced, either by the toastmaster, the wedding co-ordinator, or even do it yourself.
Never a popular tip, but you are advised to try to stay sober, at least till the speech making is over!
Donít rely on any notes or crib cards too much Ė ideally keep them for a few key words or phrases that you can turn to in times of emergency.
Donít be afraid to take a few sips of a drink during the speech, just try to stick to water or a soft drink and make sure that you donít reach for the toasting glass in error!
Avoid improvising unless you really need to - you have practised the speech and the speech making for a reason you know!
If you really are concerned then get the audience on your side by letting them know. The phrase ĎSorry Iím a little nervousí always works, but a quick joke, something along the lines of ĎI donít suppose anyone has a change of underwear handy do they?í may be just as good depending upon the audience.
Don't be afraid to laugh at yourself or make a quick quip if things go wrong during the speech making process - it happens to the best. The raising of an arm accompanied by a glance to the side and the words ĎTaxi for <your name>í can always get you out of a tricky corner and quickly get the audience smiling again.
Speech Making Vocals
Mastering your voice is one of the keys to successful speech making - here are some top vocal tips from the pro's:
A deeper voice carries far better than a high pitched one, so if possible intentionally lower your vocal tone when speaking.
Remember to pause for laughter (yes, people may actually laugh!) as and when appropriate.
Speak slowly and clearly throughout the course of the speech making.
Take a deep breath before you begin and remember to breathe deep and rhythmically throughout the speech.
Exaggerating words, consonants and clearly expressing key words will help your audience Ėimperative for those speech making one-liners!
Avoid lots of slang or regional dialect, especially if you have guests from outside your area.
Speech Making Props
If using a microphone for the speech making, donít hold it too close or too far away Ė the ideal distance is around 4 inches from your mouth.
Avoid holding your notes or crib cards, instead rest them on the table in front of you Ė any nervousness can easily be picked up by the audience by a quick glance at the quivering bits of paper in your shaky hands.
If you have a lot of crib cards or bits of paper, either make sure they are clearly numbered or, better still, fasten them together so they donít get jumbled up. There is nothing worse than a speechmaker rustling paper for half an hour with a panicked look on their face!
If you do plan to use any props of any kind, make sure you have them easily to hand and don't frustrate your audience whilst you fiddle about searching for them.
Body Language in Speech Making
Without opening your mouth, your posture, movements and gestures will speak a thousand words. When speech making, it is important to bear your body language in mind. The following hints and tips should help you out:
It's essential to begin the speech making process right. As such, donít start your speech with your hands in your pockets or balanced precariously on one leg!
Look up whilst you speak and donít mutter into your chest or talk whilst staring down at your notes.
Make eye-contact with your guests Ė donít stare at any or jump from one to the next but instead gradually scan the audience. Ideally have a few key guests in mind scattered around the room for you to return to for a quick confidence boost (the ones who will smile and nod).
Hold your toasting glass to prevent fidgeting when speech making. Alternatively loosely hold your left index finger in your right hand (with the knuckles on both hands facing outwards).
Donít be afraid to get up and move around a bit Ė donít pace about, but a few odd moves here and there are fine.
Smile all throughout the speech making process, not inanely (or you may be locked up!), but as and when appropriate.
For those of you wanting to find out more, we've a whole host of other wedding speech articles on the site packed full of expert information and inspirational ideas, not to mention our online wedding directory that's filled with toastmasters, speech writers and more.
For friendly tips and helpful advice take a look at our wedding speech forum, or why not check out the 'related articles' and 'pages & websites you may like' below.