Historically, three people gave given speeches in Western weddings -- the bride's father, the bridegroom, and the best man are the standard speakers, though others like the bride, the bride's sister, or maid of honor are certainly appropriate.
Remember -- no matter who's giving a wedding speech, speaking from the heart comes first. But, if you're feeling lost, we've outlined some details for the three standard wedding speeches, followed by general tips and tricks that anyone can use to deliver a great wedding day oratory.
Bride's Father Speech
Most often, the bride's father makes the first wedding speech. To begin, the father of the bride is typically called upon by the best man to grant a blessing of health and happiness to the newlyweds. His speech will also offer words of welcome to assembled family and friends, and may perhaps refer to the marriage as a joining of two families, rather than a joining of only two people. He may also take this time to make a few remembrances concerning his lovely daughter and to thank her and her new husband whose love is the cause for the celebration.
The bridegroom's speech comes second in the traditional wedding order, and serves as a reply to the father of the bride and other parents on behalf of himself and his new bride. Often, this speech will include thanks for upbringing and a loving childhood, for the family's good wishes, and for the gifts which everyone has brought to the ceremony.
Best Man's Speech
Finally, the best man's speech comes last, serving as a response to the bridegroom on behalf of the wedding party. This speech is often light-hearted and fun, and generally incorporates humor and story-telling, particularly concerning the groom. The best man's speech is often expected to be the high point of the reception, to the point that some grooms choose their best man based upon who amongst their friends can most ably make a speech!
General Tips for Wedding Speaking
Public speaking can make anyone anxious, let alone at your best friend's or daughter's wedding, but there are a number of easy ways to control your nerves and deliver a heartfelt and memorable speech for this special occasion. The best thing you can do is to prepare yourself by practicing your speech beforehand - this will let you know about how long you'll be speaking, and will make you much more comfortable when it comes to the real thing. By the time you get to the wedding, you should be comfortable with all of your speech's major points. Try to become comfortable enough that you donÂt need to read your speech from a piece of paper - one of the best ways to lose an audience is to fail to make eye contact with them. Good speeches are really more like conversations - you're amongst friends and family - talk like it! They'll appreciate you candor and genuineness more than they will fancy words.
If you're still nervous before speaking, try shaking out your hands a few times and taking ten deep breaths, pausing for a moment at your maximum inhalation. Drink some water. Be calm, and stand with good posture - back straight, weight on the balls of your feet, about shoulder width apart, eyes forward. Before you start, scan the crowd, and think about how everyone in the room wants you to succeed! During your speech, continue to make eye contact, breath deeply, and go slowly - there's no rush or hurry. If you need a moment to collect your thoughts, take it! Your patience will come off as confidence instead of the nervous energy people associate with a motor mouth.
Finally, with speeches, shorter is generally better. Aim for about five minutes. If you can, consult with the other people making speeches to see what they'll be talking about where possible, try to avoid redundancy!
Stumped on how to compose a great wedding speech? For starters, try writing down all the thoughts you have concerning the people who are getting married - is there a story about the two of them you might be able to tell that shows them in a flattering or funny light? What is it about these people that you truly love? By writing your thoughts down, you'll be able to find connections and other memories that will help you in painting a great portrait of these two special people on their wedding day. For some of us, notes are helpful while speaking. If you choose to go this route, try highlighting key points, so that you'll be able to glance down from time to time, find your next point, and then get your eyes back out to your audience.
Need some more ideas to get you started? Check out these great tips!
With planning, confidence, and your own imagination, your wedding speech is sure to be remembered by everyone for years to come, and will greatly contribute to this most important of days for newlyweds.