So, imagine this: your older brother is about to get married and he asks you to give a speech at his wedding. Without thinking about it, you say yes automatically because he’s your brother; you love him and you’d do just about anything for him. Then, you realize that – wait—you’ll be giving a heart-felt, emotional speech where you’re likely to cry in front of at least a hundred people. Don’t worry, we’ve got some tips on how to make wedding toasts and speeches less terrifying.
-Do NOT wing it!
While it’s tempting to just come up there and speak from the heart, it’s probably better if you’ve written down your speech a few days before the wedding. On the day itself, remember to bring cue cards! It helps organize your thoughts and ensures that you don’t forget names like the bride’s great grand-aunt from her mother’s side.
-Know your audience.
Knowing your audience makes a huge difference in what your speech will contain. Remember – do NOT under any circumstance, tell any incriminating, gritty story about your brother (or cousin/friend/etc.) in the presence of their grandparents, boss, or new in-laws. Save it for the round of drinks with the people who will appreciate these stories later.
-Test it out.
Whether it’s practicing in front of your best friend at the dead of the night in your living room or hours before the wedding at the reception venue, it’s important that you rehearse this speech. Know whether or not you’ll be using a microphone; if you can move around, or if the projector at the venue works if you’re using a PowerPoint presentation.
-Make sure you mean it.
At the end of the day, your loved one just wants to hear how much you care for them; how happy you are for them, and how supportive you are for this new chapter of their life. So, make sure that you mean the words that are coming out of your mouth.
Learn more about making speeches and the Art of the Pitch at JRP.