Wedding speeches can make or mar a wedding. Depending on what is said guests may be bored, insulted, enchanted or entertained. For the couple the wedding speeches can add warmth and leave them with wonderful memories or they can wish afterward that there had been no speeches at all.
Unlike on most public occasions speakers at a wedding are usually amateurs. The father of the bride, the father of the groom and the best man are usually the ones who speak and most or many of them will have no experience in public speaking. The quality of their speeches then is problematical. One or all of them may give a riveting speech or they may just stumble through what they think ought to be said on the day. Weddings, you see, have traditions and even the most modern couple usually stick to traditions as nearly as possible. The father of the bride’s speeches, for instance, end with a toast to the couple. The best man’s speeches traditionally end with a reply to the toast to the bridesmaids. The father of the groom welcomes the bride and her family into his.
There are, of course, other people who may choose to speak at weddings. A favorite uncle may want to say a few words. A friend or peer of the couple might also like to wish the couple well… Sometimes the mother of the bride or groom wants to express her love for the couple. In some countries there are toasts to the parents of the bride and groom.
Obviously then there are lots of different speakers and lots of different speeches. Why then are so many of them so dull and uninspiring? It is really because people are so nervous at the thought of public speaking that they spend more time rehearsing their speech than preparing it?
Preparation is critical to good speeches. Speeches need to demonstrate what is wonderful and special about the couple. Your good wishes need to be expressed in a personal and intimate way. You can only do this if you make it your business to do your homework. After all a businessman would know his product before he spoke. You should too. Wedding speeches can really make the day special and you can give a great speech if you know yours. So be like the Eagle Scouts and “Be Prepared.
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Niamh Crowe specializes in writing wedding speeches. She began her speech-writing career 20 years ago and has since written wedding speeches for weddings all over the world
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