Part of the whole wedding planning journey is managing your nerves. Some call it “jitters”, we also know it as “stage fright” but the reality is, there are many occasions where you have to say a speech in public. If you’re the maid of honor, the best man or the couple’s parents, there’s a likely chance you’ll be addressing a room full of people about how you know the bride or groom. But wedding speeches are much more than that; as a Pittsburgh wedding photographer, I have seen my fair share of heartwarming speeches so I decided to list my do and don’ts when it comes to crafting the perfect speech!
First off in my DO’s list is you should always introduce yourself and talk a little about your relationship with the couple. Telling people how you got to know the bride or groom is essential for your speech to make sense, because it lets the audience know if you’re related to them (so they can expect childhood stories) or if you’re college friends (so they can expect different kinds of stories!).
DO keep in mind that there are relatives and older folks present, so remembering to keep the speech appropriate is key!
DO talk about the couple, how they are suited for each other, and use special details, anecdotes and quirky stories to paint a picture of what their relationship is like. Try to avoid super specific references or inside jokes, since everyone that came to the wedding wants to understand whats being said, not only those that were with you in that trip to Las Vegas.
DO thank all those that helped to put together the wedding, especially the parents of the bride and groom.
Now, for my first DON’T, it’s a pretty important one: DON’T pass the microphone around. This is not an open mic situation, and if there’s someone that hasn’t prepared a speech, it’s best you don’t put them on the spot!
DON’T use gimmicks. This means filling your speech with unnecessary but poetic quotes, because we have all heard them before! If you feel like a traditional quote from a poem or a religious passage is going to enhance your message, then by all means, go ahead. But don’t over use flowery, not personalized quotes for the sake of sounding smart.
And finally, DON’T get drunk. Having a drink before it’s your time to talk is fine, and could even work in your favor when it comes to keeping your nerves in check, but it’s not a good idea to be inhibited. It’s best if you take one drink before your speech and one drink after, while you toast the newlyweds!