You have to give a wedding speech in front of the bride and groom, the entire wedding party, and a room full of strangers. Do you know the correct etiquette?
Many people have a difficult time speaking in public, and Wedding Etiquette’s speeches are no exception and, in fact, often cause even more anxiety than the stress caused by the wedding itself.
Also, the knowledge that most of the speaker’s family and friends may be present to hear the speech often adds to the anxiety level.
When it comes to writing wedding etiquette speeches, or deciding what to say, the speaker often doesn’t know whether humor will be appreciated or not, and also perhaps doesn’t know the proper wedding etiquette for speaking or toasting at a wedding reception, causing even more anxiety.
This guide will help to answer some of those questions and clarify the proper way to introduce wedding etiquette speeches.
First of all, although there is no hard and fast rule about who follows who when it comes to the proper order of wedding etiquette speeches, the one standard rule of thumb is that the Best Man ALWAYS speaks first.
The most common order following the Best Man is as follows: groom’s parents (either parent may speak first, followed by the other one), bride’s parents (once again, either may speak first), Maid of Honor, Groom, and lastly, the Bride.
If others are asked to make a speech or would like to toast the couple, they should follow the bride, or follow whoever at the wedding party speaks last. This order may be changed around to suit the best interests of the wedding party as needed and stay within the bounds of wedding etiquette speeches.
As previously mentioned, there is no set rule other than the Best Man should speak first.
Although there are different sets of rules for the different types of wedding etiquette speeches (the groom’s father will have a different set of rules for his speech than the Best Man will, for example), there are a few rules of etiquette that apply equally to all wedding speeches. These are as follows:
Keep your speech within the 4 to 7-minute time frame that is generally thought of as appropriate. Don’t ramble on or try to tell a long story. If you go beyond 7 minutes with your speech, your audience will grow bored, plus the longer your speech, the greater your chance of forgetting your lines. It’s best to keep your speech under 5 minutes, if possible.
Don’t wait until the last minute to plan your wedding speech, thinking you’ll “wing it.” If you do that, you stand a good chance of embarrassing the bride and groom and possibly yourself as well. As with all public speeches, you need to have your wedding speech prepared ahead of time and make every effort to memorize it.
Once you have it memorized, practice in front of a mirror or in front of friends until it sounds natural and unrehearsed.
During your speech, look around at your audience. Don’t look at one particular person in the audience for too long, unless you are speaking to that person (an example would be the bride’s father speaking to the bride).
Otherwise, look around at different members of the audience, or if you find it entirely too nerve-racking to do that, at least look toward the back of the room rather than at your feet or away from your audience entirely.
Lastly, DON’T has more than one or two alcoholic drinks before delivering your wedding toast. If you aren’t used to consuming alcoholic beverages, then it’s best to abstain entirely until after you’ve given your speech. This can’t be stressed enough.
No one, least of all the bride and groom, wants to hear someone who is slurring or obviously overly intoxicated, delivering what should be a sentimental and happy wedding etiquette speeches.
In addition, if you’ve had even one too many cocktails, there’s an excellent chance you’ll be smack in the middle of your prepared speech and lose your train of thought, or even forget the whole speech entirely. Nothing is more embarrassing than to be in front of a large audience with your prepared speech and to be halfway through, then suddenly having no idea what you are supposed to say next.