How to ace your wedding speeches in your own way

Keep it personal whilst avoiding "wedding speech fails" with our quick guide.

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Photo courtesy of Katherine Needles Photography

Modern weddings are all about ripping up the rulebook and doing things your way, and that should apply to your wedding speeches! At The Wedding Arrangers, we believe that all weddings are unique. Our couples are often looking for an alternative wedding which completely reflects their personality.

There are no hard and fast traditions we need to follow with speeches any more.
Not all families are the same. There may not be a father of the bride, your best man may be a best woman. There may be several best people. You may have a troupe of maids of honour wanting to sing your praises. You may have an emotional mum that is desperate to say a few words. Let’s forget convention and make this wedding yours!

Whoever you choose to speak at your reception, it’s worth keeping a few handy pointers in mind. If you have one, your wedding planner should help advise you on speeches with a view on the bigger picture. How to ace your wedding speeches while ensuring they are memorable for all the right reasons? Here is our take.

Photo courtesy of Christine Wehrmeier

When should the wedding speeches take place?

Ultimately this is your wedding and you’ll need to place the speeches at times that work for you. We often hear that a speaker is too nervous to eat until the speech is done, or that a best man is prone to a glass of wine too many and might ‘go on a bit’.

We also need to think about your food. Often speeches are made as part of the meal. Having a speaker ramble on for 20+ minutes between courses can often mean the food is waiting - going cold or not being served at its best. An introductory speech at the beginning of a meal is a lovely thing - and we feel it could be done more often! It's truly heart-warming to hear couples speaking together to welcome their friends and family before the meal. Hungry guests can then tuck into food before enjoying entertaining speeches at the end of the dinner.

It’s important that your wedding planner liaises with the caterer and your MC to ensure the best possible way to place your speeches.

Photo courtesy of Eclection Photography

Wedding speeches and photography

Some of the best shots from your wedding will come from the speeches and the guests’ reactions. Allow the staff time to clear dirty plates from the tables before launching into the speeches, so the room is looking its best. Take your photographer’s advice on suitable backdrops for the speakers. Think about hiring a second shooter (even for just a short period) to make sure you capture all the tears and all the laughter.

If you’re making a speech, try to use prompt cards rather than scruffy, crumpled sheets of paper. And remember to smile as you talk, and to enjoy the moment! You are surrounded by friends and there’s nothing to be nervous about.

Photo courtesy of Eclection Photography

Speech horror stories - and how to avoid them

We have to be honest here: sometimes, speeches can go really wrong. Some of our wedding planners have been running weddings in London for 13 years. You can only imagine some of the awful speeches they had to endure, along with the guests! We could tell you about the wedding where the groom spoke (and sang) for 50 minutes. Or the time when there were 19 speeches - you read that right - most of them unannounced and unscheduled. Or the time where the best man’s “fun” video presentation was nothing short of pornographic, causing a mass walkout. And of course the numerous instances of speakers simply too drunk to talk. This can be quite amusing to look back at, but if you want to make sure to avoid this kind of situation, choose your speakers wisely.

Photo Courtesy of Eclection Photography

Final Tips for wedding speech givers

How you decide to give your speech is completely up to you: on your own, as a joint effort, or even on video. When it comes to the delivery, there are a few tips that can help you grab the room and keep the guests entertained. If you have been asked to write a wedding speech, choose your anecdotes carefully (remembering granny is in the room). Remember that weddings are about love, friendship and fun. One important element is to check everybody can hear you: is your microphone working properly and are you speaking at a slow enough pace? Making sure you are owning every part of your speech, and not rushing through, will also go a long way. If you are raising a toast, check that all glasses are full! Thank your audience for listening and ask them directly to fill up their glasses so you can raise a toast to the couple together.

Need more advice on how to plan a wedding party in London?
Get in touch with The Wedding Arrangers today.