The Wedding Speech

Chances are if you are a bridesmaid in the throes of planning a wedding shower, you might also be taking on another daunting task – preparing the wedding speech. 

Public speaking is one of the most common phobias, and the wedding speech is no exception.  You’re standing in front of a large group of people – mostly strangers - trying to find the right words for one of the most important days of your best friend’s life.     Instead of spending sleepless nights leading up to the big day or word-vomiting during your 15 minutes of wedding fame, use some of these tips to keep calm and get the effing thing over with give a really memorable speech.

1.    The Roast. 
At Jac’s rehearsal dinner, we learned a really basic but important tidbit from her wedding planner.   The rehearsal dinner is for roasting, and the wedding is for toasting.   So with this nugget of information (and nothing prepared ahead of time – oops),  Leah did what any girl would do – she told the first story that came to her mind about Jac’s husband throwing up on one of their first dates.  Tasteful! 

But seriously – this was ok (right, Jac?) because we were in the midst of a laid back rehearsal dinner over Mexican food and margaritas.  Would it be the same at the wedding?  No freaking way.  Although it’s perfectly acceptable to get the crowd laughing on the wedding day, it’s also a bit intimidating.  If you are confident that your jokes are not too “inside” for outsiders to find funny, give it a whirl.  You should know your BFF well enough to know which jokes are fair game and which are off limits.  And here’s a hint - it’s always safer to make fun of the groom more than the bride.    

2.    The Poem.  If you’re ready to channel your inner Robert Frost (or Dr. Seuss), preparing a poem for the rehearsal dinner or wedding speech is a great way to show how much time and effort you put into your speech.  Although it takes some work, this is a great way to keep the audience engaged without feeling the need to share each and every inside joke from the past 10 years.  Jac and Emily did this for Leah’s rehearsal dinner, and everyone was blown away by their rhyming abilities – gelato and Monaco?  That’s just impressive.

3.    The Top 10.  This is an easy way to give a dual speech by trading off after each number.  You can incorporate some jokes that are widely understood while also sharing some more sentimental things about the couple.  This technique is perfect for the bridesmaid who wants to avoid clumsy transitions and get the deed done!
Sorry, but this picture is too ugly to  make it extra large. 

4.    The Tear Jerker.  There is no greater sign of a successful wedding speech than a room full of guests wiping away tears.  Better suited to the wedding than the rehearsal dinner, the tear-jerker takes away the pressure of being funny and allows you to just focus on your friendship with the bride and groom and their unconditional love and compatibility.  The key to pulling off the tear jerker is truly meaning it, which should be the absolute easiest part of writing your speech.

Sometimes crying is funny, too!

 5.    The Short and Sweet.  There really is no appropriate length when it comes to giving your wedding speech.  Actually, we take that back – keep it under 5 minutes.  If you cover these basic points you will be all set no matter the length:

1.    Thank them for including you in this special day
2.    Congratulate them on finding their perfect match
3.    Wish them a lifetime of happiness

See, that wasn’t so bad?  You’ve got this!

Have you ever given a wedding speech?  What was your tactic?