More and more these days, we’re breaking away from the traditional all-male line-up of speech makers and women are making wedding speeches, too.
For a list of ALL our articles on wedding speeches for everyone from groom to granny, click here.
If you’re due to give a wedding speech soon, ladies, here are some tips you’ll find very helpful…
- Know what your role is in the speech-making process. If you are there as a female “best man” or “father of the bride,” be sure you fulfil the obligations traditionally done by the guys. If your speech is in addition to that of the traditional male speakers, you’re free to say what you want. But bear in mind people who need to be thanked and acknowledged, and never forget whose day it is (the bride’s and groom’s!)
- Do your homework. Some people can stand up and give a great impromptu speech on the spur of the moment, but not many are very good at it. Unless you’re sure you are good at it, prepare your speech carefully. If you’re not sure about something you want to talk about, research it. And compare notes with the other speakers so you don’t duplicate each other.
- Be realistic about timings. Don’t feel you have to speak for however many minutes, even if you’re the bride, the “best woman” or the “mother of the bride.” Speak for as long or as little as you feel comfortable with … and for as long as it takes to say what YOU want to say. That’s all that matters – quality, not quantity.
- Be yourself. So often when people give a speech they think they it should come across in a particular way that’s not how they speak naturally – forget it. If you find it hard to write for natural-sounding speech, try talking through a list of key points and recording it – then transcribe the recording and work from there. That will make your speech easier to say, and it will sound natural and effective.
- Be careful about making jokes. By all means tell a joke or two provided that it won’t upset anyone – if you’re good at telling jokes. Avoid overtly rude humour; no matter how much we dislike gender discrimination, most women can’t get away with telling blue jokes and being funny (but most men can.) The upside is that women can be funny in a much more subtle and clever way.
- Rehearse your speech so you feel comfortable with the content. But don’t over-rehearse to the point that you get bored with the sound of your own voice! Just rehearse enough to be comfortable without losing any freshness.
- Don’t rely on your memory to get you through the speech, especially if you’re the bride. If you don’t want to speak from a written script that’s fine, but at least put your key points down on cue cards and then … make sure you have not one, but TWO copies. Number the cards and then pin them together so if you drop a set you won’t be poking around on the floor trying to get them back together in order. And give the spare set to someone you trust, so if you lose the first set you know you have a standby.
- Lower your tone. Women’s voices are higher and lighter than men’s, so carry quite well. However if you make an effort to speak more loudly you can come across as a bit shrill. To compensate for that, try to speak up and lower your voice at the same time. (Practice makes perfect!)
- Microphones are very helpful. If it’s possible to get one to use for your speech it will mean you don’t need to speak as loudly, but you will still need to “project” your voice – speak more slowly and clearly than you would in normal conversation, and speak out to the room.
- DON’T have an alcoholic drink until you’ve given your speech. People will tell you that a drink or two loosens the tongue, makes you funnier, wittier, etc. etc., but frankly, that’s nonsense. All alcohol does is make it harder to concentrate, and easier to make mistakes. So save the bubbly until the guests are applauding your wonderful speech!
What other tips can you share for women giving wedding speeches?
Your comments are very welcome!
Excerpted from Suzan St Maur’s popular book, “Wedding Speeches For Women“ – on Amazon UK and Amazon USA, plus most of the others. And for more excellent advice on writing of all kinds, check out our Bookshop.