You might have stumbled onto this article because it is the night before your wedding and you’re still trying to get your wedding speech written before trying your best to sleep. First, let’s just say don’t panic and get solace in the knowing that you’re not alone – almost every wedding couple we’ve met wrote their wedding speeches the day (or night) before!
So let’s Keep Calm and Write On. To help you nail that speech in a jiffy, we got tips from Emcee Sharlyn on how to start, engage and deliver it in a memorable way. Even if you still have plenty of time to your wedding day, read on for tips and some interesting alternatives you can use without giving an actual speech (#YouAreWelcome).
Emcee Sharlyn has been hosting events and weddings for more than a decade. With an energetic persona and a natural flair to build quick rapport with the audience, Sharlyn has been well-loved by her clients and couples! She has hosted countless weddings, big and small, so who better to ask than someone who has heard numerous speeches right?
Steps to nailing your wedding speech:
- How Should You Begin and End?
- What Should You Include in Your Wedding Speech?
- Making Your Speech More Entertaining
- Practical Tips in Delivering Your Speech
- What Are Some Common Mistakes to Avoid?
- Alternative Forms of Wedding Speeches
How Should You Begin and End?
For those who have been staring at a blank page, here’s how to start.
Think about the angle and main theme of your speech, then craft the beginning and the end of your speech with that in mind.Sharlyn
As the saying goes, “begin with the end in mind”. With an overarching theme, it helps you start, stay on-topic and end the speech by rounding it all up nicely. For example, if your theme is about love, begin with how that first started with the love from your parents and how it translates into your perspective about caring for those who matter to you such as your close friends and your partner. Then conclude with how love will be the foundation on which you start your own family in the future.
What Should You Include in Your Wedding Speech?
- Loved Ones and Friends You Want to Thank but Keep It Brief
Don’t risk missing out on any important people. Look through your guestlist to see if there’s anyone you should be thanking! However, don’t go on and on about this because you don’t want to lose your guests!
- Family and Bridal Party
If they have played a big part in putting your wedding together, some acknowledgement and appreciation will go a long way!
- Thanking Your Partner
There will be no wedding without your partner. Here’s a good opportunity to thank your partner for the life both of you will be creating together.
Making Your Speech More Entertaining
Other than content, Sharlyn recommends injecting some humour as a great way to loosen up your nerves and keep your guests engaged.
Humour and storytelling are very important, so it won’t be too solemn.Sharlyn
Stories are a great way to not lose your audience and some common ones are stories about how you both met. This is easy for you to share and interesting enough to grab your guests’ attention because no two stories will be the same.
Most guests may not know the love story between the couple and stories about how couples overcome hardships together are also very memorable.Sharlyn
Practical Tips in Delivering Your Speech
Unless you’re a professional public speaker, or an emcee like Sharlyn, a wedding speech is probably one of the rare few times you’re addressing a crowd. Here are some practical tips she has for us!
- Breathing Techniques
To combat anxiety, Sharlyn recommends taking a few deep breaths and calming yourself down. This will give you a better start to your speech.
TWM Tip: We heard a light glass of wine works miracles too!
- Craft Your Speech in Bullet Points
Instead of writing out your speech in full, have bullet points. Writing your speech in full will result in you reading word for word, and you might get nervous if you miss a line. With bullet points, you can narrate and elaborate on your own points, which will feel more natural and “in your own style”.
- Pace Yourself!
Even if you’re running a little behind schedule, do not try to rush through your wedding speech. Pace yourself because you’re the star of the night and no one is rushing you. Plus, you only get this one chance so savour every moment of it!
- Be Yourself!
An easy approach is to remember that you are delivering a speech in front of your families and friends, whom you’ve known for a long time. Be as natural as possible as these are your loved ones and they know how you’re like!
What Are Some Common Mistakes to Avoid?
We asked Sharlyn if there were any common mistakes she has seen couples make and we’re not surprised by the answer –
Getting too nervous at the start.Sharlyn
Some couples may be too nervous at the start, being on stage and facing tables and tables of guests. Always remember, the guests are the closest people to you, and they have been with you probably for a few milestones in your life. Don’t be afraid to let them know you’re nervous and laugh it off! Take a deep breath and slow down! The audience are your friends and family so just deliver your speech like how you talk to them usually. Nothing is truly at stake here!
For those who still think giving a full-on speech is too nerve-racking, TWM is here to your rescue with these alternatives below.
Alternative Forms of Wedding Speeches
If addressing a big crowd isn’t something up your alley, we have other creative alternatives you can consider. The best part is, you can prepare all these way in advance before your wedding so the night before D-Day will be stress-free for you!
- Letter Writing
It is a wedding tradition among Japanese to write letters to their parents and loved ones and read out the letter at the wedding reception. It brings a different dimension of emotions as you are addressing directly to the receiver as if you’re speaking to them only. For those who can’t do humour, this is a heartfelt alternative you can adopt. To make it even more sentimental, accompany your letter reading with a piece of suitable instrumental background music. Not only will you bring tears to the receiver, but you will also tug the heartstrings of the others in the audience. (Psst, this also gives you an excuse to look at your letter as you recite rather than having to look at the crowd the whole time!)
If you’re afraid of stumbling on your words or boring your guests, another form of speech is to get it done via videos. Alanmitchi Cinematography is a great example of how to infuse your wedding speeches to your wedding videos! Speak to your videographer on the best way to get your message across in a visual format. As you “read” your speech through the video, the accompanying visuals will further engage your audience. To the audience, this will feel very much like watching a mini movie with a story unfolding.
- Dedicate a Song
If you’re not good with words, then borrow them from a song! Keep your speech portion short then direct the guests’ attention to a song you’ve picked that best convey your feelings or message. Some examples are songs that express appreciation such as “You Raise Me Up” (there are many wonderful versions), The Perfect Fan by The Backstreet Boys, Mama by Spice Girls or Father (父亲) by Chopsticks Brothers (筷子兄弟)! (Check out our Spotify Playlist for a list).
TWM Tip: The current COVID-19 Phase 3 regulations in Singapore still doesn’t allow live singing at receptions but once live bands are allowed back in weddings, we’d suggest having them sing it “live” for most impact! While the live band is singing, you can flash pictures on the screen as accompaniment too.
We hope this article has given you a good head start to drafting or creating your wedding speech, now get writing or prepping! For those writing, remember to prepare a few hard copies just in case 😊
Feature image – Photo courtesy of Canva Pro