When the ceremony is over, the champagne has been poured and the wedding cake has been cut, its time for the moment everyone either loves or dreads – the wedding speech.
While some people may be adept at telling a few humorous tales and toasting the bride and groom on their special day, there’s always the occasional father of the bride or best man who’s had a bit too much to drink and takes the childhood stories a couple of steps overboard.
So how can you ensure the speeches go to plan without the embarrassing quips and cringe-worthy jokes you’d rather forget all about when you jet off on your honeymoon the next day?
According to Jeremy Lee, founder of JLA, the thing to remember is that the guests are at the wedding to celebrate the union of the bride and groom so it is them they want to hear about.
Writing for the Daily Mail, he says that any public appearance is much better if you “avoid clichés like the plague”. They often go down badly and if your friends and relatives don’t look as it they’re enjoying themselves, you’ll quickly begin to panic.
If worst comes to worst, you can always read from a script of have a few notes in front of you.
“It may not be the most scintillating performance, but at least you’ll say the right thing,” Mr Lee said. “Screen your material so that you don’t offend anyone and check your material for duration.”
Another important thing to remember is to engage with your audience. Smile at them! Remember they’re at the reception to have a good time as well and if you feel your breathing becoming fast and shallow because you’re nervous take a few deep breaths and try not to drink too much champagne to calm yourself!
Of course, you can easily leave it up to the groom to say a few words. Even in these modern times when women are no longer secondary to men and we’re perfectly capable of speaking in public if the situation calls for it, it is traditional to let the males do the talking.
However, with the wedding speech comes a lot of pressure and if you do decide you want to address your guests, you will have to live up to whatever your father or your new husband’s best man has just said.
Speaking to the same publication, 29-year-old Gemma, who tied the knot last year, confessed that she only made things more stressful for herself by getting up in front of her friends and relatives.
“The other problem was that my dad had just given an emotional speech and I was in tears. It took me ages to get it together, by which time people thought the speeches were over and I was really aware that mine was dragging things out,’ she explained.
Still can’t quite make up your mind about whether to take the plunge? You could always follow the advice of newlywed Esther Walker and stand up with your new husband to say a few words. That way you can thank your guests without the pressure of a full on speech!