Planning 101 1st August 2014

Body Control: Delivering a Wedding Speech

When you have the pleasure of speaking before your guests, what you say, how you present yourself, and what you don’t say are all components of your wedding speech. Although your audience are listening to your words, what you don’t say, what body movements you use, and even the physical stance you take can add to or detract from your wedding speech. The best way to make sure everything you do and say adds to your speech is to be aware of your body.

We have all had a conversation or meeting with someone who may be saying one thing out of their mouths, but whose body language and movements say otherwise. Have you ever had to have a difficult conversation and found yourself fidgeting, your arms crossed, or your eye contact absent? Or, have you found yourself focusing on what someone was doing with their hands more than you focused on the words they were speaking? Those physical movements, body language, and even rate of speech all convey a message of anxiousness, a lack of confidence, and fear. When you are speaking to your guests, it is essential to be body conscious.

Practice Practice Practice

Once you have written a wedding speech you are happy with, not only should you practice reading the speech for the sake of familiarization and memorization, but practice it for awareness sake.

Prior to the wedding day, be sure to have stood, facing a mirror reciting your speech. Study your facial expressions, note your rate of speech, and be aware of how many times you look up from your paper. No one has come to watch the top of your head, no matter how good your hair looks that day. If you are able to, record yourself giving your entire speech. Are there certain parts of your speech you struggled with? Are there points where you sped up your speech and other parts where you left a lengthy pause? All the feedback you can give yourself will be helpful for the wedding day.

Once you are pleased with your speech and how you look giving it, ask a trusted friend to be your audience and ask them to note your physical appearance throughout, and offer any feedback or advice.

Engage with your audience

When speaking, you are the person in control of the room. Before you begin to speak, take a few moments to be aware of your breath, thoughts, and physical stance. Begin when you are ready, they will wait; take a deep breath, make eye contact with people around the room, smile, and speak slowly. While speaking, because you have most of your speech memorized, you will be able to speak and reserve part of your brain for body awareness. Are you fidgeting? Have you looked down for longer than two sentences? Do your guests seem to be connecting with you? Whatever the answers are to those questions, make the adjustments, remain aware of your body, but don’t focus on it, and deliver a memorable wedding speech.