Planning 101 21st August 2015

How to Start and End Your Speech

Public speaking in general can be extremely nerve wracking and the importance of a wedding speech intensifies that feeling. The idea of standing up as the centre of attention, speaking to a room full of people, most of whom you do not know, can cause sweaty palms, a rapidly beating heart, and worst of all, a blank mind. When you’ve been given the honour of speaking at a wedding reception the last thing you want to do is to freeze up or embarrass the bride and groom whom you represent.

The two most important parts of your speech are the beginning and the end, when the audience is most captivated. Getting the introduction to your speech right and having the introduction memorised will not only help with your nerves, but it will invite all who are listening in, and keep them engaged throughout the entire time you speak. Memorising the ending of your speech will drive home the fact that what you’re saying you actually mean, and will enhance the sentiment of the day. Nothing is less romantic or heartfelt than a person standing in a room full of happy celebratory people and looking down at a note card reading word for word what they prepared weeks ago.

How to Start

When you first begin to write your speech save the introduction and the ending for last. Write down whatever stories you want to share and the sentiment you want to express first, as this will be the easiest part and won’t require much thinking since you are speaking from memories of your life in times shared with your friend. Once you have the body of your speech then begin to concentrate on the beginning or the end.

In general wedding speeches open with a thank you to be bride and groom for inviting you and for having you speak and thank you to the wedding guests for attending. Your introduction should be no more then two or three sentences so the best way to memorize them is to write them the same way that you speak naturally. The ending of your speech will offer advice or best wishes to the new couple, reiterate your thanks for being invited and involved, and may include a toast. Again, the ending should be no more than three sentences, which will make it easy for you to memorise.

Keeping your nerves calm during your speech will help you to remember your speech. It will also help people keep up with your words, instead of watching you sweat, fiddle, or pace with anxiety. When you can confidently stand before the wedding guests and wedding party at the beginning and end of your speech, without reading from a piece of paper, you will be more relaxed and natural in your speaking. Remember to take short, intentional pauses when speaking, even when saying the parts of your speech you don’t have memorised. The more in control you feel, the more at ease your nerves will be.