Wedding speeches are regarded by some people as the most nerve-racking part of the day, but this need not be the case. There is nothing unusual about feeling nervous but there are several techniques that the most experienced public speakers use to ensure that their audience don't notice the stress. There are even guides available to help you out!
The most important thing when making a wedding speech is to ensure you have ample time to rehearse. Outline the keynotes of your speech, the important things you want to say and perhaps write it out, word for word, initially. This gives you a chance to construct the content of your speech and when you are happy that you have included everything you wish to say, you can then start to practice it. As you go over it, you will find your own way of talking around your keypoints, and will start to memorise it more easily. If you get into the flow of words and thoughts set out in your speech, it will be very easy to remember everything on the day. The best thing to do, even if you are confident that you know it 'off by heart', is to have a piece of card with keypoints / reminders written or typed in clear, big text, so that you can refer to them if you lose concentration on the day.
There are certain areas that each speaker is expected to cover in their speech, it is good to include some humour if possible, but no matter how interesting you may think you are, nobody wants to listen to a speech that goes on for too long! Don't however, forget to use pauses, it allows time for your speech to sink in and for you to gather your thoughts. Always pause for laughs - there is nothing worse than somebody continuing to talk right through a room full of people laughing - leave time for people to laugh at something humorous you've said.
Another important technique is making eye contact with both the guests and with the Bride and Groom. Confident speakers always look at several different points in their audience – even if you look in the general direction of different tables, people will assume you are looking at them. Anyway, when you do this, it is very likely that you will see friendly faces which will give you reassurance!
The great thing about a wedding is that it is one of the few occasions in life that you can publicly tell someone how much you love and care about them. The room is already oozing with love, happiness and good will, and it is very easy to tune into that. This gives you a unique opportunity to tell your son / daughter / husband / wife how proud and happy you are for them.
Like any other public speaking event it is very important to be yourself when making a wedding speech. Your family, friends and guests know you as you are, so it is not a good idea to try out your new 'posh' voice, or some really long words you have found in a dictionary! Don't be too hard on yourself – if you make a mistake say the word or phrase again and carry on. And ... most importantly ... smile!
The wedding speech need not be the most dreaded part of the wedding ceremony. You'll find lots of help on the Internet with bride and groom speeches, bestman speeches, father of the bride speeches, mother of the bride speeches and even maid of honour speeches.