You are going to participate in a symbolic wedding ceremony by giving a speech. Or, at least, you agreed to. And, perhaps, like so many before you, you don’t feel quite comfortable speaking in public. Worse still, what on earth are you going to say? You might even be doubting your own sanity for having agreed to it in the first place. But given how you feel about the spouses-to-be, whether you are a friend, the best man or a family member, you couldn’t picture yourself saying no. And, to be perfectly honest with yourself, you want to give that memorable speech during their wedding ceremony. Because you love them very deeply and you’d want nothing more than to express that very fact to them. So, how can you write a speech that won’t be forgotten? As a coach and officiant of symbolic wedding ceremonies, I often guide participants through that crucial process.
Here are some tips:
Talk About the Happy Couple
You might be closer to the bride or the groom and, as such, you might be inclined to talk more about her/him. That’s okay, you can perfectly start your wedding ceremony speech like this. But as it is a ceremony to join two people, you will need to talk about the couple at some point. It can be by giving out advice, best wishes or by sharing how your loved one has evolved since he or she is with his or her beloved.
Make the Spouses Happy
You know them well, so trust yourself! If you were given this place of honor in the ceremony, it means that you matter a great deal to them. You are the best person to know what could move them and make them smile. Think about what they’d like to hear… and don’t put yourself under too much pressure! Everyone in a secular ceremony is here to have a good time and it is quite human to get emotional. No one is here to judge you, and you can even shed a tear 😉
Do Not Write an Overly Complicated Speech
First, you might lose the audience, and, most of all, it won’t sound natural when you read it out loud. My constant advice is to write short and simple sentences. Because this text will be read out loud during the ceremony. It should feel like someone is talking rather than reading from a novel. The key is being genuine !
Speak to the Couple
When you are writing, as well as reading your written production out loud, never forget that you are talking to the newly weds and not to the wedding party! It may sound obvious now, but on the big day, the stress might make you forget this important point. It’s best to build your speech from that.
A Few Anecdotes, Yes, But…
You are in a place of honor to include some humor in your speech, and everyone will appreciate you for it. However, be careful not to add too many “private jokes” that might be lost on the audience. After a while, they might just tune out. Why not keep a more personal speech for diner? Even if the tone of the ceremony is friendly, it is still solemn.
Be Prepared For Your Wedding Ceremony Speech
I strongly advise against improvisation. Of course, a little spontaneity can be good, and you do not have to read word by word. However, I always print out the participants’ speech to ensure that they have it on D day. It is possible to sound very spontaneous when reading a pre-written speech, and you know how emotions can make you lose your cool. It’s always best to have a copy at hand. The best course of action it to practice reading your speech out loud, to fully master the content and the tone that you want to give off. And to be more comfortable on the day of the ceremony.
I hope that these advices will help you with the process of writing your speech. Simply start by writing down your ideas on paper, as they come. Anything that comes to your mind when you’re thinking of the spouses-to-be. Then you need to think of the structure you’re going to use. And finally, you can put all of that into organized and full sentences. You’ll see, once the foundation is laid out, it’s not that complicated.
I will soon share other advice to master the fine art of reading your speech out loud. In the meantime, I hope you will have some fun writing it!