Preparing to say a few words at your daughter's big day? Author Ian Barclay shares his tips for delivering the perfect FOTB speech...
#1 Don't delay
Get working on your speech months before the wedding.
#2 Know what you want to cover
Typically this will cover:
- A welcome to guests
- Anecdotes about your daughter and son-in-law
- A message of good will
- A toast to the happy couple
#3 Don't rush it!
Do a little bit at a time. When out and about, write down any meaningful phrases or funny stories that come to you and add them to your script later.
#4 Remember the three 'B's: bright, breezy and brief
Consider yourself the warm-up act. 6 – 8 minutes is ideal.
#5 Be creative
If your son-in-law is, say, a keen poker player, you might string a few puns together: ‘He realised they were a top pair and went all in to win his queen of hearts!’ You get the idea.
#6 Convert your script into to a 'speech plan' of stages and key points
Divide a single page vertically into two with a line about one-third in from the left, then divide it horizontally into six. This will allow you to enter the 6 Stages (as in No.2 above) down the left and their corresponding Key Points (15 – 20 in total) across. Use an Arial font, size 14 (easily read at a glance) and print out on white card.
#7 Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!
This will include standing in front of a mirror!
On the big day...
#8 Create a make-shift 'lectern' on the table
This will enable your words to jump up at you. So much better than holding cards with trembling hands.
#9 Take a deep breath and relax - you're going to be great!
After all, you’ve worked on this for months, haven’t you?
#10 Carefully follow each stage in turn
A quick glance at a Stage / Key Point will be all you need to keep you right. Pause for dramatic effect, as rehearsed.
#11 Feed off the laughter
Guests will be keen to laugh at anything remotely funny.
#12 Enjoy your big moment
Smile along with everyone. Your speech will fly past quicker than you expected.
#13 Finish strongly
As you propose the toast to the happy couple, remember to smile at them.
#14 Sit down and relax!
It’s all over. Soak up the applause. Feel proud. Your daughter certainly will!
Ian Barclay is the author of Words From The Heart, a book that provides, amongst other things, original poetry and vows for marriage ceremonies.