Whoever you are, giving a wedding speech will be a breeze with these top tips
1. Plan in advance
The wedding day may well be six months off but that's not to say writing your speech can wait until the night before. Whether you're one of the happy couple, the best man or the father-of-the-bride, get prepared in advance.
2. Practice makes perfect
Try out your speech in front of a mirror or, even better, an impartial audience. Ask for feedback (from the audience, not the mirror, obviously) and time yourself. You don't want to over-run but equally you don't want to fall short, either.
3. Consider using props
Whether it be a souvenir from the stag do, a photo montage or, er, a goat (yes, this has actually happened), props make everything that little bit more exciting and dynamic. Have them prepared and make sure you remember them on the day - a speech reliant on props will fall apart if you leave them at home...
4. Make notes. Make sure you can read the notes
Make a copy of the speech and keep it in your pocket - don't be cocky and assume you'll learn it word-for-word off by heart. When it comes to actually giving the speech, decide if you want to keep it in your pocket or take it out and read from it. Make a decision and stick to it. If you forget your words, freestyle.
5. Look up some quotes you can use...
Think timeless, think romantic. We love this from Anne Bradstreet and also this from e.e. cummings. You don't need to read out the whole thing - just pick out a couple of key lines and speak them with as much Shakespearean passion as you can master. Oh, and jokes are good too. The more obscure the better - that way you can pass them off as your own. #ThePerfect Crime
6. Tailor your content for your audience
Consider who you'll be talking too. That cute story about how the happy couple met? Perfect! That raucous tale from the second night of the stag do? Probably one to be missed. Avoid anything that will offend or upset.
7. On the day, you'll be too happy to feel nervous
Well, assuming you're the bride or groom, that is. If you're the best man or father of the bride, you'll be too busy to feel nervous but will still have the jitters. Have a stiff drink fifteen minutes beforehand and focus on your breathing.
8. Be prepared to project that voice...
Unless you can find a microphone - or even better, a headset (oh, the power!). Make sure you speak at a regular speed and pro-noun-ci-ate every word clearly.
9. Do not be put off by cries of 'louder!' from the back. Also, do not make eye contact. With anyone
If you're asked to speak up, clear your throat and start again. Don't let this put you off. However, do not make direct, lingering eye contact with anyone. This will totally throw you and you'll be thrown off-balance wondering why the unwitting audience member is staring at you with such confusion. Cringe.
10. Own that stage!
Okay, so technically it's not your day (unless you're the bride or groom, in which case it is very much your day...) but that's not to say you can't shine on stage. Don't go too Black Swan about it but do aim for a happy audience - aim for laughter, aim for tears. Settle for nothing less than a standing ovation and cries of encore at the end. You were perfect.