The mere mention of wedding speeches can cause stress not only for the bride and groom trying to decide if they will both speak and who else to invite to share spirited stories, but also the thought of how to keep the mood lively and everyone having an amazing time! It is one those tricky traditions that can really make or break the mood at a wedding reception! Inspired by the thought that your reception should be organically yours we recommend throwing any sort of rules associated with speeches to the wind and going with what you feel comfortable with and what will really show your personalities. Even think of unique ways to get everyone involved in a speech! We asked expert wedding planner Melissa Kuti from Oak & Linden to share with us the basic things to think about when planning your speeches…
“ What I love most about being a wedding planner in 2014 is that you are only limited by your imagination. Traditions are there to be honoured but need not be rigidly adhered to. This is particularly liberating when it comes to speeches. Traditionally, only men did speeches at weddings- the toast by the father of the bride, the groom on behalf of himself and his bride and the best man on behalf of the bridesmaids. I have seen weddings that adhere to this and ones that break the mould. There is no right or wrong way. What I can say is that the most successful speeches I have seen were delivered by people who not only loved the couple dearly but also genuinely enjoyed story telling in front of a crowd. Therefore, don't burden people who aren't confident in public speaking to get up in front of a crowd. It will spoil their night because they wont be able to relax.”
- If you don't want to follow the traditional lineup then a few months before the wedding ask if any guests would like to make a speech or write a note to be included in one. You may be surprised by a friend or family member who would like to speak but didn't feel comfortable asking to be involved without an invitation.
- If too many people want to make a speech, you can always ask them to compose a group one. Group speeches are always fun and a great way to include everyone.
- Another way to involve everyone is to leave a line or two on your RSVP card for people to write a short message to the bride and groom. You can incorporate these messages in the styling throughout the wedding on cute little signs or have a twitter feed that displays them.
- Set a time limit/word count. This is so important! Not only because it will keep us wedding planners happy by adhering to the run sheet, but because even the most entertaining speaker can eventually loose a crowd when they talk for too long.
- It is common for the speeches to commence after the dessert and before the first dance. Again there is no strict rule, they can work really well between the main meal and dessert too. If you don't have a wedding planner then make sure you communicate to the caterers that you don’t want anything to be served or removed during the speeches (not even tea and coffee). I know this sounds silly but it honestly really upsets me when I'm a guest at a wedding and I miss part of the speech because I'm being asked if I would like tea or coffee.
- Make sure the speaker is comfortable getting up in front of everyone. If they aren't bursting with confidence then there are ways to get around this and still allow them to play a part... Have them write a note to be read by another speaker or better yet, have your speakers create a wedding toast film. Ask your videographer to compose a short film that includes your closest friends and family and screen it at the wedding. This is also a great way to include those guests that couldn't make it to the wedding.
- I know it sounds obvious but make sure the microphone is on when you hand it to the speaker...I've seen many people stand up ready to talk and then get rattled by the technology. Palm cards are also great because, unlike paper, you won't see it shaking in your hand, which just makes you more nervous and embarrassed!
Melissa Kuti, Oak & Linden
Links: Oak & Linden