Wednesday, June 9, 2010

DreamGroup’s Wedding Wednesday: Tip of the Week

Writing your Speech...

You've just declared your love for each other in front of all of your favourite people (and then some...) - and now it's time to show them some love, too. The bride's and groom's thank you speeches are the ultimate opportunity to let your guests know how much you honor, cherish and thank them for sharing your wedding day with you. So what are you going to say, and how are you going to say it? Here are some helpful tips to make this just a bit easier...

Get an Opening Act:

Letting your family or attendants open up the speeches is a great idea because it gives you a minute to compose yourselves, and you won't have to deal with waiting for everyone to get settled. Traditionally, the best man serves as the toastmaster, and if the maid of honor chooses to toast, she comes next. After that, the two of you are on. Today many parents choose to toast after the bride and groom, especially if they're hosting the party.

Start with a Bang:

All eyes will be on you as the bride and groom, but you'll still need to try to engage your audience. Try kicking things off with something borrowed...using part of a song, poem, or even a bit of the history of toasting as your intro will get the marbles out of your mouth and loosen up your tongue while your guests are still quieting down. Anthologies or Familiar Quotations, or slightly less conventional sources like popular songs, familiar rhymes,or tried-and-true tales (how you met or the proposal story) are all great resources to get started.

The Do-Not-Say List:

Don't get carried away-while you should speak slowly and clearly...and try not to speak for more than two or three minutes. Less is fine, but more will be excessive (even if it is your day, no one's expecting a command performance!). In the same vein, keep it simple. The story you choose should be general enough for every listener to understand. Try to leave out any inside jokes: you're thanking all your guests, so you need to include everyone. Last but not least, try not to have too much to drink before you give your speech (or all evening if you one likes a sloppy bride or groom!) and avoid any four letter words or stories that will embarrass anyone in a mean spirited way.

Get On With It:

While your toast should feel spontaneous and genuine, you obviously aren't going to suddenly start plucking those fancy quotes out of thin air. It's going to take some rehearsal to appear unrehearsed. Anything that seems overly performed or words you don't normally use will sound stiff-and might cause you to stumble. On top of that, when the mic gets passed to you, you can't (or at least shouldn't) whip out a stack of 3x5s note cards - you'll need to remember what you're going to say. So just make sure that once you've sorted out your speech, you practice, practice, practice!

I'd Like to Thank...

Keep your general outline in mind: anecdote - thanks - meaningful quote, and stick to it. This is no time for sloppy improvisation. keep the thank-yous broad: Mom, Dad, family, brand-new family, friends. And end on a high note...make sure you've memorized the last thing you'll say, so that you can raise your voice and end with a punch. No one will know to raise their glasses if you just trail off. Lastly, take the time to look around the room and make eye contact with the key players. Letting the impact of your words sink in and having everyone share it creates a great moment.

Just remember to always speak from the heart and thank those who have helped you along the way...everything else is just icing on the cake! Good Luck!

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