Say it with love! By keep­ing a few key points top of mind, you’ll en­sure the words you share are a high point of the party.

New Zealand Weddings Planner - - Editor’s Letter -

Speeches are one part of the wed­ding a bride can’t plan to per­fec­tion. Who knows how ner­vous your groom will be or what the best man might come up with? A good speech can re­ally en­liven a cel­e­bra­tion, help­ing peo­ple to re­lax and en­cour­ag­ing strangers to in­ter­act. On the other hand, a bad one can be any­thing from just plain dull to toe- curlingly em­bar­rass­ing, so it’s cru­cial that the speeches at your event are well de­liv­ered.

At the re­cep­tion, speeches usu­ally be­gin with and are di­rected by a mas­ter of cer­e­monies, who wel­comes the guests and in­tro­duces the bridal party. Af­ter the MC, the par­ents of the bride and groom give their speeches. Third in line are the new­ly­weds, fol­lowed by the maid of hon­our and best man.

Once the of­fi­cial speeches are over, you may want to in­vite guests to speak – but keep in mind that while their sen­ti­ments may cre­ate warm fuzzies, their speeches won’t be re­hearsed, and it may show.

When it comes to pub­lic speak­ing, there are a few key points to re­mem­ber. First, ask your­self why you’re speak­ing, as this will give ideas on what to say. Write your speech down, but don’t re­cite it ver­ba­tim as it can sound forced. In­stead, be­come fa­mil­iar with the speech as a whole and try writ­ing key phrases on cards to re­fer to. The only parts of your speech that you should mem­o­rise are the in­tro and the end­ing – it’s im­por­tant to know ex­actly how you want to be­gin and how you want to close.

Tim­ing is also im­por­tant. A few min­utes is long enough for most speeches, and cer­tainly the toasts.

If you fear that your nerves may get the bet­ter of you, vi­su­al­i­sa­tion can help: pic­ture your­self speak­ing clearly, lov­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence and see­ing peo­ple laugh­ing and en­joy­ing what you have to say. Tak­ing a Toast­mas­ters course in the months lead­ing up to “I do” will help you brush up your pub­lic speak­ing skills and boost your con­fi­dence in this re­gard.

Thank­ing and honour­ing your friends and fam­ily is im­por­tant – keep it short, sweet and sin­cere for best ef­fect.

Be cre­ative when shar­ing defin­ing mo­ments of your re­la­tion­ship with your guests, but don’t try to be some­thing you’re not – it may be best to leave the po­etry or gim­micky dances to the pros, un­less you’re sure you can re­ally nail it. The most im­por­tant thing of all is to have fun. If you speak from the heart, your guests will en­joy ev­ery word. W

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