In the run up to the big day, plenty of people will joke with you about how you’re dealing with your ‘wedding speech nerves’ but, for a lot of people, it’s no laughing matter. It also doesn’t make much difference whether you regularly speak in public or you avoid it like the plague, as even those well-versed in the art of speaking can be daunted by standing up in front of all their closest family and friends. So, if the thought of your big moment is giving you sleepless nights, we have a few top tips to help you stay calm and overcome those wedding speech nerves with style, grace and flair…
10 pieces of advice to banish wedding speech nerves
Practice, practice, practice
It’s boring but practice really does make perfect and it will make you feel more confident if the words just roll off your tongue.
Use cue cards
Put key phrases on cue cards. Some speakers like to write their words out verbatim but this may lead to you hiding behind your paper and never looking up. Cue cards will remind you of the main points while encouraging you to speak more naturally. Also, if you have shaky hands, paper can flap around a bit, while cue cards should stay steadier.
If you know you have a few cheeky friends who might heckle during your speech, have a couple of witty comebacks ready. If they continue, simply say, ‘thank you for that’ and move on with your speech, so you don’t lose any momentum.
Check out the mic
If a microphone is available, it’s a good idea to use it. You won’t get many laughs if no one can hear you. Also, at the beginning of the wedding reception, speak to whoever looks after it and get them to briefly show you how to adjust the stand and how to switch it on, so you’re ready to go.
Have a glass or two of Dutch courage… but not too many. The last thing you want to do is attempt to deliver a speech while drunk. As wedding experts Debrett’s point out, the speeches should come after the wedding breakfast, so you will have to resist the free-flowing wine.
Relax your posture
Make a good impression when you stand up by allowing your arms to hang naturally and keeping your body straight. An easy and relaxed stance will make you feel better and look more confident.
Take deep breaths
Make sure you take a few deep breaths before standing up and focus on breathing properly throughout the speech. It will make your delivery better, ensuring you speak slowly and clearly, while also helping to calm you down.
Say it loud and proud
Project your voice so you sound confident, even if you’re not feeling it. A bit like the ‘fake it until you make it’ mantra. Rehearse doing this at home in front of a good friend.
Water before wine
Have a glass of water on standby for small sips, in case your mouth goes dry. You will need a glass of fizz on hand for the toast though, but save sipping the stronger stuff for the bar afterwards.
Breathe and smile
Try and smile as you give your speech. It’s easy to look stern-faced when you’re nervous. Also, if looking out at the whole room is too much, try to focus mainly on the table closest to you, so you feel less overwhelmed by the numbers of people.
Finally, don’t forget that someone else in the bridal party probably feels a lot more nervous than you do right now, so give the other speech-givers your undivided attention and a rapturous applause.
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