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Friday 14th August 2020  GMT

How to Give a Wedding Speech or Toast – Advice for the Best Man

So, you’re landed to give a toast to the bride and groom and prepare a wedding speech for your friend’s special day. That means standing up in front of all those people and actually speaking eloquently, without hesitation, deviation or repetition!. If you haven’t done a lot of public speaking you may not know the tips and tricks the pros use to make themselves look calm, cool, and collected. Here are some ways you can make it look like you give wedding speeches and toasts every day.


First things First - Use the Right Body Language

Using proper gestures and body language is important to giving a wedding speech. Where your hands are and how you present yourself to your audience tells them how confident you are in giving a speech. Avoid wringing your hands or putting them in pockets. Stand up straight and smile as you give your wedding toast – rehearse the speech standing in front of a mirror or better still video your rehearsal and study your posture.

Speak with Conviction

Do remember that you want people to believe what you are saying in your wedding speech, so be sure to speak with conviction and confidence. Your wedding toast or speech should come from the heart, speaking with conviction should be pretty natural.

Make Eye Contact

Some people will may advise you to look over the heads of the group at a point in the back of the room, but most guests will wonder why you are watching the back wall. Much better to use the three-second rule by making eye contact with a number of different guests for three seconds at a time.

Avoid Looking at Your Notes

It is in your best interest to write out your wedding speech and practice your toast beforehand, but a good public speaker is so well rehearsed that notes are used as a last resort. Place a note card in front of you to remind you of the main points of your wedding toast, but avoid reading off the cards as this gives the impressions that you are ill prepared

Use Pauses Strategically

All good comedian knows how effective a pause can be, because it gives “punch” to the punch line and gives your audience time to react. Use a pause during important moments of your wedding speech and give people time to laugh or clap if it is appropriate.

Add Humour
The best ways to decrease your stress while giving your wedding toast is to get people laughing. It will most likely relax you and get the guests prepped for the more meaningful part of your wedding speech. However plan your jokes well in advance, many best men use this as an opportunity to embarrass their best friends, though you do need to know them and their families very well to get away with it.

Know When to Quit

Wedding toasts and speeches are not meant to be long and drawn out. Keep your speech to no more than three to five minutes long. If you feel like the guests are not responding, adjust your speech to make it shorter. Remember, this is your chance to honour the bride and groom on their special day, not to show off your speaking

But do make this a memorable occasion for all – and finally DON’T PANIC

The tradition of carrying one or more items that are "old", "new", "borrowed" and "blue" also comes from English. There is an old English rhyme describing the practice which also mentions a sixpence in the brides shoe. Something old, signifying continuity, could be a piece of lace, jewelry, or a grandmother's handkerchief. Something new, signifying optimism in the future, could be an article of clothing or the wedding rings. Something borrowed, signifying future happiness, could be handkerchief from a happily married relative or friend. Something blue, signifying modesty, fidelity and love, comes from early Jewish history. In early Biblical times, blue not white symbolized purity. Both the bride and groom usually wore a band of blue material around the bottom of their wedding attire, hence the tradition of "something blue". Originally the sixpence was presented to the bride by her future husband as a token of his love. Today, very often, it is the bride's father who places a coin in the brides shoe prior to leaving home for the church.

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