Getting in front a crowd is scary enough—but getting up in front a crowd to deliver a speech? My anxiety level went from zero to 60 just thinking about it. That will be my reality come October when I give a speech for my sister at her wedding.
I've decided that the best way to combat my anxiety is being confident in a killer speech—a speech that will make them cry and laugh all in one fell swoop. Here's what I've learned about how to write a great wedding speech.
Don't Google it. There are whole lists of "don't"s out there, but this is the only one I'll impart in this how-to. See the next bullet point for why.
Be original. In other words, be yourself. Recycling generic sentiments only eliminates your voice and is, ultimately, really boring. In the end, you're gonna do you, and everyone will appreciate that.
Be personal. I recently helped a friend with a speech she was preparing for her own sister's wedding. She had written some vague niceties about her sister, and while it was very sweet I suggested she include some personal stories. It's an age-old writing technique: Show, don't tell.
Be funny. You don't have to be a stand-up comedian, but you should insert some humor into your speech. It's a party, after all! My other sister and I have been brainstorming. One thing we decided on is the last line; the bride-to-be and I are twins, and the opportunity to make a joke about switching places is too good to pass up. (At which point, I'll drop the mic.)
Know your audience. Forget about using some quote about love and marriage that means nothing to the bride and groom. My sister watches a lot of Investigation Discovery, and we're toying with the idea of working that into our speech somehow (i.e., tips for living with the bride as told by the titles of Investigation Discovery shows...or something like that). Get creative with it!
Practice. Read your speech out loud to someone—you'll find your rhythm and recognize the words that twist your tongue. Better to work the kinks out before you're in the spotlight.
Morgan Halaska is the assistant editor of Minnesota Meetings + Events magazine.