Weddings are a time for joy and happy tears, but they can also be a little stressful. Even if you’re not the one standing at the alter taking vows, you’re part of the process, standing by your friend’s side on their special day.

After the wedding ceremony is over and the party has begun, you still have one more role to play — making a speech. If, like a lot of people, you feel uncomfortable speaking in public, here are some tips to help you overcome your wedding speech nerves.

Gather Your Thoughts

Don’t wait until the last minute to plan your speech. Spend some time preparing, thinking about it, recalling fond memories you shared with your friend and your experiences with the happy couple.

Remember to focus the attention on the couple, not yourself. Also err on the side of keeping things simple rather than telling a long, involved, or embarrassing story.

Wedding Speech with Notes

Practice, but Don’t Memorise

Memorising your wedding speech word for word might seem like the best option, but it will only add to your nerves. It doesn’t hurt to write out your speech in its entirety, but give yourself a little leeway with the wording as you practice it. The more you rehearse it, the more natural it will feel.

Once you have it down, swap out your written speech for a few notecards to remind you of key details you can reference without getting stuck reading a script.

Include a Little Humour

You know the happy couple very well, but the other wedding guests may not know you at all. Starting with a little humour will get everyone laughing and help them all feel connected in the moment, and also make you feel more relaxed.

But remember — it’s fine to share a funny story about your friend, but don’t turn the speech into a roast. Also bear in mind that there’s family in the audience, so use discretion when choosing what stories to tell.

Don’t Drink Too Much

As the time for your speech draws near, you may be tempted to grab another glass of champagne. Downing a drink may help you feel a little less nervous, but you may end up rambling instead. The last thing you want to do is embarrass the happy couple, or yourself, so stick to one drink before your speech.

Guests Applauding Wedding Speech

Remember the Reason for the Occasion

When you’re the one on stage, it’s easy to get lost in your own anxiety. What you need to remember, however, is that the focus isn’t really on you — it’s on the happy couple.

You may be the one with the microphone for the next few minutes, but the truth is that most of the people in the audience won’t remember your speech or how you delivered it. No one is there hoping to see you fail.

Call for a Toast

Even if your jokes fall flat and you forget your words, all that really matters is you’re willing to stand up for your friend. Bring your speech to a close with a toast to the happy couple and everything that came before it will be forgotten. A room full of people wishing the happy couple well will eclipse any embarrassment you may feel.

It’s never easy standing in front of a crowd, but if you have a fear of public speaking the thought of making a wedding speech could send you into a panic. Fortunately, these simple tips will help you overcome your nerves to deliver a heartfelt wedding speech that will be memorable for all the right reasons.

Guest post by Kate Barrington

Images from…

Holding Notes: Forget Me Knot Images

Guests: Matt Thompson Photography