I don’t envy wedding planners! They have the toughest of jobs making that special day even more special. Everything comes under their influence! They don’t make the cake but they make sure it’s the best possible.
They don’t make the wedding speeches but could they do more to make them the best possible? Here are some practical suggestions.
Thorough briefing of all your wedding speakers Your speakers will normally have been chosen because they are family members or close friends. Not necessarily for their speaking ability. And among them, even experienced speakers will be relatively ‘unaccustomed’ to speaking at a wedding. This is where the briefing counts. It gives you, the planner, the reassurance that the speakers know what is expected of them. It gives the speaker answers to essential questions that they need to write their best speech,
The questions wedding speakers should ask. Which speech – who is the subject? How long should the speech be ( Get agreement!). What is the ‘pecking’ order of speaking? Who is to be thanked, for what? Are there any specific things to cover? Are there any no no’s that must not be mentioned? What is the make-up of the guest audience – numbers, ages, groupings, relationships, languages, nationalities, other? Where do speeches fit into the timetable (speaking to late evening festivity is different to morning alertness!) Is there a ‘theme’ for the day to be reflected in the speech?
Offer draft discussion opportunity. Some speakers will welcome this. An informed second opinion is reassuring before finalising a speech and a date in the diary is a useful ‘copy date’ to keep speech preparation on track. Reassuring to you too
Some will resist any opportunity. This might reflect confidence and competence from your speaker. But often it’s the reaction of the last-minute merchants. Having agreed to speak, possibly overcoming nervousness to say yes, they are putting off actually doing anything. You cant insist of course, but these are the speakers who need, and will benefit, from your intervention.
Speech Delivery and performance support. However much preparation goes into a speech it is the way it is delivered that will make it a success. As the wedding planner you can help in two important ways. Firstly make sure the speaker can check out the venue well speaking. Can they be seen, can they be heard, does the sound system work, are they well positioned to talk without being crowded, are they too distant, do they have water/champagne to hand?
Second and most essential (but most will resist) suggest, persuade them to rehearse. Several rehearsals, to a ‘director’ (it might be you?) to see how they come across. Clearly, loud enough, looking up, pausing . Tell your speakers the more they rehearse the more spontaneous they will be, the more they, and the guests will enjoy it, the more confident they will be.
So will you.