The average wedding in the UK costs upwards of £20K. Venue, food, drink, flowers, invitations, accessories, accommodation, travel- (not to forget the outfits!) What will Pippa Middleton’s cost?
As she prepares for the big day, it’s worth noting that Just about the only ingredients that come free are the speeches. They will, or should be, the icing on the cake of the perfect day.
The speakers will have been chosen. However, there is advice they can be given to help ensure the memorable day is made even more memorable.
Here are six suggestions.
- Stick to their brief. Whichever speech they’re making, they must find out what is expected. Who else is speaking and what will they be saying. How long should they speak? Are there any specifics to include? Anything they shouldn’t mention?
2. Don’t procrastinate. The speeches may be weeks away but it is never too soon to start preparing. They should have been written and checked by now. Leaving proper rehearsal time.
The more they rehearse, the more spontaneous they will be. The more they rehearse the more confident they will be.
3. Find a thread. Rather than a random collection of reminiscences and anecdotes, it will help if they ‘hang’ their speech around a single theme or thread. The speech will flow better and be more memorable.
4. Don’t embarrass. It is always tempting to tell a story that maybe hilarious to a few who are ‘in the know’ but which is meaningless or, much worse, offensive to other guests. This is unlikely in such a high profile event but it is one of the commonest errors.
Don’t wash dirty linen in public!
5. Keep it short. Make sure they stick to the time agreed beforehand. (Generally, two to three minutes for the shorter speeches and seven or so for the longest.) Don’t let them fall into the ‘nervousness’ trap of going on and on. As Dorothy Parker said: “Brevity is the soul of lingerie.”
6. Tell stories, not jokes. Don’t let them feel that jokes are obligatory. The audience will lap up personal stories well told and laugh along with them. They will be on much safer, and easier ground if they let themselves off the hook of being the next ‘great’ stand-up comic.
My book Unaccustomed As I Am… The Wedding Speech Made Easy is in bookshops and on Amazon