For most people the thought of standing up in front of a crowd and giving a speech is frightening enough. But when it is at a wedding in front of people you know and love, it can be even more nerve wracking and wedding nerves kick in.
There are ways to make it easier to do though, even if you wouldn’t use the word ‘enjoyable’ for it. The first trick is quite simply to be prepared. This means writing your speech down on paper and refining it until you are happy with it. Never make the mistake of thinking you’ll make it up as you go along – it rarely works!
Make sure you can read what you have written as well. This might sound obvious but remember that you won’t be standing there with a piece of paper held up in front of your face. The better you know your speech, the easier you will find it to keep calm, have no wedding nerves and go through it without any problems. If you don’t practice you will be more susceptible to wedding nerves.
Another important and useful point is to make sure you speak slowly. The natural feeling you will have is to rattle off the wedding speech as quickly as possible to get it over with. But the faster you speak the more likely you are to make mistakes – and that will make the wedding nerves multiply.
Instead, speak slowly and breathe calmly to control your wedding nerves. Pause at the end of each sentence to gather your thoughts and make sure you stay calm. If you do this you will find yourself coping more easily with the idea of making a speech in the first place. And the more you practice giving the speech in this way, the easier it will be on the day.
Remember too that you will know everyone at the celebration. If it makes it easier, enlist the help of a friend in the audience who can provide unspoken support. You should of course make eye contact with as many people as you can during your speech. But if you have someone who is supporting you and you are feeling particularly nervous, a quick look in their direction for moral support will do you the world of good. They can also prompt you to slow down if you do start picking up speed! You can even imagine you are speaking just to them if it helps.
Of course some people find public speaking frightening no matter how much they might prepare beforehand and will always suffer from wedding nerves. If you fall into this group and your enjoyment of the big day would be ruined simply by knowing you had to make a speech, don’t do it. And remember it doesn’t have to be a long speech anyway. Something short and sweet that takes the pressure off you would be welcomed by everyone.
After all, everyone wants to celebrate and if you can take the stress out of your wedding speech as much as possible, everyone will have a much better time.