A great wedding speech is gold for a wedding videographer. It's one of the best tools foo making an emotional wedding film and all of the best wedding videographers will agree. Here are some tips to give your speech givers to help better their chances of a toast that will win the day.
1. The Introduction
I've seen hundreds of wedding speeches in my career and maybe it's just because I've seen so many that I'm wildly opposed this one singular opening line:
"For those of you who don't know me...."
It's awful. Ban it from your wedding and never use it if you yourself ever have to give a speech. It's a sure-fire way to get everyone to tune out immediately. It's also a cop-out. If someone doesn't know you they'll probably figure it out during the course of your speech. It's also likely that the DJ or bandleader just introduced you so it's really unnecessary for you to repeat your own introduction. Just don't do it.
2. Be genuine
This may seem obvious but once someone is handed the honor of giving a speech the wheels upstairs start turning and most people place very high expectations on themselves to deliver what amounts to a TEDTalk. This self imposed pressure can cause you to manufacture a script that comes off as forced or fake. Yes, a good speech is all in the delivery but writing in words that aren't your own will be apparently disingenuous. You certainly don't have to wing-it and try to speak off-the-cuff but you also don't want to recite a script that is not "you." So, take the time to try and write conversationally and use note cards rather than a page or two of exact written words. Some of the best speeches I've ever heard were impromptu, unscripted and from the heart. They were also short and sweet which leads us to our next tip.
3. Gauge the time.
A good speech is a short speech. If you've spoken in public before you will quickly learn that 5 minutes can be an indelible eternity when standing in front of a room full of people with all eyes focused on every word you say. Typically, a good length for a speech is 3-4 minutes tops. Wedding receptions tend to be 4 hours long and the hosts didn't spend tens of thousands of dollar to hear you speak for 1/16th of that time, so keep it quick and make life easier on yourself. A good way to approach a speech of this length is to think of each minute as a sub-topic. The first minute can be about how beautiful the couple looks, thanking and congratulating the hosts for the event and how amazing the wedding is. The second minute can be about the bride. The third minute about the groom and the final minute about their future together. Thinking of the speech in fragments can make it easier to handle and delivery in a thoughtful manner, genuinely.
4. Funny is hard.
Unless you are a comedian(e) or just a naturally funny person (most people aren't) don't go for the laugh. Comedy writing is hard. Comedic delivery is even harder and it takes a great sense of timing. it's also one of those traits that can't really be learned. Either you are funny, or you are not. Just look at anytime an unfunny person is given a "funny" line to deliver. Think Hollywood award shows. I've seen so many Best Men and Maid/Matrons of Honor go down in flames during their toasts because they tried to be hilarious and ended up looking foolish. It also made for an awkward situation for the bride and groom. Most wedding videographers will tell you that sweet and heartfelt beats out funny 99% of the time. Now, there are occasions where a naturally funny person slays the room but that's the exception and usually not the rule. It's a good bet to stick to just being you.
5. Be careful with stories
Telling a story about a Bride or Groom is a coin-flip. It can either be endearing or embarrassing. The thing with most stories is that they tend to be similar experiences to which most people have experienced themselves therefore they are uninteresting straight out of the chute. Stories that are unique usually stand out especially when it relates to how the couple ultimately met. Many stories also tend to be far too long. Keep shared experiences short and simple and for goodness-sake never mention old flames, bachelor/bachelorette parties, encounters with police or anything else that may be embarrassing to well, anyone. Keep in mind that you're likely not in a room full of only friends of the couple but older relatives and even work colleagues. So, mind what you say!
6. Avoid having a blue face
Technology is great. All wedding cinematographers are gear-heads and we love gadgets but using a phone or an iPad during your speech is a terrible idea. The light from the iPad is going to shine up into your face and give you a ghoulish appearance. Imagine taking a flashlight and shining it up into your face to cast spooky shadows. That's what happens. Also, our cameras may be set to capture the warm light in the room so when the "blue" light from the screen hits your face you will look like a Smurf. Opt for good old-fashioned paper for a classy, timeless and more appropriate look.
After years of filming weddings these are the tips we would give anyone giving a speech at a wedding reception. If you find yourself needing help with penning your speech there's a great service out there called www.bestmanspeechwriter.com that will help you to write a successful speech that is true to your unique personality.
Here are some of our favorite speeches for inspiration: