Wedding Speeches: Making a Big Impact at Small Weddings
An intimate wedding may mean cutting back on the guestlist and the grazing platters, but one area that doesn’t need to be slimmed down is the speeches. In fact, your wedding speeches have the power to make an even bigger impact; becoming the epi-centre of your day and adding the essential love and laughter to the occasion.
No pressure then. We spoke to the expert wordsmiths at Speechy to find out how you can make the most of your wedding speeches, ensuring maximum laughs from your minimal guests.
1) Forget the Old School Line Up
This year, the wedding rule book has been thrown out the window. At a wedding of 15, there’s no need to stick with the traditional speech line up when there may be a better option to consider.
Think about who would like to give a speech, who would be good at giving a speech and also, who you’d like to hear from on the day. The only recommendation? Make sure there’s at least one woman invited to speak.
2) Go Scandi
A really cool idea is to invite everyone to speak!
‘It may sound like a crazy idea but it’s commonplace in Scandinavia and it’s becoming more popular here’, says Heidi, TopDog at Speechy. ‘It puts less pressure on the groom and the dad, and it makes sure everyone gets to have their say. And at a small wedding, why not let them?’
Simply invite people to propose a toast at any point over the wedding meal. Warn them in advance of the day so they can get their thoughts together. It can simply be a few loving words or perhaps your nan would like to supply some humorous marriage advice; anything goes really.
The only disclaimer is encouraging people to keep their best wishes relatively succinct (warning – this becomes harder to police once wine has been consumed!).
3) Slimmed Down Etiquette
No ‘ladies and gentleman’ unless you’re delivering it ironically. And no faff with wedding mics is required.
Address the fact that the wedding isn’t what you were originally planning but you weren’t going to let a global pandemic stand in the way of getting hitched.
Obviously, tact needs to be shown regarding the enormity of Covid but depending on your audience, you can also have some fun about ‘the things you need to do in order to get a booking for 15 people at a restaurant these days’.
Like a ‘regular’ speech, include humour at the top and sprinkle it throughout.
Wedding size bears no relation to your speech length. If there’s still three speakers on the line up, you’re looking at somewhere between 1,000 and 1,300 words.
4) Give a Joint Speech
A joint speech really adds a special moment to any wedding but, when you’re lacking the usual pomp and ceremony of a bigger do, it’s an especially good idea.
‘A joint Mr & Mrs Speech is your chance to say ‘BOOM, we’re a team’, Heidi says. ‘It not only makes sense in 2020, it’s also a real laugh and the couples we work with always love delivering their speech on the day.’
A joint speech is your chance to make the most of your relationship dynamic and establish your double act routine. It’s also your opportunity to thank all the people you love without anyone speaking on behalf of you. Sure, you could deliver a separate speech to your partner but we promise you, rehearsing won’t be quite as much fun!
5) Get Intimate
‘Normally we advise people to avoid ‘in jokes’ but at a wedding of 15, there’s more chance everyone is in on the ‘in joke’ anyway!’ says Heidi.
This opens up a whole new level of opportunities to have a laugh. While meeting your father in law in his Hogwarts dressing gown one night may have not made the cut in the original big-bash wedding speech, at the small-do this sort of anecdote could work a treat!
‘A small wedding speech gives you the opportunity to invite more interaction and banter with the guests.’ Says Heidi.
And as well as more intimate humour, the sentimental side of your speech can be turned up a notch too.
‘Covid has meant people feel a lot more comfortable being profound and talking about the important things in life like love.’ Says Heidi. ‘And seeing as the rugby lads are no longer on the guestlist, you really can be as soppy as you like.’
6) Time the Talking
‘Whatever you do, don’t clump all the speeches together’ says Heidi. ‘Space them out, so you have one between each course, making sure everyone can laugh about each speech before the next one starts’.
Put simply, you want to make the most of these speeches – so eek them out!
7) Stand and Deliver
At a small wedding, your delivery can be much more casual but it’s still good etiquette to stand up to deliver so everyone can see and hear you properly.
Obviously, rehearse your speech as often as you can in advance but remember it’s fine to use notes on the day.
Hopefully, you’ll feel less nervous delivering to only your nearest and dearests but this intimate setting also requires more personal eye-contact. Smile from the start of your speech till the end of it and you’ll find you naturally relax more. A smile is also scientifically proven to be infectious.
Finally, make sure you enjoy it! Your speech actually has the potential to become one of you and your partner’s favourite wedding moments.
Speechy are a team of TV scriptwriters on a mission to make wedding speeches better for everyone involved. They hate clichés, old fashioned etiquette and googled gags. They love helping couples around the world deliver their dream speech and add an awesome moment to their wedding day. Check out their Guides for Brides listing to find out more about their exceptional writing pedigree.
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