Best men, fathers of the bride and the odd groom often ask what unexpected issues they might encounter during their wedding speech. Here are a few to be aware of:
An Unexpected Introduction
Just as you’re summoning up the courage to deliver your perfectly prepared speech, the Master of Ceremonies introduces you in less than flattering terms. Worse still, the audience are giggling away at his joke. Unless you have a truly witty response up your sleeve, the safe and mature way of acknowledging this dig is to thank him for his ‘kind’ introduction and then move on to your pre-prepared speech. An ad-lib comeback could be tremendous if it works, but if you’re not sure, don’t try!
The Speaker Before You Steals Your Material
Okay, he or she might not intentionally pilfer your ideas, but you may find they make many of the points you’d included in your speech. If you don’t have the confidence to rethink your speech at the last minute, your best bet is to start by thanking them for ensuring that you won’t need to speak for as long as you’d planned. But remember, the best way to avoid this issue entirely is to chat to the other speakers before the wedding.
The Microphone Doesn’t Work
Don’t panic; this can actually work in your favour. It’s an excuse for you to create a Blitz spirit! If people can’t hear you, ask them to stand up and move closer to the front. Speak even more slowly (and obviously much louder) than if you had a microphone. As with any technical issue of this sort, your audience will feel sorry for you and should be even more supportive of your speech.
There’s a Heckler
Whilst it’s unlikely, it’s possible someone might have one drink too many and decide it’s funny to interrupt your speech. Remember, this is their problem, not yours. The rest of your audience will want to hear what you have to say, and they’ll be most irritated by the interruption. Bearing this in mind, pause, try to smile politely, thank them for their ‘helpful’ feedback and then continue. If you are worried about a heckler, read my article ‘Worried About a Heckler During Your Wedding Speech?‘
There’s Silence When Your Speech Finishes
You’re probably expecting a round of applause, and may be shocked to be met by complete silence. It’s nothing you’ve done wrong. It’s simply that you’ve just asked the audience to stand up and make a toast with a glass in their hand. This makes clapping a bit tricky, so expect them to need a moment or two before they sit down again and cheer you to the rafters!
You simply can’t prepare for every eventuality. If the lights go out, something smashes, or you forget something important, just stay calm and remember to have a sense of perspective. The guests are there because two people are getting married, not just to hear you speak.
I wish you the very best of luck on the big day.
Guest post by Lawrence Bernstein of Great Speech Writing
Image from Fiona Kelly Photography