In my capacity as Toastmaster it falls upon me to introduce the speakers when the time comes for the wedding speeches to be made. There are usually three speeches given by the father of the bride, the groom and finally the best man, in that order. As a matter of course I always ask each of them how they would like to be introduced and how long their speech will be.
Most people take considerable time preparing and planning their speeches and come with a set of notes in one form or another.Every now and again someone turns up with no notes. This doesn’t happen very often but it does happpen. I remember one gentleman, father of the bride, who told me he hadn’t bothered to write anything down but he had a rough idea of what he wanted to say. He didn’t strike me as being someone who was used to public speaking. He came across as just an ordinary chap. Now I’ve known people who have done a lot of preparation get in a muddle occasionally and so alarm bells started ringing in my head. I needn’t have worried. The speech when it came was excellent. I think the gentleman in question was one of those rare people who never get flustered by anything. They just take everything in their stride and difficulties wash over them like waves crashing over a rock. He just stood up and spoke from the heart, thanking the guests, talking about his daughter and new son in law, offering some words of advice and including a few little funny stories. His apparently unprepared speech was sincere, emotional in places and also interesting and entertaining.
As Master of Ceremonies one needs to be prepared to deal with any unexpected situations that may arise. This includes stepping in for one of the speakers should they be unable to deliver their speech for whatever reason. This is very unlikely to happen but it is always a possibility.
I was Toast mastering one day at a wedding in the Midlands when I met another father of the bride who boldly declared that he hadn’t written a speech. Once again alarm bells rang in my head. He assured me that he would be ok. He knew what he was going to say and didn’t need any notes. The wedding breakfast was excellent and when everyone had finished their deserts I asked the bride and groom if they would like a comfort break before the speeches. We decided to have a fifteen minute break to enable the guests to pop out for a bit of fresh air, have a smoke, go to the loo, bar etc etc. At this moment the brides mother called me over. The father of the bride had suddenly got cold feet and his mind had blanked. Could you write something out for him she asked!
I love a challenge and this required some very fast footwork. No problem says I. I whipped out to reception to see if I could lay my hands on some notepaper. I then shot back to my table and started writing. I am convinced this was the fastest wedding speech ever written. I had just under ten minutes to compose my master piece. OK, I admit it wasn’t perfect but I got all the main points in and made sure it was written in block capitals and nicely spaced out with the key points underlined.
I had just finished as the last of the guests returned and took their places. I handed over my hastily written notes and we were under way with my man on first. Fortunately he had regained his composure by this time and his original thoughts had started coming back to him. He was therefore able to add his own sentiments to my notes and give what turned out to be a very nice speech which was well received by the wedding guests. I was mightily relieved, being happy for him and pleased that I had been able to help.
I remember it was a lovely sunny day and quite warm in the function room. I certainly had perspiration on my brow that day!
I’d like to hear any funny stories you may have about wedding speeches. Post your anecdotes below. Thanks, Ron
- Wedding Speeches (bayareabrideguide.com)
- How Planning a Wedding Makes You a Better Wedding Guest (weddingbee.com)