My Winning Wedding Speech Piece in the Saturday Times!

Esther wedding speech.jpeg

You may have seen on Linkedin that my ‘How to Give a Winning Wedding Speech’ tips were published in the Saturday times.  Look, right by Pierce Brosnan and the ‘How to Make a Mean Martini’ tips. 

Love this.

Bad wedding speeches.

Enough to make you shiver and cringe. We’ve all heard a terrible one or gave one!   You know, wedding speeches can be excruciating, and we all know when they’re good, bad or seriously ugly.

It doesn’t have to be like that.

One of the most common questions I get asked is,

“Aarhhhh, any tips on my wedding speech?”

Depending on how close the wedding is, people are usually at different levels of anxiety. 

It’s either ‘Oh I haven’t written it yet but I have a few weeks” 


“Arrrhhhh, what if my mind goes blank? I hate public speaking, I was roped into it, HELP!”

Luckily, whatever stage you’re at I have a tip for everything.  The main thing is not to worry (yes easier said than done). 

But seriously, you WILL be ok if you put into place all the things you need on the day.  It doesn’t have to take loads of time either.  If you consider all the ‘what ifs’ you’ll be fine. You can have a safety net, scripts, idiot boards, warm-ups, a speaking coach and breathing techniques in your plan if you want. 

The main thing is to enjoy it and give the crowd a good time. Remember they don’t care about you, they are about you giving them a good time!

Here’s the Sat Times tips article in full….

Do not drink beforehand – Dutch courage will NOT help.  If you slur even a tiny bit, your audience won’t like it.  Also, you WILL be nervous and when you are anxious you literally run out of saliva!  If you drink alcohol you won’t have any saliva in your mouth and ‘dry-rubber-band-mouth’ is not good.

Do drink LOADS of water, this will lubricate your vocal apparatus! Avoid caffeine as this will cause your heart rate to skyrocket.  When your heart rate goes up, this is more likely to send your brain into panic mode (fight or flight).  If you start shaking, going red or experiencing high levels of anxiety, DON’T panic, this is normal.  Breathe slowly (blow out first) in through the nose, out through the mouth.  If you breathe slowly for 45 seconds you can completely rid your body of cortisol (the stress hormone) phew, it will be ok!

The second biggest mistake people make is to think they have to ‘start with a joke’.   

Do start with a joke if it’s appropriate for the audience, it’s got to be AAH – audience appropriate humour.  If your joke is going to offend the mother-in-law – DON’T risk it.

Your job as the speaker is to make the audience laugh and cry (for the right reasons).

If there isn’t an obvious joke to start with – begin by making the audience smile about what you’ve all just witnessed; the beautiful couple Mr & Mrs xxxxx or “the newlyweds”.  That’s a real crowd pleaser.  Start with the here and now; the amazing surroundings, the music, the quirky outfits – something you’ve all witnessed together that day.

DO name drop, try and mention as many people in the audience as you can, this makes them feel special. Aim to tell around 3 stories, preferably ones you can remember WITHOUT a script.  If you can ditch the script this makes your engagement factor 100 x stronger.

If you need notes put them on the table in front of you and avoid holding the paper – it WILL quiver and shake because your body will be pumping full of adrenaline.

Speak SLOWLY, pause (like Barack Obama) for much longer than you think is physically possible!  The more nervous you are the faster you will speak.  

Oh yes, and smile smile, smile, eyes and teeth!  This helps you look, sound and feel more relaxed and confident.  

The audience ARE on your side. They want you to do well. They WILL laugh along with you if you are generous to them. Finally leave them wanting more – 12 minutes is long enough.  Less is more. Make the stories punchy and funny and you’ll have massive impact.

If you want me to run a masterclass in public speaking for your team awayday, get in touch for a free a chat. Or if you can afford a one to one for your wedding speech, it’s not too late! Drop me an email.

patrick Volavka