Will you give a speech?

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Whether it involves toasts, roasts or just a general welcome, everyone knows a wedding reception means speeches. Traditionally, the best man, maid of honor, and the father of the bride are expected to speak, but what about the mother of the bride? What about the parents of the groom? It’s becoming increasingly common to break with tradition and for any combination of parents or grandparents to give a speech. Here are some tips for establishing what’s expected, and if you are going to give a speech, to help you prepare:

Have the conversation

Talk to the bride and groom and find out what they have in mind for speeches. Maybe they have very specific thoughts on who should speak and what they should say, or maybe they haven’t given it much thought yet and you could help to spark a conversation. While it might be a little awkward to bring up, it’s definitely better than being put on the spot.

Don’t wing it

Some people might be totally fine to make up a speech on the spot, but for most people, a little (or a lot of) planning is needed. The wedding day is going to be full of emotions and excitement, which means it will be far too easy to become flustered or draw a blank. At the very least, jot down some bullet points on an index card or something small you can sneak a peek at.

Keep it short

The chances are that your speech is going to be one of several. Save the gushing for later. Your guests will appreciate the brevity.

Be modest

For the same reasons the mother of the bride’s dress should be modest in comparison to the bride’s, so too should the speech. Keep the air light and joyful. Speeches are like subway platforms; it’s better to be three steps behind the line than one step over.

Work a joke in

A wedding reception crowd is as easy and ready to laugh as they come. If you can, make the audience laugh early on – it will help to ease any potential nerves.

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