Speak Up Part 2: Speech Writing Tips

A few weeks ago I wrote about overcoming fears of public speaking and how to be best prepared for standing up in front of a crowd at a wedding. Today I’m going to talk about the speech itself and some tips for how to get started, what to include and, more importantly, what NOT to include!

best man speech how to write a great wedding speech

The people most likely to give speeches at a wedding will be the best man, the groom, the fathers of the bride and groom (or groom and groom, or bride and bride) and sometimes the bride or maid of honour will also say a few words. If the family structure is a little different, or parents are no longer with us, the couple will usually nominate someone special from their family or a close friend to make a speech on their behalf.

I’m going to focus on the best man’s speech, as it is often the most memorable – sometimes for all the wrong reasons! It is really important to actually write down your speech, or keep a note of any ideas you have in advance of the big day. Trying to give an impromptu speech off the cuff is really difficult unless you are an absolute pro and can think quickly on your feet. Here are my top tips for writing the speech:

  • Start a couple of weeks before the wedding so that you have plenty of time to re-write and practice.
  • Print out an extra copy and give it to someone you trust or even the wedding co-ordinator, just in case yours gets mislaid during all the excitement.
  • If you don’t know many of the people attending the wedding, introduce yourself briefly and tell them a little about how you know the wedding couple.
  • Take some time to thank the rest of the bridal party, the family and make reference to the ceremony that has just taken place.
  • Talk about the couple – how well suited they are, any fond memories you have of them together. It may be a nice time to give a funny story about how they met or their engagement.
  • When you are speaking about the groom, try to keep it clean. You are speaking to a wide variety of guests and while some may find the stories about the stag party hilarious, others may find it completely inappropriate. My preference is to steer away from references to exes, as the couple won’t want to hear them on their big day.
  • Funny stories from childhood or school are a good place to look for inspiration – they will be the most likely to suit all audiences.
  • The speech should be warm and personal. If you’re not known for being a joker, don’t try too hard to be one as it will sound stiff and unnatural. There are lots of videos emerging online of extremely creative best man speeches, but don’t feel pressured to do the same unless you really have a lot of time on your hands and a really unique idea.
  • Finally, bear in mind that this will be most likely recorded, and kept forever! Think about your own wedding; if it’s something you wouldn’t want someone else to say about you, then leave it out!

Wedding speech writing guide how to write a great wedding toast

What tips do you have for speech-writing? Any horror stories from your own wedding? Share in the comments!

Gorgeous Wedding Accessories On A Budget

When you’re making out your wedding budget, you list the usual suspects – venue, photographer, flowers, dress, suits, etc etc. However, many brides forget to include the accessories in their budget and can end up spending a lot more than they planned on things like shoes, underwear, hair accessories, jewellery and bags. I’ve rounded up some of the prettiest accessories from the high-street and other budget friendly online outlets to give you some inspiration without breaking the bank! Everything listed here is under €50 and is currently available through their online sources (Feb 2015).

Hair Accessories

 

 

Jewellery

 

Other Accessories

 

Love in Loughrea – Weddings at Loughrea Hotel & Spa

I moved to Galway from Kerry a couple of years ago. Why? For love, of course! My partner is from very near the Clare/Galway border and we always said we wanted to settle down close to his parents. So when it came to choosing a place to live, Loughrea made a lot of sense – it’s close to the motorway, only 30 minutes from Galway city and is in a stunning setting by the lake. I was thrilled to meet with the great management and staff of the Loughrea Hotel last year and form a great partnership with them, being named one of their preferred suppliers for wedding planning and stationery as well as regularly participating in their wedding events as an exhibitor and guest speaker.

The hotel has undergone an incredible makeover in the last few months, and is now a super-stylish location for a wedding. The location is ideal with a catchment area of Galway, Clare, Roscommon and Westmeath, and the hotel itself has an amazing spa which I love treating myself to every so often. They added in a fantastic feature last summer – a rooftop garden! When the weather is good, it’s like sitting on a rooftop in the Mediterranean, sipping cocktails with soft music and a light breeze rustling through the leaves, and very thoughtful blankets to keep you warm when the sun goes down. This was a great addition for those planning a civil or humanist ceremony for their wedding, providing the amazing backdrop of Loughrea lake for you and your guests.

Loughrea Hotel & Spa rooftop garden wedding

The ballroom, the De Dannan suite, also underwent a makeover last year, and is now the perfect setting for your wedding reception with opulent purple, cream and gold accents and glittering chandeliers. It has a full bar and huge dance floor, and is also really versatile if you want to add extra decor items. Before you and your guests enter the ballroom, you will be met by the Piano Lounge which is ideal for your cocktail reception. Again, it has a bar facility, has access to the outdoor terrace and best of all – it’s private. Many hotels hold the drinks reception in the lobby – not ideal when there are non-wedding guests milling in and out.

Loughrea Hotel & Spa wedding de dannan suite ballroom

Loughrea Hotel & Spa wedding de dannan suite ballroom

The hotel has launched brand new wedding packages starting from only €44.00 per person – that’s all inclusive, which means you’ll get a sumptuous five course meal, wine, drinks reception with piano entertainment, decor, bridal suite and two free rooms and finger food for the afters! Being a regular visitor to the bar in the Loughrea Hotel, I can say with all certainty that the food is excellent (make sure you try the chicken wings!). They’ll also look after the little ones, with special kids menus and a room just off the Piano Lounge that can be used for kids’ entertainment or movies while you relax and enjoy your meal.

Loughrea Hotel & Spa wedding piano lounge cocktail reception

You can contact the Loughrea Hotel & Spa now on 091 880080 or visit http://www.loughreahotelandspa.com – you can also check out their wedding packages here!

How to have a Fairytale Wedding

Most little girls dream of becoming a princess, and having the perfect fairytale wedding when they grow up. Disney movies such as Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella and Snow White have given us incredible inspiration, from the backdrops of stunning castles and forests, to sparkling shoes and twinkling tulle gowns. There has now been a replenishment of these gorgeous fairy tales in a more grown up form with the release of live action movies such as Snow White and the Hunstman, Enchanted, Into the Woods and the upcoming release of Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. I’ve gathered some beautiful fairytale wedding inspiration from around the web, and I’m hoping to do a fairytale themed wedding photoshoot really soon!

Check out the sources for these gorgeous fairytale images and more inspiration via our Pinterest board!

Be My Valentine – Loved Up Wedding Inspiration

With Valentine’s Day less than two weeks away, I’ve gathered some gorgeous wedding ideas that really celebrate love.

For more inspiration, check out our Pinterest board!

Speak Up – how to overcome wedding speech fears

Best Man wedding speech tips

For some, making a speech is second nature, a piece of cake. For others, the thought of standing up in front of a crowd and saying more than a few words is a living nightmare, causing them to break out in a cold sweat and come up with any excuse to get out of that situation. For those people, they can usually manoeuvre through life avoiding these situations – affecting career choices and participation in group activities. But when it comes to weddings, it’s not as easy to say no. If you’re part of the wedding party, i.e. the groom, bride, best man, bridesmaid or father of the bride or groom, you will inevitably be expected to make a speech at the top table (albeit, outside of the USA many brides and bridesmaids choose to leave the speaking to the men, but we won’t get into that right now!).

Many things can cause anxiety over public speaking. It could be a speech impediment, a social anxiety disorder, a strong accent, or perhaps you had a bad experience when you were young where someone laughed at you or you forgot what you were going to say – the smallest thing could lead to a fear of public speaking. I spoke to one person who suffers from a very mild stammer, although they hide it very well from years of training. This particular person is due to make a speech at a wedding shortly, and it has caused enormous anxiety.

“When I first heard I had to make a speech, I tried to get out of it. I would be telling a story and then hit a block, and because everyone would be looking at me, I wouldn’t be able to get around it like I would when in a one-to-one situation. Not many people know about my stammer so the thought of it coming out in a situation where I would be in front of 200 people is terrifying.”

While you may not suffer from crippling anxiety over making a speech, you may still be nervous before the big event – a perfectly normal feeling for any of us to have. Here are some tips on how to prepare for making your speech and getting through it safe and sound:

1. Prepare
If you are hand writing your speech, I would recommend leaving yourself enough time to type it out too. When you type it, put it in a large enough type so that it will be easy to see on the day. Put in extra space or a paragraph jump where you intend to leave a pause or where you think you’ll need to take a breath. Also leave room after any jokes you have made to give time for people to laugh – often when you are nervous people can tend to rattle off their speech as if they were saying the alphabet! Print a copy and practice reading it aloud to yourself, and mark any words or phrases that you are experiencing difficulty with. This will give you a chance to change the word or phrase without leaving you in a tongue twister.

2. Practice
Practice reading the speech aloud in front of someone who you trust not to laugh, but also someone who will offer constructive criticism that could help you overcome problem areas. Don’t just practice speaking, but also practice looking around the room, making eye contact and showing emotion through your voice – if you’re telling a funny story, make sure it sounds like you are enjoying yourself!

3. Slow Down
This is especially important for people suffering from nerves or for those who have a strong accent. There’s no point in going to all the trouble of writing a speech and delivering it to all those people if you are going to speak far too fast for anyone to understand it. This is where practicing in front of someone will come in handy – they can tell you if you’re going too fast. It will give you a chance to breathe too.

4. Plant someone in the audience to keep you calm
This may be your practice buddy or a close friend or family member – someone to give you a reassuring smile or a thumbs up to let you know you’re doing fine, or a signal to tell you to slow down. It can be reassuring to know someone out there is on your side, especially when many tables could be taking bets on how long your speech will last or how many times you say ‘thank you’ – very distracting!

5. Stay Still
Unless you’re a very dramatic person with great experience in public speaking, you won’t be comfortable with making a lot of gestures or moving around during the speech. If you do this just for the sake of it it can look unnatural and may end up leaving you out of breath or throwing you off the rhythm of your speech. Your best bet is to stay still, shoulders back and head up to make sure your voice elevates.

Finally, ask the venue manager at the reception to give you a couple of minutes to practice with the microphone before dinner, so that are used to holding it, know how close you need to be and what angle to hold it at.

I hope you find these tips helpful; stay tuned for our guide to writing a wedding speech, coming soon!

Marsala Magic – how to make the colour of the year work for your wedding

Each year, the colour experts Pantone choose their colour of the year, along with a palette of other trend predictions. This year, marsala has been given the honours. A rich, berry tone, it is a gorgeous choice, and works really well with a wide variety of other shades. It is however a traditionally wintery tone, and on first look you may wonder how this could possibly work for a spring/summer wedding.

The trick is in how you use it – choose quality over quantity! Remember, your colour choice should not overpower your wedding style, but rather enhance it. It could be as simple as a floral accent, cocktail or piece of jewellery. Combine with other colours to create the perfect palette. For a whimsical spring wedding, combine with aquamarine and a soft cream. For a glamorous summer look, pair it with a pale sparkling gold. If you were a fan of primrose yellow and grey last year, pair marsala with glacier grey this year for a grown-up take on the colour combination.
Marsala colour combinations for wedding

Here’s some of my favourite marsala inspiration from around the web:

Check out our Pinterest board for more!