Planning your wedding? A wedding speech writer explains how to ask someone to give a speech at your wedding, how long they should speak, and where you should have them stand to guarantee the best wedding speeches at your wedding reception.
The Best Way To Ask Someone To Give A Speech At Your Wedding
Watch time: 4 minutes
You're getting married and you want great speeches at the reception. You want it to be a high point and not something that everyone just has to endure. And we've all sat through those.
Here are a few things that you can do as the couple getting married to really set your speakers up for success.
The first thing you can do is make someone feel like they've been asked to give a speech and that they have a chance to give you an answer on whether or not they're going to give a speech. Just change your language just a tiny bit. Say something like, "Are you okay giving a speech?"
And if you want to be really nice add, "You don't have to let me know right now." They all know the answer that you want. Just give them a second to get their head around it.
Nine times out of 10, they will decide to do it. But they're going to be doing it because they want to do it and because they feel confident that they can do it and not because they feel like they're going to be a huge disappointment to you if they don't.
Because it's really hard to get up and be funny and be honest and authentic when you feel like the stakes are ridiculously high.
The next thing you can do is give them a rough time frame. You would be amazed at the number of people who come to me and the first question I ask is, "Did they tell you how long they want you to speak?"
So it's usually either they haven't suggested a time and someone just has no idea what to expect or they're just frantically Googling, and again, they find me who will tell them three to five minutes.
Or, some couples lean towards the type A. I'm sure that's not you. And they say "All the speeches have to be three minutes. Three minutes. It has to be three minutes."
Well look, I know that three minutes means three-ish minutes and you probably know that too. But when it's someone you love speaking at your wedding, they want to do exactly what you want. They're going to take you probably very literally because they say to me, "It has to be three minutes! It can't -- how many words are just three minutes. They said three minutes." And I always have to explain -- yes, they want it to be three minutes, but they're telling you three minutes because they don't want it to be nine minutes.
But if it's 3:30 or if it's 2:45, they're still going to know you love them. So just give people a rough idea. What I always recommend is three to five minutes, because that's about people's attention span.
Another way you can set your speakers up for success is to really be intentional about where are they going to deliver that speech. And this is a conversation to have with your wedding planner and your photographer. I'm talking about this not just as a wedding speech writer, but as a performer. If you want to set them up for success, you want everyone in the room to be able to see their face.
For comedy, you need to see someone's face because they'll sort of they'll take a beat, they'll look, they'll do something.
And also for emotion. If it's your dad up there and he's talking about you, his daughter, you want to see his face. You don't want it to be radio. And you would be amazed at how many weddings put someone level with the tables. Or in a corner of the room that's not particularly well lit. And it does them a real disservice because the audience, if they can't clearly see this person's face, it makes it a lot harder for the speaker to keep their attention, even if they're great.
I mean, think about any theater or stand up. There's an actual spotlight on people. There's no question where in the room people should be looking. Really talk to your wedding planner and your photographer about where the most people in the room can see your speaker's face.
Another thing you can do is make sure on the day of your wedding, you or your wedding planner, someone is communicating with your speakers to let them know when they're speaking. Is it after the appetizer? Is it when everyone comes in from the cocktail hour? Don't make them sit there and wonder if every pause or every time the music goes down. Is this it? Is when it's happening? Is that it?
Let them know when in the evening it's going to be and where in the order they are. And speaking of the order, save the best for last. And often, the best for last is the couple getting married. So if you're going to speak at your own wedding, watch the next video, where I've got a bunch of tips on how to make your speech absolutely perfect.