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The mention of wedding speeches can send some people running for the hills but with a few helpful tips it can be a really lovely experience. Someone very close to you has asked you to speak about them and their partner on their wedding day and that is a very special honour that not everyone gets the change to do.

Before you stand up to deliver wedding speech, think of a something that makes you smile.

It’s better to have a big smile on your face instead of a look of dread. Before you start to speak try to forget about what lies ahead and just focus on the moment at hand.Keep the in-jokes to a minimum and keep them short. Remember you are being asked to say a few words on your friend or child’s wedding day, you are not doing a spot at the Cat laughs festival!
Don’t drink too many for Dutch courage. You may need a small one to steady the nerves but avoid getting drunk before you give your speech; slurred speech is not a good thing for the wedding video. It is also a good idea to eat before you give the speech this will stop your tummy from rumbling and calm the butterflies!

As our mother’s say, “speak slowly and clearly”, make eye contact with people in different areas of the room. Keep in mind you are speaking to all the guests not just those in the table in front of you. You will be surprised how this helps to relax you when you see the friendly smiling faces looking up at you.

The wedding guests are rooting for you. They want to see you succeed and are only waiting to hear kind words for the happy couple from you. You are talking to family and friends not standing up in a lecture hall talking to a bunch of strangers!

Prepare and practice.

You will find it much less daunting if you prepare your speech in advance. I don’t mean that you have to have every single word written out but have some bullet points of things you want to say, people you want to thank and stories you want to tell. Have some notes written out for the day. Once you start and get into your stride you will start ad-libbing a little bit anyway. Once you have your notes done practice in front of the mirror or your partner and get some honest feedback. It’s also a good idea to visualise everyone clapping and laughing (at the right times!)

Be sincere and remember a wedding speech should be about both families.

Breath! Sounds simple but when we get nervous we tend to hold our breath, so a simple solution to make yourself relax is take deep breaths into your belly just before you stand up to give your speech. Practice this at home too, visualise yourself at the wedding, sitting down and being calm as you take deep breaths and relax.
Think about how you will feel after your speech. Don’t worry about feeling nervous or anxious beforehand just about how good you will feel once you’ve sat down knowing you have contributed a memorable part to the wedding day.

Allow yourself to be soppy. People think that speeches have to be funny, but some of the most memorable speeches are those that contain true, sincere words that come from the heart. Wedding speeches are the perfect time to get soppy and really express your feelings whether you are the father of the bride or the best man.

**Read the blog post here: http://blog.weddingdates.ie/wedding-speeches/