Speak easy – a little Dutch courage when toasting the wedding

The mid-point of the wedding day, the speeches. This is part of the day that many look forward to, although it can be quite nerve racking for three people: the father of the bride, best man and the groom.

As you will imagine, I’ve seen and heard a lot of speeches, some brilliant, some funny, some touching but none that I would call bad speeches. Of all public speaking this has to be the warmest crowd you will ever be faced with, your career doesn’t depend on it and it’s unlikely that you will get heckled. I suppose there’s some pressure on the best man to entertain but it’s unlikely that he’s going to get booed off stage.

Having said that, if you aren’t confident about public speaking you probably will get nervous. This is the middle part of the day, once the ceremony has finished and the wedding party have all made their way to the reception, thoughts turn to the speeches, yikes! Nerves kick in and the appetite drops. The lovely food that has been carefully considered for the wedding breakfast hardly finds its way off the plate on the usual journey to stomach via fork and mouth for fear of what’s going to come off and out of your fork and mouth later.

My tip to anyone in this situation is to avoid looking for Dutch courage, although it might seem like a good idea to settle the jitters, alcohol probably isn’t the answer. I recently heard of a wedding where the best man f’d and jeffed his way through the speech after indulging in one too many glasses of bubbly.

The best advice is to follow tradition and use a traditional format to help you get from start to finish. When I got married good old Pat & Bill Derraugh helped me with the format of the speech in their book, ‘Wedding Etiquette’. Failing that if you’ve got a good set of lungs and can hit the right notes take a leaf out Tom Fletcher’s book. Tom Fletcher, the lead singer from the pop outfit McFly claims that he isn’t comfortable with speaking in public so decided to sing it rather than wing it. However, if you can’t sing you might want to give this some very careful consideration!