On April 2nd, I gave a speech at my eldest daughter’s wedding. In writing the speech I determined that there are four tasks a speech like this must perform. I thought I’d share those here in case you find yourself in the same situation – or a similar one.
Humor. The speech must bring a measure of laughter. One should avoid standup comedy, embarrassing either the bride or groom, or self-deprecation. The material here should in fact not be hilarious, but rather come naturally of the delight of the events surrounding the wedding.
Affection. The speech must be a bit sweet. This should not be avoided. There is an opportunity here to show the heart-felt emotion you have for the bride and/or groom. Love is in the air. Don’t ignore it.
Inclusiveness. The speech must pull in everyone in the room. Even a simple reference to the guests, a “we’re all in this together” sort of comment is perfect. At a wedding, the married couples in the room already feel a certain affinity for the new couple and are reflecting on their own nuptials. Why not bring this out in the speech?
Blessing. The speech must include a word of forward-looking hope for the new couple, a wish for the years to come. The speech is a rare opportunity, if for no other reason than to deliver a word of blessing. How often do you get to do that?
A final thought – these are not stand-alone elements, especially the first three. They are perhaps best when woven together. Let the power of the moment carry you. Mazel tov!