By Molly-Ann Leikin, Executive Wedding Speechwriter
You’re getting married! He finally popped the question, “will you sign the pre-nup here and here?”
Since the lawyers filed that document, Vera Wang has been gowning. Jimmy Chew, shoeing. Mothers are kvelling. Daddies are liquidating portfolios – and that’s just for the cake.
Florists, forests, caterers, musicians, beauticians, photographers, videographers, calligraphers, rabbi’s and security guys have come together, forming an industry bigger and more powerful than The US Marine Corps, whose only mission is to make your wedding day perfect.
Now you have to write a speech for your wedding that is worthy of your moment.
I suppose you could find some $77.00 schlock site where you could download the same rhetoric 166,000 other folks have used this week alone. But aren’t you more special than that? Don’t you and your fiancé have a relationship fingerprint that is unique? Don’t you love one another like no other couple ever has? Surely you don’t want your wedding speeches, your wedding toasts and your vows, clogged up with clichés? Wouldn’t you rather be honest, have everything sparkle, saying what could only come from your heart to his?
I know your answer is yes.
But hey, you say, “I’m an IT person, not any kind of speechwriter. I just can’t write a speech or toast for my wedding” Or, “I’m a CFO. No classes on speeches at The Wharton School. I need help writing my speech for my wedding”. And “I have two gold medals for wrestling (OK – one was from the Olympics, the other from the Barney’s ten minute ramekin sale). I can fight. But I can’t write. Especially about love. Love and above. That’s all I know, dude.”
No worries. I can take the intimidation away. Immediately. I can help you write your wedding speech, and wedding toast.
There are many different kinds of speeches and toasts to be given before and during a wedding. They range from the proposal, to the bridal shower to “Attention: there’s a chartreuse pick-up with the lights on…” Follow them with toasts to the bride, groom, by and to the father of the bride, mother of the bride, stepfather of the groom, foster mother of the groom’s moil. Let’s not forget wedding speeches for the maid of honor, best man, siblings of the happy couple, their Facebook friends, Drs. Phil and Drew, family pets, both real and imaginary, and finally, the nannies, some of whom might have to teleconference from caves in Curacao.
It might feel overwhelming to you, but speechwriting for weddings and writing wedding toasts is easy for me.
Even with all the procrastination, the warm-up is part of my writing process. And yours.
Preparing to write speeches for weddings plus wedding toasts, I go shopping for shoes, take a number of long walks, devour Candy Corn, lock my phones in the trunk, and line up all my ritual stuff. That includes a glass of water, an ice bag for my neck, a second chair on which I rest my right foot, and then hang Post-its saying, “I can do it I can do it I can do it” all around my monitor. Next, I roll my shoulders backwards and forwards, stretch my jaw six times, and finally type something dumb, like “the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog”. Then I have something on paper, which I might change to “The quick brown fox skidded to a halt when the hunky, albeit, lazy, dog walked by and the fox knew this was the one…”
See, at that point, I’m actually on point, playing with the words, instead of clobbering every syllable that isn’t brilliant in what I call “my early garbage draft”.
From there, I make lists of what I want to say in my wedding speeches and toasts for weddings.
Like a grocery list. Instead of “linguini, zucchini, scaloppini and gum”, I might write “I love your big feet, your big hugs and small AMEX balance…” Moving forward, I make another list of all the reasons I’m honored to be someone’s life partner, then tell a story or two about our courtship, and look out – I’ve already got a very good start on my remarks. My wedding speech is almost written. See? Easy.
To show you the importance of choosing every word carefully, I was contacted several years ago by The Norman. (not his real name). He had already asked a lady to marry him, twice, and got “no thanks” both times. So he asked me to write a marriage proposal for him that would change the response.
I did. She said yes. The young woman never knew Norman was so romantic, passionate and completely committed to her happiness. (I even told my client to return the ring his lady had been turning down, and get a bigger one, in a more turquoise box tied with a pretty white ribbon.)
He and Julie have been married twenty-one years and six days.
Here are five simple tips to writing a wedding speech or wedding toast, whether the ceremony is at City Hall or in the City of Light.
* Start early. Don’t wait until the flowers and the florist flop over before you commit quality time to what you want to say.
* Practice. This will put you, your fiancé and your guests at ease.
* Be brief. This is about love, not a debate on healthcare.
* Say what you feel, not what other people have already said.
* Be a little funny, a little teary, and finish on a positive note, making everybody cheer.
Should you need some help writing your wedding speech or wedding toast, I’m right here with my basket of beautiful words that we’ll choose together for your one-of-a-kind, one-in-a-lifetime wedding.Go back to Home