Broadcaster and former speechwriter Seamus O’Regan, who has twice hosted the Scotiabank Giller Prize ceremony, knows a thing or two about delivering effective speeches. He offers these tips for making the most of your newly married moment in the spotlight.
“My first rule is [to speak for] five minutes max,” O’Regan says. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be less work. “Brevity requires editing and editing takes time.” Translation: “Make those five minutes count.”
Show, don’t tell
You can tell the crowd that your partner is “kind, generous and smart,” O’Regan says, but you can’t rely on platitudes. Instead, cite “specific examples” that illustrate what your amour means to you. It’s those personal details that “really bring it home.”
Keep it loose
“Leave a little room for improv,” O’Regan advises. Referring to what some of the other speakers have said before you shows the crowd that “you’re in the moment.” But do it at the beginning of your toast, “so it doesn’t interrupt what you’ve practised.”
“End with an emotional wallop,” O’Regan insists, even if the thought of doing so makes you uncomfortable. “It’s going to be a bit discombobulating, but wear your heart on your sleeve.”
After all, simple, strongly felt words are often enough to bring the house down.
This is part of a six-part series on getting married in style. Next week, we look at planning the perfect honeymoon. Click here for earlier instalments on planning the perfect proposal, planning a top-notch bachelor party, finding that top-notch wedding wardrobe and writing your own vows.