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The mere sound of the word ‘speech’ conjures up emotions of terror in most people’s minds, but, it’s something that we all have to deal with at some stage or another.
And being given the honour of Best Man or Maid of Honour may also mean that you will need to make a wedding speech for the Bride or Groom. A rather daunting prospect. Now, i’ve witnessed so many ‘Best Men’ overcome with nerves on their way up to the podium that only a drink will suffice, but, this can easily go very, very wrong.
I remember when for one of the weddings I organised, I stood behind the bride’s brother with his whisky in my hand waiting for him to take center stage. Let’s just say that there were many embarrassing moments and he was completely sloshed by the end of his speech. His sister, the bride and her new husband were mortified and couldn’t wait for him to take his seat.
The best advice I can offer you is to you come prepared. Rehearse your speech over and over again, and in front of others so you can get some feedback beforehand. A strong drink will not, and I repeat not, compensate for an ill-prepared or nervous speaker.
Here are a few tips on writing a great speech:
- Firstly, keep it short and to the point. Your audience is there to have a good time and will become bored with long-winded stories
- Always introduce yourself with a personal anecdote; that will immediately capture the audience’s attention and create a warmer environment
- Recall any funny stories you share with the bride or groom or even better, the couple. This will take up time and ease your nerves, especially if you can get the guests to laugh a little
- Treat your speech like a short story, with a beginning, , middle and end. It should flow and feel comfortable for the teller and the listeners
- Finally, propose a toast to the new couple wishing them luck and love on their journey together
Don’t get yourself worked up; this speech should last around 5 minutes max, 5 minutes you will NEVER, EVER get back!
It’s shopping time! Although this time it isn’t for you… Here is a little bit of advice on buying the perfect wedding gift.
There is an abundance of photo frames, wine glasses and gift cards for you to choose from, but even though these things are practical, they aren’t very personal and almost take the fun out of unwrapping your presents.
Firstly, check if the couple has a gift registry set up. No, it does not make it more spontaneous if you go for a metallic crock pot when you know that the bride and groom eat out every night. They have put a list together for a reason. These are the things they need or want badly, and either can’t afford to get them or just feel like a bit of a splurge.
If there isn’t a gift registry to choose from, then you will have to give some thought as to the interests of the couple. Ask yourself what activities the couple takes part in together, with the key word being together. Also consider if the couple has been living together. If they have, then they obviously have kitchen appliances etc, but always good to check or ask around.
If you aren’t very close to either the bride or groom and are at a loss of ideas, then perhaps get in touch with people who know them well. Get onto Facebook and do a bit of snooping, you never know what clues you may find. Another really great idea would be a basket of wine, fruit and cheese. This is the ideal gift for the couple you don’t really know much about, know none of their close friends and haven’t befriended them on Facebook, which leads to the question as to why you’re going to the wedding in the first place…
Are you being bombarded with ‘specials’ and ‘discounted rates if you pay now?’, well, you must first investigate what you are being offered with this allowance.
I’m not suggesting that you should be a sceptic and question the venue hire at a really affordable rate to be a catch, but a very common way to build this discounted rate back up to the full price, is to then charge for every little item such as serviettes and cutlery and crockery. These things are often included in the venue hire.
Consider the following before handing over your $$$
- How many people can the venue hold?
- Is there sufficient parking available and is it safe?
- What time must the music be turned down i.e. is it in a residential area?
- Does it fit with your theme?
- Is there a Bridal Suite available should you wish to stay the night?
- Is there accommodation for any guests coming from afar in the area?
- And of course, is it within your budget?
Another point to consider is whether you would like to have the ceremony at the same place as the reception. It would make your guests’ lives a lot easier yes, but again, its your day and you make the call. Do try to ensure that both spots are in close-ish proximity to one another however, this will prevent any time delays and a lot of stress. Remember, this is all about having a relaxing and wonderful day, free of any unnecessary mishaps which could have been easily avoided.
Up, down, half up, mostly down… what to do?
Let me begin by posing the following question; ” how do you wear your hair on a fancy night out?” Yes, this is a slightly bigger occasion than a dinner party at an expensive restaurant, but, like I’ve mentioned previously, your hair along with your dress, decor and menu should reflect who you are and most importantly, you should feel completely comfortable and at ease with your look.
You should consider using the same approach when selecting a hairdresser as you would when selecting your make-up artist (see previous post).
An obvious or not so obvious choice as it most likely is, would be to ask your current hairdresser to perform the important task. This makes sense as you already have a trustworthy relationship with this person, he/ she knows what works with your hair as well as the sort of look you’re after. Remember, keep the planning process as stress-free and uncomplicated as possible. Brides have a tendency to go with suppliers they have never met before; this is because your wedding is a ‘brand new’ occasion, and everyone and everything involved in the planning process should be ‘brand new’. I don’t agree with this way of thinking as using suppliers you would go for on a daily basis know you best.
TRUST and LOYALTY are 2 very important traits to keep in mind when selecting your hairstylist.
See below for some beautiful styles
I can recall countless occasions where upon visiting a bride in her suite, being unable to spot her amongst her bridal party… this is because she is totally unrecognisable under that ‘caked on’ make-up.
There is a tendency to obliterate every identifiable feature on this special, but why, I don’t exactly know. Yes, this is one of the very few days in a women’s life where most rules simply don’t apply, but that is no excuse to look like a caricature of yourself. There is no need to exaggerate every feature. You should simply enhance your best features; one or two, not your entire face.
This is a pic showing how it can all go horribly wrong
Now here is a pic showing how it should be done
One important thing to remember is to use a very good quality base – mostly to prevent your face from looking like it belongs on your teenage self, AKA greasy. The only time the camera lies is when accompanied with a flash; a very unforgiving tool.
The age-old and reliable tip of accentuating either your eyes or mouth still applies.
Always book a trial at least a couple of weeks before your big day, so you can experiment with different looks or find a new make up-artist. Also, to check the longevity of the look, book the trial for early morning; you’ll be ‘done up’ for at least 10 hours, so you must ensure that your mascara is indeed water proof!
Here’s a video on how to do your OWN wedding make-up!
It’s 6am and nearing your wedding day. You wake up in a panic because you still have a list of tasks to complete before you intend on approaching your mother-in-law for help (and that is one task you do not intend on fulfilling). So, you tackle the last couple of ‘to do’s’ with avengeance.
Choosing the right band is just as important and tricky as selecting your menu, as your guests will always remember the way they felt ‘getting down’ on the dance floor. Yes, that cheesy Abba tune was a hit in your parents’ day but times have changed and we live in an era of nostalgia when people enjoy reliving the ‘good ol’ days’. But it’s important to leave the cheesy stuff in the past, where it belongs.
Ok, back to the issue at hand – The Music! What sound do you associate with positive memories? Is there a specific genre you can rely on to lift your spirits? You must ALWAYS come up with around four of five songs that mark important milestones in your life. That could be anything from hearing your day sing along to AC/DC’s Highway To Hell on the way to school (pun intended) or Frank Sinatra’s Strangers In The Night that played in the background on a visit to your grandparents’ house.
Choose songs that hold importance and meaning to you and your fiance. Then ask family and friends for recommendations on great bands. Upon meeting your prospective chosen band, ask them to perform these songs for you. Do they bring back those same feelings of joy? Or have some of your favourite tunes been crucified?
If the latter applies, I don’t suggest entrusting them with the task.