No matter how egalitarian a relationship may be, in my experience, when it comes to wedding planning, it seems to be one partner ( usually the bride and possibly her mother and/or future mother-in-law) who digs into the nitty-gritty of choosing the venue, and does most of the heavy lifting in terms of making sure vendors and suppliers are on track, with numerous requests and sometimes assertive phone calls until they are satisfied they’ve been properly heard in order to get just what they want…..and are paying for.

So I’m always surprised when these same women are reticent about taking the mike at their own wedding. In response to my “why?”, I often hear the following:

  • I’m too emotional. I’ll never get through it!
  • I don’t know what to say.
  • The thought of writing a speech is overwhelming. I’m no good at it!
  • I don’t have time for this! I have to choose chair covers! (or place
  • cards/napkins/boutonnieres/what-have-you)
  • There will be too many speeches already.

I really encourage women to speak on their own big day, for many, many reasons.  Here are just a few:

  1. Likely half the people invited to share in your celebration don’t know you very well. This is your opportunity to show them what kind of person you are, where your values rest, what makes you tick, etc. You can potentially set the course of many of the relationships that will become important to you for many years to come by expressing yourself in public for a few minutes at this turning point in your life.
  2. Forcing yourself to sit down and compose a speech gives you the very important catalyst to examine and express your feelings about yourself and your loved ones, as well as the family you are entering into, as you cross this threshold to the next stage of your life.
  3. This is your opportunity to gracefully express your gratitude to your parents and close family for the love and support that has enabled you to reach this juncture in your life.
  4. Words of acknowledgement to your new in-laws and an expression of how happy you are to be joining their family can go a long way toward cementing those very important future relationships. You can also assure them you plan to take good care of their son!
  5. It’s a lovely time to acknowledge loved ones who have passed on, but who have been important to you and would have been part of your special day. (One bride I worked with spoke of her late grandmother’s wartime letters to her grandfather, and linked their romance to hers. Everyone was in tears….in a good way!)
  6. Yes! Tell your guy in front of all your loved ones how much you love him, and tell the world how excited you are to be sharing your life with him! In all the wedding planning, this fundamental often gets lost! He’ll appreciate it and feel great!(i.e. show him this day is not ENTIRELY ABOUT YOU!)
  7. Don’t know what to say? Nonsense! Everyone wants to hear your story! How did you meet? What did you first think of him? What happened when you introduced him to the family? What were the missteps? The audience never tires of amusing anecdotes and sweet stories of “the meet.”
  8. The bride’s speech is usually last. (and since you’re the bride, if you choose for it to be last, it will be!) This means it has big impact, and sets the tone for the remainder of the celebration.
  9. When the wedding is a memory, and all the tiny details have fallen away, I guarantee that guests may not remember what they ate or what colour the centerpieces were, but they will remember a speech given from the heart. Even if they don’t remember exactly what you said, the impression you made, the sentiments you expressed, will carry through for many years!
  10. This is probably one of the very few times in your life when everyone you care most about in the entire world is together in one room, and they are there to celebrate and be happy with you. What an opportunity to express how you are feeling at this wonderful milestone moment!

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