Writing and performing a wedding speech can be a daunting task, whether you’re the maid of honor, best man, or groom himself. Everyone is looking at you as you stand there with the microphone in your hand, waiting for you to speak; gulp!
Some people like to have their speech to hand, either on a phone or on paper. Others don’t want the added responsibility of this and decide to memorize the speech.
Memorizing your wedding speech may seem challenging, but it’s particularly handy if you struggle reading out loud, or if you love to make things up on the fly. It’s easier to add embellishments when you don’t have to read from a script!
We’ve got five tips and methods for how to memorize your wedding speech that will make it flow from your lips so easily, no one will notice how nervous you are or wish you’d stop talking!
Turn Words into Song
Setting words to music is, for a lot of people, the best way to memorize them. Use a song you love or a tune you know well, and sing the words of your speech along to that melody. You’re sure to have your speech memorized in no time!
Your speech doesn’t even have to rhyme for you to remember it. For example, I learned a long list of prepositions through a song – my teacher set the list to the tune of “Yankee Doodle.”
I still remember it to this day – and none of the words rhyme! Rhyming isn’t necessary for memorization; it can certainly help, but your memory will also be aided just by having your words set to music.
Of course, the only issue you may run into with this option is singing your speech. But hey, if you’re into that, why not? You can also quickly sing through the song in your mind if you happen to forget a part of the speech, to help you remember it.
Break It Down
Breaking your speech into smaller sections is typically an excellent idea when it comes to memorization in general.
This is for two primary reasons: the first being that you’ll only have to memorize one section at a time, so you’ll be less likely to forget each. And secondly, if you do happen to forget a section, you can simply move on to the next one. We’re sure no one will be the wiser for it!
Let’s say you wrote a 500-word wedding speech. If there are four roughly equivalent paragraphs (this should be around 125 words each) in that speech, you can memorize one paragraph at a time, in order.
Breaking your speech into smaller sections makes memorizing it a much smaller task than memorizing the entire thing in one go. This will likely make you less nervous about just how much you have to memorize. This increase in confidence will mean that you’ll not only remember your speech, but you’ll also deliver it beautifully.
Breaking your wedding speech into smaller sections could also help you to remember the details of what you wrote. You won’t miss out on telling that joke that everyone will still be laughing about twenty years from now!
Smaller sections are good for guests, too: they’ll be granted a little break between your words as you transition from one section to another. This allows for people to wipe their tears, or have a laugh break – both are great reactions!
Tell a Story
Another way to memorize your wedding speech is to tell a story.
As a species, humans are very practiced in the art of storytelling. We love stories! We’ve told them for thousands and thousands of years. We tell them to others, but we also tell stories to ourselves every day.
Using the ancient art of the story can help you to remember your wedding speech. Did the groom have a silly nickname with a harrowing backstory to go with it growing up? Did you meet the bride at the same time she met her fiancé and witness her fall deeper and deeper in love? These would be great stories to share with wedding guests!
If you tell a story, especially one you’ve experienced yourself, you’ll have less to memorize. Drawing from your memories and experience will mean you’ll give a richer, more interesting wedding speech than you would by simply reading from a phone or a piece of paper.
Shortening your wedding speech may mean using fewer words. After all, everyone at the wedding is kind of hoping that the speeches won’t go on too long so they can eat, drink, and dance. Don’t make them suffer through a 20-minute diatribe about the scrapes you and the bride or groom got into as kids!
Cutting weak or useless words or details is also a great way to streamline your speech. This benefits both your brain when you memorize it, and the wedding guests who’ll be your captive audience!
The other thing that shortening your speech might mean is using tools like abbreviations and acronyms. These shortened forms of language mean that you’ll be memorizing fewer words, but they will be enough of a reminder to keep you on track.
The option of using abbreviations and acronyms also makes things like freestyling more possible. Your written speech becomes more of an outline; it’ll guide you to stay on topic and allow you to add details and jokes easily.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
The last way to memorize your wedding speech is to practice. After all, practice makes perfect!
Practice your speech out loud, then in front of someone else or a small group. This increases the stakes every time that you recite it, so when the actual time comes, you’ll be less nervous.
Also, practicing your speech means you’ll be much less likely to forget it!
Why not combine a few of these methods on how to memorize your wedding speech? Test them out and find what works for you. Whatever you do, remember people want you to do well, but they don’t want to listen to you for half the night. Break a leg!