Introducing stories into a wedding speech
Capture the audience's attention before they've had an opportunity to switch off.
A story should not sound as if it has dropped into a wedding speech without rhyme or reason, rather it should be woven in gently, so gently in fact that no one can see it coming. This is the very best kind of storytelling in a wedding speech.
The secret of this is, of course, preparation. Write the name of the person, bride or groom, who is the main protagonist in your story. Write it out in longhand in the way you remember it happening. If it is a story you have heard from a third party, write it down as closely as you can remember it being told to you.
When the basic idea is on paper then juggle the facts around until you come to the funniest combination you can think of. If you have to exaggerate a little, and you do it right to get a laugh, no-one will mind as long as you do it gently and with sincerity.
Re-read your story yet again including your amendments. Is this the kind of story that will draw laughs from the happy couple, the top table and all the guests? If there are guests who, for example, abhor bad language, make sure that your story does not contain any as the smallest of things can cause a really well-prepared speech to fall flat due to some little act of inconsideration from the speech maker. Remember that weddings are emotive occasions.
Now you have your story and can start to write the initial part of your speech, the part which will serve as a seamless introduction to the story you want to tell. When you have that down pat and are happy with it, your story is two-thirds complete and all you need now is the final few sentences to round it all off, with a happy toast to wish the newly married couple well.
Do not try to tell more than one story inside any given speech, and do not use a story that is too complicated or involves too many characters. Remember, guests may know the bride and groom but not necessarily very well. Keep it simple, keep it light and keep it funny.
The most successful wedding speech stories are amusing but also empathetic and above all sincere. The wedding speeches are often remembered long after the confetti has been swept up and it behoves those who have the responsibility of making a speech on this most important day in a couple's life, to treat the duty with respect and with care.
With many wedding speeches now on video for posterity, it is worth putting in that bit of preparation before speaking so that your speech can be something you yourself are proud of, as well as being amusing for the guests, and a sign of affection for the newly married couple.