(I) dos and (I) don’ts: wow your wedding guests with your words
You’ve taste tested every kind of cake, had endless correspondence with the florist, and have had your dream dress designed since you were a little girl, but there’s still one thing missing from your wedding planning: the words everyone will say on the day!
Beyond ‘which way to the bar?’, you’ve likely given little thought to the importance of the spoken word on your wedding day. ‘Words are powerful beyond measure’, Once Upon A Vow’s Daniela VillaRamos tells us. ‘They can inspire a revolution, change the world, and uplift us in unimaginable ways. At weddings, beautiful words have the power to create touching moments and joyous long lasting memories’. Of course the flipside of that is that the wrong words can easily poison the day and everyone’s memory of it. But it’s alright, don’t let crippling fear and anxiety get to you just yet; follow Daniela’s (I) dos and (I) don’ts to make sure expressing your love on your special day is a joy, not a chore!
Do tailor it to your personal love story: ‘Here’s a good time to share their favourite romantic movies, novels, or love songs. Many times it’s these shared favourites that can help personalise their ceremony to feel like a true reflection of their relationship and their future’.
Don’t get too deep too soon: ‘There’s a whirlwind of emotions and sometimes it can be overwhelming because OH MY GOD, IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING!? It will get sentimental. It always does, especially during the vows and the ‘I dos’, so a light ceremonial intro is a welcome breather before the deep stuff’.
The wedding vows
Do embrace your quirks: ‘Vows have evolved from ‘richer or poorer’ to include everyday promises like ‘I will admit when you’re right and let you forget when you’re wrong’. Because, let’s be honest, it’s the day-to-day moments that make up a marriage along with the big life-changing events’.
Do keep it short and sweet: ‘You can work towards saying all the romantic versions of ‘I love you’ during your lifetime, but in this special moment express it all in under 90 seconds’.
Don’t stress at the thought of putting your love into words: ‘At first most couples are filled with excitement to make these promises, but as time passes some find it challenging to articulate. What was once a beautiful idea has turned into this huge ordeal!’
Don’t fall back on clichés: ‘Most of them are centred around happily ever afters, love at first sight, Prince Charming, and the perfect person they’re about to marry. When you put your loved one on this perfect pedestal in your vows, it sounds more like an idealised version of who you’re actually marrying’.
The Maid of Honour’s speech
Do include your BFF’s other half: ‘Your best friend just got hitched and you have an incredible relationship with them, but this speech isn’t only about you two, your whirlwind friendship, and how awesome your bud is…you should also mention how wonderful their spouse is and how great they are as a couple’.
Do be yourself: ‘Give your toast lots of personality, wit, love, and wisdom. If you’re a humorous rom-com gal, use that adorable quirk as a theme in your toast. If you’re sentimental, own it and be your sweet self. It’s when people start trying to emulate someone they’re not where speeches fall flat. For instance, if you don’t believe in soulmates and have never used the word before, don’t use it!’
Don’t stress over being perfect: ‘Women especially tend to be their own worst hypercritic so naturally we believe that others are judging us as harshly as we judge ourselves’.
Don’t try to wing it: ‘My motto isn’t ‘practice makes perfect’. For me, it’s ‘practice means freedom’. The more you practice, the more comfortable you are with the words you’re saying’.
The best man’s speech
Do prepare what you’re going to say: ‘This one mistake can cause a domino effect of other horrific errors in judgement like telling humiliating stories or offensive jokes, getting too drunk to articulate anything, or repetitively droning on and on without really expressing a thought’.
Do steer clear of sexual innuendo: ‘When you compliment the bride, don’t be that pervy friend who makes those completely inappropriate comments on the newlywed’s sex life. Gross’.
Do leave the past in the past: ‘That includes exes, the time he got so drunk that he did something you’ll never let him live down, and any other morbidly humiliating stories’.
Don’t rely on liquid courage: ‘As much as I’m a big fan of open bars at weddings and absolutely love signature cocktails, in my experience one drink leads to two which leads to countless more and a semi-slurred speech instead of a touching one’.
Don’t talk about marriage like it’s a prison sentence: ‘Your buddy isn’t losing his freedom. You will see him again, but you’ll definitely make it awkward if you refer to the new wife as his warden’.
Thank you speeches
Do think about your stationary: ‘Have your short and sweet speech written down legibly on nice stationery (can’t forget the photographer) and have a backup copy on your phone’.
Do thank your parents: ‘A few extra kind words to parents and in-laws for your wonderful childhood memories and for the incredible job they did in raising your now husband or wife will always be well received’.
Don’t thank absolutely everyone: ‘Couples should compile a short list of everyone they’d like to thank, preferably in groups…once you start thanking people individually, it’s difficult to stop yourself from thanking the next person you make eye contact with!’
Don’t drone on: ‘Thank you speeches can also be quite boring if the newlyweds drone on about their gratitude to everyone for every moment leading up to the big day. That’s what thank you cards are for!’
In the words of Dr Seuss ‘we are all a little weird, and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love’. Make sure you embrace your wonderful, unique weirdness through the words you say on your wedding day by enlisting the help of Once Upon A Vow!
Photo courtesy of: Dreamlife Wedding Photography