By Maria Immaculate Owechi
Speeches are a part of every wedding reception party. Collins Bareija Emeka, a comedian and events MC says most couples prefer speeches taking place after dinner when everyone is satisfied and relaxed. He adds that speeches are supposed to be entertaining but they can become boring and prolong the duration of the event if not well managed.
“This is the honour is limited to a few people according to their closeness with the couple and a specific time is accorded to them,” he explains.
Jeff Ziwa, the managing director of Emcee Portal says that parents should be given between five-ten minutes while other speakers get about three- five minutes.
He adds that its common hierarchy for the people on the bride’s side to speak first, followed by those on the groom’s because his people are taken as the hosts of the ceremony. Ziwa adds that they start with the people who are closer to the couple through friendship and family members come last.
However, there are speakers that may be unnecessary at a function. In most cases, they are not well-spoken or may simply not add much to what has already been said. Some examples of such are listed below with ways you can use to handle them.
Speakers chosen by another speaker
Ziwa says sometimes even with a planned list of speakers, there may be additional speakers according to the couple’s wishes or one of the speakers.
A good example of this situation is where the parents decide to invite other family members or religious leaders who have helped them in raising their daughter/son to say something.
George Ssemakula (not real names) shares an experience where the reverend turned his opportunity to introduce himself into a speech of how he once helped the bride to pay tuition.
To limit such occurrences, a couple should prep their speakers about the need to keep time. You may also tell your parent to introduce the people that stand up with him instead of giving each one the microphone.
A drunken friend or family member
Sometimes we have people that are dear to us but also have a drinking problem. If someone has a reputation for losing it, your wedding may be one of those times you excuse them from the speech.
Apart from not being presentable, this person may say some embarrassing things about the family which will tarnish your image before your guests and in-laws. In other instances, the person may be a generally sober person that simply gets drunk this one unlikely time.
Brenda Atukwase narrates that during one of her cousin’s wedding, his brother turned up drunk to deliver a speech on behalf of the siblings. Needless to say, it did not go very well. Once someone notices a person has taken too much, replace them as soon as possible.
However, it can be tricky if it is a close family member like the father to the groom/bride who may get angry if they are prevented from speaking regardless of their state.
In such cases, get a person that is close to them or one they respect and can calm them so that you do not have a scene at the function.
Some people maintain close friendships with people they were once romantically with. Choosing this person among the speakers can be disastrous as one partner may feel disrespected.
An events manager shared a story where a lady got emotional as she wished the best of luck to the couple. He says he later found out that the groom dumped that lady in favour of her best friend who was the bride.
Before choosing such a person to make a speech, remember that it will be as difficult for them as it might for you and your new start.
People that come in the same capacity
Many people may be important in your life yet to save time, not all can speak. If you were raised by many people at different stages, you may want to choose which person will speak on behalf of your guardians. Some people may also have political and religious figures in big numbers. The odds are they will not say things that are a lot different. Write a list of all the important people present and let the MC recognise their presence instead of letting them have a speech.
The MC may continue to make mentions of their presence from time to time to enlighten your gratitude for their presence.
That said here are the people who must make a speech at your wedding.
These are usually people with whom the bride or groom has close bonds with whether it is from childhood, school or adulthood.
Ziwa says for some couples, it is the best man and matron who speak on behalf of friends.
He explains that friends come first because they may share certain details about the couple which would make the speech interesting to other guests.
Ziwa gives an example of a friend sharing about how the couple met and their love journey.
In the speech, Emeka explains that the friend should introduce her/himself, talk about how they know the bride/groom, say something positive to the couple and then wish them happiness.
Emeka says friends are followed by siblings who congratulate their sister or brother. Siblings usually talk about the significant role the newlywed has played in the family and encourage the chosen partner to take care of her/him.
These comprise of the current employers, employees and business partners where the bride and groom work from.
According to Emeka they congratulate their work colleague, talk about his role in their company or business and encourage his/her chosen partner to take care of their workmate.
Parents/guardians of the Bride/Groom
Ziwa says it is the father to speak first and later introduce his wife to say something. He explains that in the speech the parents thank their guests for attending, make a nice compliment to the couple, give a brief family background about their daughter/son, and pick one or two words of wisdom in light of the ceremony.
The MC tutor cautions parents against opening up about embarrassing or negative things about their child because it is a day for her/him to shine and be encouraged.
Ziwa, however, says sometimes even with this planned list of speakers, sometimes an MC has no control over it as some changes may come in and in such cases, he needs to be ready to work with the adjustment.
The groom and bride
The groom and bride are usually the last people to speak. These can share a little of their stories but it is important that they appreciate people that stood with them during the wedding preparations. The groom should speak first before introducing his new wife.
With this list we hope, you will be able to plan for an organised and timely list of speakers for your wedding day.