What do you do when your best man is absolutely terrified of public speaking? So much so that even though he’s been in your life for more years than you can count, and you couldn’t imagine the day without him, but he says ‘no’ to being your best man, purely because of a speech?
Or what if your sister refuses to be maid of honour because she’s petrified of giving a speech? What do you do? You’ve only got one sister!
What if your dad is so nervous about his father of the bride or groom speech that he spends the whole day stressing and reading his speech over and over, pacing in the corner, sweating, and actually forgets to enjoy the day?
Here’s the thing, it happens! It happens all the time! So many people hate public speaking, but weddings are just one of those events where there are speeches and it’s a major cause of stress for so many people.
So what do you do when someone in your bridal party can’t stand the thought and someone’s day is going to be ruined?
Well, who says your best man has to give a speech? Who says the Father of the Bride has to give a speech? “they do” you say. Yeah, but who is “they”? Are there rules written down? Its “tradition”? Yeah, but most modern weddings are usually making one or two changes to tradition, why can’t you?
My suggestion is, take a load of pressure off everyone’s shoulders and pick someone else. If you want your best man to be your best man, awesome – the role of maid of honour and best man is far broader than just a speech! But maybe pick a groomsman or a bridesmaid or a sister for the speech instead – someone who is comfortable. It gives two people a chance to be heavily involved in your big day and no one has to have a panic attack.
If your Dad is petrified, what about your mum? I know so many mothers who have nailed a speech on the wedding day. If you handle it well and respectfully, it doesn’t need to be a thing of embarrassment or shame for your Dad, especially if Mum speaks on behalf of them both and treats the situation with respect. It’s all good.
And if there is no backup? That’s ok – keep the pressure to a minimum, give them plenty of notice and give them the option to speak – there’s no need to force anyone to say anything wonderful about you, when they are likely already doing so much for you. And if they really need it, offer your help or get help from someone like me. A fresh set of eyes and some coaching can make all the difference to make sure someone’s day is the best it can be – including yours.
All in all, if you’re all spending so much time and money on such a big day, let’s not ruin it for people (and possibly you) over a 5 minute speech. Acknowledge that for some people, this really is the hardest thing they can imagine. If you are scared of the dark, or heights or pidgeons – its exactly the same for some people who are very close to you. Try to support them, think outside the square to find mutually beneficial solutions, throw out the ‘rule book’ – seriously, is it written down somewhere? – and do what is going to make the day the most enjoyable, for everyone.
Best of luck finding the right speakers for your day. And if Dad does need a hand with that speech, you know who to call*.
*Me. Just to be clear…