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Drink and speech ideas to ensure your reception sparkles, from Champagne toasts to who speaks when.

One of the most touching moments of a wedding day are the speeches. From humorous anecdotes by the best man to emotional sentiments from the father-of-the-bride, they’re entertaining and unite the room in wishing the newlyweds well in their new life together.

However, if you’re one of the people that’s got to make a speech, it can be a little daunting, so read on for some top tips on how to get it spot on.

Who speaks when?

Traditionally the father-of-the-bride kicks off proceedings with a toast to the couples’ health and happiness, possibly telling a story or two about the bride and welcoming the new son-inlaw to the family.

Next up is the groom, who, wedding etiquette dictates, should thank his parents, the guests for coming, his wife for agreeing to marry him, any family members that have helped out and toast the bridesmaids.

If the bride is going to say a few words, it’s a good idea to follow the groom, thanking any one that he has missed and expressing her love for her new husband.

Finally, the speech that’s usually the most anticipated at any wedding – the best man’s. As well as telling funny stories about what they got up to in the past, the best man is also expected to toast the happy couple on behalf of the bridesmaids. As a guide, each speech should last between five and ten minutes maximum.

Talking tips

When it comes to speech making there are some rules that really keep the nerves at bay.

Firstly, practice makes perfect; don’t expect to wing it, you need to rehearse several times to feel confident. Write your speech at least a month before the wedding, so you’re properly prepared and can make any last minute changes. Help is on hand with various books available, see right, from Confetti, www.confetti.co.uk.

Read your speech out loud to another person at least once, so they can advise on any changes and you can make sure the pace is correct.

On the day, take a couple of deep breaths before you start and don’t rush it – what sounds slow to you will sound normal to the crowd.

Lastly, enjoy it, wedding guests are there to support you and enjoy themselves!

Photography by Expression Wedding Photography, 01279 410553, http://expression-photography.co.uk

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