Weddings are meant to be joyous occasions, however they rank as the 7th most stressful life events (below deaths, divorce and jail terms), and pretty much the only one in the top ten that we actually choose to go through. For the bride and groom, this can be expected – it was their decision to have a wedding in the first place! However a number of members of the wedding party have the wedding thrust upon them along with the various responsibilities that come with it, and don’t necessarily have the requisite skills for the tasks that fall within their newly acquired remit.
The father of the bride is chief of those. Not only is he (in traditional circles) expected to pay for the whole thing, he has the responsibility of ‘giving away’ his daughter. And, having made it that far he is required to make the much anticipated ‘father of the bride’ speech.
An aggravating factor is that the day is ‘not about them’, so fathers often swallow all of their concerns and nerves, further increasing stress levels and anxiety.
Having coached fathers of brides before, we have found that anxiety about the speech is two-fold. Firstly writing it, or rather, the stress of putting off writing it. Secondly, delivering it. Some fathers have never had the experience of writing and/or delivering a speech, so it is unknown territory, which often spells fear.
NLP coaching uses some great tools for procrastination, confidence and presenting, leaving often the most fearful public speaker cool, calm and collected. If you don’t have time for a session or two before the wedding, here are some top tips for handling your responsibilities.
- If you are putting off writing your speech, ask yourself the following questions:
What effect is not writing the speech having on me (stress, anxiety etc.)?
How will I feel if I continue to not write the speech?
What are the likely outcomes of me leaving this to the last minute?
What effect will leaving it to the last minute have on the wedding – my daughter’s big day?
On the other hand, how will I feel once I’ve written the speech?
Realistically, how much time will it take to do once I’ve sat down?
What’s the worst that could happen if I sit down to write it now?
How will I feel as the weeks go by knowing I’ve written the speech?
will other people think if I deliver a well planned, well rehearsed
Finally, remind yourself what feelings you’re avoiding by sitting
down and writing it now.
- It sounds
simple, but when writing your speech, focus on the message. What is it that you
actually want to say to the guests? What is important for them and the happy
couple to know? Write bullet points of the key things you want to say, and build
out from there. If you think it’s important to cover these points, then the
guests will too.
out loud. You’ll get muscle-memory that way and your body and mind will be used
to delivering the speech and it will be more like second nature when you’re at
- Put yourself in the audience’s shoes – what
do they want to see, hear and feel when you’re doing your speech. Make yourself
responsible for putting them at ease – if you’re thinking about how they feel,
you’re less likely to be focussing inwards.
- Take a
few minutes each day to visualise yourself (on a tv screen) delivering the
speech excellently. This will help programme yourself to expect success rather
If you can fit it in, two or three coaching
sessions before the big day will make a huge difference to how you perform and
how you feel about performing – get in touch if you’d like to give it a