8 Tips for Giving a Wedding Speech If You Have Social Anxiety

Woman standing at a microphone giving a speech at a wedding

Satoshi Kawase / Getty Images

If you are a bride or groom who suffers from social anxiety disorder, the idea of giving a speech at your wedding may be causing you to panic. Take heart: Giving speeches in front of crowds, especially on a day like your wedding, can be anxiety provoking to many people. You can get through that speech, and even shine on your special day if you just take some time to prepare. 

First, if you haven't already been diagnosed or received treatment for your social anxiety (such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and/or medication) add that to the top of your list. However, you probably have limited time between now and the wedding and need to know how to get through that speech without the help of outside interventions.

8 Helpful Tips for Giving a Great Wedding Speech Despite Being Nervous

Below are some steps you can take to help calm your nerves about giving a speech at your wedding.

Become Familiar With the Venue

Make sure that you are familiar with the reception hall before the wedding. Find out where you will be seated and where the microphone and podium will be. Becoming familiar with these surroundings early on will make you more comfortable when the big moment comes.

Don't Script It

Although it may be tempting to write out a speech word for word, unless you are very experienced in public speaking there is a risk that you will come across as stiff and wooden. Instead, carry point form notes with you to the podium and try speaking in a conversational tone.


There is no substitute for lots of practice when it comes to public speaking, and a wedding speech is no exception. By practicing what you are going to say in advance, you will gain confidence that will carry through to your big day.

Becoming familiar with the venue, practicing, and using imagery are also wonderful tools. If possible, practice at the venue to decrease anxiety leading up to the event and on the day. If this is not possible, then once you have become familiar with the venue, use imagery when practicing to imagine yourself at the venue giving the speech. Utilizing self-talk to remind yourself that you have practiced and you got this is also helpful.

Imagine Success

Athletes have used this trick for years—by imagining yourself relaxed and confident while delivering your speech, you train your body to respond in the same manner.


Make sure to engage in regular exercise leading up to your wedding. Regular exercise helps to alleviate stress and anxiety.

Avoid Caffeine

While it is never advisable to consume large amounts of caffeine, those who suffer from social anxiety should try to avoid it altogether. Remember that in addition to coffee and caffeinated soft drinks, tea and chocolate also contain caffeine.

Admit to Being Nervous

Before you begin speaking at your wedding, acknowledge that you are nervous. Simply admitting to having a little stage fright often goes a long way to overcoming performance anxiety.

Focus on Your Speech

Instead of scanning the room and worrying about what others are thinking, focus on what you are saying. Allow yourself to be swept away by the moment and notice how your anxiety tends to be swept away as well.

Remember, these are the tips to shine while you give your speech:

  • Find out where you will be speaking.
  • Bring point form notes only.
  • Practice and imagine success.
  • Get regular exercise and avoid caffeine.
  • Admit you are nervous and then focus on your speech.

While many people may feel nervous about giving a wedding speech, you might actually find that you enjoy it! At the very least, feel proud that you took the time to try and overcome your fear to make this important contribution to your special day. Years from now your spouse won't look back and remember your fear and anxiety—only the thoughts that you shared.

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  • University of Tennessee at Martin Counseling and Career Services. Public Speaking Anxiety.

  • Grice GL, Skinner JF. Mastering Public Speaking. 5th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon; 2004.

By Arlin Cuncic, MA
Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of "Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder" and "7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety." She has a Master's degree in psychology.