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The Speech Surgery: Indian wedding speeches with Heidi Ellert McDermott, founder of Speechy

Posted by Danielle Harvey on 1 June 2024

bride and bridesmaids at an indian wedding Credit: Photo by AMISH THAKKAR on Unsplash I'm giving a maid-of-honour speech at a large Indian wedding. I've never been to one before... any etiquette I need to be aware of?

Speeches are finally getting the attention they deserve at Indian weddings. A couple of decades ago they still weren't that common but now they're finally taking centre stage. And quite literally.

In terms of etiquette, there's no major difference but the scale of the event will impact your speech. As we know, most Indian weddings are big events. It's not uncommon to have a guestlist anywhere from 400 to 1,000 guests and speakers are often up on a stage with lighting, sound crews and being filmed too!

Check with the bride and find out...

- If the microphone be lapel, headset, or handheld? If it's handheld, rehearse with a hairbrush (or equivalent) in your hand.
- Will you be delivering your speech on a stage and how close will the newlyweds be to you? It's nice to know the set up in advance and if you can interact easily with the newlyweds throughout your speech - Will there will be a platform for you to place your notes? If so, be careful not to hide behind it!

There are also a few extra considerations when writing a speech for a larger audience....

- Make sure you introduce yourself and how you know the bride.
- Try to get a humorous ice-breaker in early so you can get a laugh and increase your confidence.
- No in-jokes. Remember many of the people there won't have met the bride yet, so personality quirks or habits won't be known to everyone.
- As there's likely to be many elderly family members there, tone down any stories so that they are thoroughly PG and suitable for children too (humour doesn't need to be rude or crude!)
- Keep your speech on the shorter side, somewhere between 700 and 1000 words, as it will be harder to hold the attention of a larger crowd.
- Start rehearsing your speech early so you feel confident with the flow of it on the day.

Other than that, speeches around the world aren't that different. You want a fitting tribute to the bride and her partner, a bit of humour and a relaxed presentation style.

Humans are inherently interested in compelling storytelling wherever we are in the world. Enjoy!

For more inspiration - speechy.com/speechy-advice/maid-of-honour-speech

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