Ways to Calm Your Nerves When Speaking at a Wedding Ceremony

How to Overcome Nerves if You Are Giving a Wedding Reading or Speech if You Hate Speaking in Public

Firstly, congratulations if you have been asked to give a reading during a wedding ceremony, it’s a big honour.  They have likely asked you because you are a special family member or friend and want you to be part of their wedding service.

But if you are not used to speaking in public, this can be stressful for some people. So Ive put together some top tips in how to nail that reading:


It cant be underestimated how important this is!  The key here is to read it out loud and remember to speak loudly (without shouting) and clearly.

Pace your words

This is often a mistake people with nerves do is to speed up their flow of spoken words.  So, slow down your words when speaking, you may think you are too slow, but chances are you wont be.

Print a copy of your reading out

And bring it with you.  Don’t rely on reading from your mobile or iPad (just in case your battery dies, and often with electronic screens at weddings we can be battling with the sunshine glare).


Ask if you are having a microphone – if yes, is it a handheld one, or one that clips onto your outfit.   If it’s a handheld one, practice holding it up whilst speaking,and always test that it is working.  Another good question to ask is whether there is a lectern to pop your reading onto, or are you having to hold it as well.

Whats the Climate?

Ask is the wedding outside or inside,how many guests – being prepared will help calm the nerves beforehand.  And if its outside and there isn’t a microphone, you will need to speak up as you will be battling against other noise.


Often when people are nervous, they sweat, so remember plenty of deodorant and to avoid those wet patches under your arms and clothes.  Again think breathable fabric!

Voice projection

Don’t mumble – guests at the back wont be able to hear you.


If you know you are going to have a dry mouth, have a glass of water nearby and have some sips beforehand, but avoid consuming lots of alcohol beforehand - you wont need that kind of dutch courage!

Eye Contact

So now you are relaxed, take a few moments to make eye contact with the guests – they really want to hear what you have to say.


Whilst you may be nervous, smile – it hides your nerves and you may even enjoy it.

Don’t Slouch

How you stand will make a difference too.   Stand up straight will show confidence plus you will look good in the photographs.

Stick to the reading!

Don’t ad lib or add in any jokes – leave that to the wedding reception speeches. If you have been asked to choose the reading, then go to my blog with 200 Wedding Readings for All Types of Weddings to choose from, so you will bound to find something that suits your wedding! And if you dread standing up reading a long reading, then there are plenty of shorter ones to choose.

Consider what you are going to wear

Do you feel confident and comfortable in what you are wearing?  Ive attended weddings in heat waves with no shade, so fabric choice or a hat may mean the difference from not fainting!   Also think about your shoes, are you okay standing in high heels – you wont want to fall and trip (or get your heel stuck in the grass) as you make your way to the front.

Where should I sit during the Ceremony?

This is a good point to consider. You want to avoid that dreaded cinema moment when you need to pop out and everyone has to stand up to let you pass. So aim to sit on the outside of the pew or outside chair by the aisle, that way no-one will have to move and you wont have to worry about falling over handbags on the floor!

How will you know when its your moment to Read?

Speak to whoever is taking the service and ask them at what point do you present your reading. Likely the officiant will invite you up to the front, so listen out for your name.


The 3 little words you need to remember is Prepare, Practice and Perform. If you have done all 3, chances are you will have cracked it.

And just as you are about to start

Don’t forget to breathe!   Look up and smile at everyone and speak with emotion….oh and relax everyone really does want you to shine!


I know easier said than done, but if the nerves kick in, do remember you are only standing up for a short time, it will go by in a flash.

And if you need more support, ask for Professional Help 

As a trained public speaker for over30 years, Im accustomed to speaking in public from small numbers to an audience over thousand. But looking back over the years my own personal development training by the BBC, not only covered all the elements of voice projection, how to keep an audience engaged but how to calm those nerves and self-doubt thoughts that go into your head at bay, so I know if you are not used to speaking in public,it can be daunting.    

As a trained trainer and expert in the wedding industry, I can help you with coaching how to speak in public to guarantee you will feel like a pro!  From quick 1:1 practice over zoom to booking onto my next public speaking courses, I offer a range of help to ensure it all goes smoothly but importantly you will feel ready, willing, able and you’ve done the happy wedding couple an honour and so pleased they choose you.  

So just email or telephone me now to turn a terrifying moment into an enjoyable celebration.

Written by
Amanda-Louise Knight

Amanda-Louise is the creative director of her UK award winning business, Amanda-Louise Knight Weddings Proposals & Events. She provides advice to modern couples who want unforgettable weddings that set the tone about their celebrations and love.

Amanda-Louise is a current celebrant, and has been involved in the events industry for over 30 years. Her love for logistics, she is wedding and marriage proposal planner in the South West of England. A dog lover herself, she is owner of Somerset Wedding Day Dog Chaperone Service ensuring furry babies are included or cared for by her team.

She is mentor to other celebrants and venue consultant to her corporate business clients dedicating her time to helping them grow their own businesses.

And it all starts with making a date with Amanda-Louise!

‍Blog Disclaimer - the article is opinion based by the author only, the content is for information purposes only, and as such is not guaranteed. Whilst its intended to be accurate there may be some unintentional errors, mistakes or omissions and therefore may be subject of updating. In accordance with any advice articles should the reader wish to rely on this information, they do so at their own risk. Any prices quoted are accurate at time of writing content.


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