Any public speaking venture can seem daunting. Especially when the occasion is a fiftieth wedding anniversary, the pressure can be immense. Luckily, by simply being prepared and being yourself, a memorable speech is just a few drafts away. Remember to practice the speech prior to the event. There exist seemingly endless possibilities for making the speech creative, interactive and entertaining. However you choose to present the anniversary speech, writing the actual words should be done out of love and selflessness.
Browse through old photograph albums. One of the most effective methods to understanding the relationship can be looking through old photographs. It may lead to you questions about certain events or holidays the couple has had; this in turn may lead to interesting stories forgotten by everyone.
Listen to stories. You may have heard the same story from your parents or grandparents for what seems like your entire life, but there is a reason that story gets told over and over again. You can try using that story as a starting point: "We've all heard the story..., but what you may not know about Alice and Glenn is..."
Compile the different stories or memories you have been told or that you know offhand. Make a list and see how some of them connect. Connecting stories about the couple with either your experiences with them or other people's experiences with them provides transitions automatically built into the speech. Also, by including others attending the anniversary celebration in the speech, you are more likely to have a rapped audience.
Write out your favourite story about the couple, just so you know exactly what you would like to say when delivering the speech. Tell the story a few times to a mirror or friends so that you are completely comfortable with the opening. Using an anecdote from the couple is an effective opening to the speech because personal appeals make the speech more heartfelt for the audience. The University of North Carolina Writing Center suggests "asking direct questions of the audience or enlisting audience participation" throughout the speech to keep the audience's attention.
Connect different stories to one another, intermingling how the couple's fifty years of marriage have directly affected you. There is a reason you are giving the speech; be sure to make that reason clear to your audience.
Include bits of humour. This may seem difficult, but try to find a funny anecdote about the couple and the problem is solved for you.
Be sure all stories are appropriate for the audience. Be aware of time.