Shortly after a wedding from a couple of years ago, I received a Facebook message from the groomsman that had presented a toast to the Groom at the reception. In part, it read as follows:
I was thinking back the other day and the nerves really died off a lot quicker because of some early laughter a few times. I realized that you were right there letting out the chuckles loudly. I don’t know if you were being sincere or just helping a brother out but in either case thanks a ton cause it helped out!”
Ever since that day, I’ve made an extra effort to keep myself seriously engaged with all laughter and applause at a wedding (whether from speeches or something else).
Then, I started noticing something else. I didn’t just have to follow the guests’ responses, I could actually lead the applause. I could make it happen when maybe no one else would.
If I was properly understanding where the guests were at in relation to what was being said in a speech, where they were in a particular moment, I could prompt applause more often and thereby bring more enthusiasm and meaning to those moments!
I fondly remember participating in Chris and Jillian’s wedding a while back and consciously catching myself at least 5 or 6 times (yes, I was counting!) prompting and leading the applause. Even though that wedding didn’t have a lot of dancing, those extra moments of applause…
…made for some really great moments.
…helped build the confidence in the speakers and what they were sharing.
…raised the energy of the room.
…created more respect for the person speaking.
…made people smile.
…further connected the guests to what and who was being spoken about in those given moments.
If you’re looking for happier guests, happier parents and needless to say, a happier bride and groom, of course you should laugh and applaud…but don’t just follow the applause, lead it.
* This is a newly edited, rewrite, of a post I originally published here on this blog on May 27, 2014.
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