Writing Your Wedding Speech
How to Write Your Wedding Speech?
You ever hear a speech so bad, and it makes you cringe?
We’ve heard many speeches at weddings that included terrible jokes, inappropriate stories, and love confessions from the best man to the bride.
I am not even kidding.
Imagine giving a speech at your wedding that goes over horribly. Nobody laughs at your jokes, and they may even forget to applause after you have finished speaking.
Speeches and toasts are such a touching part of the wedding reception. The combination of humour, anecdote and heartfelt sentiment has the potential to create unbeatable wedding memories, but equal power to induce boredom, embarrassment or no reaction at all! Keep yours in the first category by following the etiquette and advice below (and share with the lovely toastmakers in your life!).
We hear a LOT of wedding speeches and toasts as photographers: the good, the bad, and the ugly (cry, that is).
Keep it Short and Sweet
Our favourite wedding speeches are often short, sweet, avoid inside jokes and speak directly to the couple’s personalities and strengths that they will be bringing into the marriage.
Being a close-up magician, I perform at a LOT of weddings, sometimes 4 in the same week. The speeches are usually a time for me to have a break from acting, or to sit back and be entertained by the best man telling embarrassing stories about the groom.
When planning weddings, couples don’t often realize there are a few mistakes they can easily avoid, which will significantly help one of the most anticipated moments of the day. Here are the six wedding speech mistakes to avoid. When it comes to your special day, Cosmopolitan events has proven itself to be an iconic wedding venue and function centre in Melbourne
Sounds like a nightmare, right?
How about hearing an awkward speech from someone who is sharing embarrassing stories that shouldn’t be revealed in public?
Parents of the Bride & Groom Wedding Speech
Fathers (and mothers) of the bride and groom, especially if hosting. The host of the wedding usually takes the opportunity to add a brief word of thanks to the guests for their attendance. Depending on who hosts and who has a preference for speaking, this role can be played by one or both fathers, one or both mothers or all four.
Briefly introduce yourself and your relationship to the bride/groom. However, remember that the bride and groom want to be put in their BEST light on their wedding day; so, avoid sharing an intro story that (although funny in the moment) might make them feel embarrassed in front of their family and friends.
This makes it harder for the person speaking as they can often sense this vibe in the audience, fed people are much more receptive. The only exception to this rule would be when one of the speakers has severe nerves; in this situation, the couple will sometimes have the speeches before the meal so the speaker can enjoy the meal rather than it being a time for the nerves to build.
Preparing the Wedding the Speech
Without proper preparation, a speech can go very wrong very quickly, and it will leave you with memories of situations like this…
- Best man. Etiquette-wise, the best man is the only person required to give a toast, though someone else can replace him if he’s genuinely uncomfortable with the role. He usually takes the floor first.
- Maid or matron of honour. While the best men are the only customary toast, it’s fast becoming a tradition for the maid of honour to offer an equivalent one after he’s finished.
We’ve included five pro tips on how to write the perfect wedding speech below for you to share with your maid of honour and best man as inspiration for their upcoming toast
For most of us, pulling off an eloquent, witty and poignant speech requires quite a bit of advanced preparation. Take time to gather inspiration, note ideas and practise your delivery. Our article on how to deliver an unforgettable toast is the perfect first port of call but read below for some additional tips.
For the sake of the food cravings of your guests, it is good to avoid having the speeches before the main meal. Hungry guests are restless during lectures and want the speaker to finish quickly, so they get fed.
Well, I have good news for you, the world doesn’t have to end yet.
Luckily, you have stumbled across a blog that will share tips for writing a great speech, so no one is awkwardly sitting there anxiously waiting for the address to end.
Writing The Perfect Wedding Speech
Wedding speeches are reserved for the most important members of the bridal party and closest family and friends, as well as the bride and groom.
If you are one of the ones expected or asked to do a wedding speech, then preparing is a must.
- Bride and groom, especially if hosting. Whether offered together or individually, the bride and groom most often thank and toast to their family and guests. If speaking personally, they may also toast each other.
Your wedding speech should tie in all stories to a central theme and be under 5 minutes (concise IS indeed lovely). A simple way to achieve this is to write it out in advance. Whether you print it out or have it on your phone, it will keep you from rambling. Your speech could be the ONE thing keeping guests from dessert, so you should make it well worth their time without taking up too much time from the day.
Some venues have no speaker system or one that is not fit for purpose. It’s a shame when the people on the back table can’t hear the story about the groom getting his chest and eyebrows waxed while on the stag weekend.
Winging it just won’t cut it, especially when your wedding speech will be on video from now until eternity.
You have to have an opening and closing.
You probably want to throw in a story and at least one piece of humour, and it all has to make sense.
Remember, wedding traditions are only a custom. Make the toasts work for you by discussing ahead of time who you’d like to speak, taking into account that speeches can last anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes each and that some of your loved ones may be more eager than others. (If you have a large number of people vying for the opportunity, you may want to give people a speech at the rehearsal dinner instead.)
Share a Story
Share a story about when YOU saw signs that the bride/groom was the ONE for the other. Another approach is to speak generally on how their strengths and qualities are the perfect complements. We always love when siblings share the qualities from childhood that playfully show how their sister/brother will make a great spouse.
As a side note, the groom should always have the stag weekend a few months before the wedding so any removed hair can grow back, photos look better when eyebrows are present. Anyway, it’s wise to check the venue’s sound system is sufficient for everyone to hear, and if not, you can always make alternative PA arrangements.
The best way to get a wedding speech started is to thank anyone and everyone important to the bride and groom and everyone who helped set up the wedding. Looking for the ultimate Wedding Reception Venue in Melbourne? Look no further, Cosmopolitan eventsare here.
Depending on what your role is, you can spend quite a bit of time thanking everyone, including the bride and groom’s parents for making the wedding possible.
Set clear expectations
Invite loved ones to speak well ahead of time, especially if they’re not in a ‘traditional’ speaker role (perhaps a bridesmaid or another family member that you know would do an excellent job). Ideally, you want everyone to approach the task as prepared as possible.
Don’t be afraid of humour, but keep it clean. A recent favorite was when the Matron of Honor shared how she met the bride when they both worked together at Target. They became instant friends during the bride’s first day on the job and even went so far as to start planning double dates with their (then) boyfriends by the end of the shift. The MOH joked, saying, “you really CAN find everything at Target… even your best friends.”
It is best to give each speaker a STRICT time limit of 10 minutes. People have a short attention span, and three speeches lasting this time will total 30 minutes, which is just right for the audience (there is a reason TED talks are 18 minutes).
Telling a funny story about either the bride or groom is also an excellent way to get the speech going smoothly.
Make sure the funny story you tell though, isn’t vulgar or rude, and don’t go spilling secrets that might hurt the marriage before it even has a chance to get started.
It can also be wise to set some guidelines for your toast makers. Decide the order of the speeches and set firm time limits. While you certainly don’t want to micromanage the content –the joy of the statements is the surprise – you may wish to share expectations over who will toast to whom, to ensure no one is missed.
Speak to the goals of marriage itself, share your hopes and prayers for the couple, or offer advice on how to love and sacrifice in the for better and for worse times. The father of the bride at a wedding last fall offered a prayer for the couple because, as he said, “the graces of this prayer will bless and guide the newlyweds far more than anything I could say myself.” Isn’t that SO SWEET?!
Make sure each speaker has practiced their speech and checked the timings. In addition to keeping the day on schedule, a strict time limit should force the speakers to be more concise and focus on the gold material, and less is more!
This is not the time to air out dirty laundry for the world to see and smell…
When making speeches, the simpler, the better, you just need to focus on the memories that you have of your friends.
When to offer toasts
How long you’ll need to allow for the statements and how they will fit into your wedding timeline will depend on several factors, including the formality of the wedding, whether food will be served, and the number of people speaking.
Did you find this helpful? Send this article to your maid of honour, best man, or someone who could use some speech writing inspiration.
Leave a comment with a funny or sweet line that has stuck out to you at the weddings you’ve attended – maybe even your own!
Very important for the best man! There are at least two categories of people in the audience, friends of the couple and families of the couple. Test the speech on one person from each of these categories. Testing the statement helps you assess the running time, responses to jokes, make improvements and, most importantly, warns you to remove any terrible faux pas.
Wedding Speech Structure
Opening – Could be comments about the lovely affair.
Chances are there will be a few people in the crowd who aren’t sure who you are; don’t forget to briefly introduce yourself and your relationship to the couple before launching into the speech proper!
When guests hear these audible reactions from other tables, it creates a very positive atmosphere in the room, and people get excited waiting for the magician to come to them. This gets the speeches off to a great start as the crowd is in very high spirits from having seen the magic performed. Think of the magician as a warm-up act before the speeches.
The jury’s out on whether or not notecards are advisable. Indeed, rifling through papers isn’t ideal, but unless you’re a seasoned orator, you’ll also want to avoid the anxiety of having your thoughtful words swept clean from your mind under pressure.
Comments about the bride and groom
The bride and groom are the stars!
But poor preparation of your wedding speech certainly could make you the laughing stock.
Story – Could be about your interactions with the bride, groom or both.
Humor– Pick something that applies to them and is appropriate.
Closing – Something touching
Raise your glass and make a touching and funny toast.
Given that toasts call for glasses to be raised, they typically fall around the serving of food. Immediately after, the meal is the traditional moment for a sit-down reception, but in reality, there’s a lot of flexibility.
Make sure the people you test it on are ones who will be brutally honest. I have been at weddings where the best man has been told off by the bride for the speech content; you don’t want that kind of drama on a wedding day.
Giving the bride and groom some advice that you’ve learned over the years about relationships, marriage or just generally good advice is a great way to end your speech.
If you’ve learnt something over the many years you’ve lived, and you feel like it would benefit the bride and or groom, then, by all means, impart your wisdom to them and every guest at the wedding reception.
They may be offered with the first course, spread out across classes, given before or after the cake cutting or the first dance. So long as guests are gathered together, relatively comfortable (ideally with a seat), and have been served drinks, any time is excellent!
Remember, people have short attention spans if there are video messages to play do it at a separate time from the speeches. I would suggest you avoid adding flip charts and PowerPoint presentations to your address, the person speaking usually thinks this will add something, but 90% of the time makes the speech dull as the person waffles through a presentation.
Stay seated and don’t raise your glass or drink from it until the toast is finished, and everyone else has taken a sip. You want to avoid giving the impolite impression that you’re toasting to yourself! Cosmopolitan events has proven itself to be an iconic wedding venue and function centre in Melbourne. Book today so you don’t miss out.
If you are in the 10% where this approach works well, then you will know this by testing it first and seeing what feedback you get (see 4).
What you should take the opportunity to do is to tell the people something about your friends, the ones getting married, how they were meant for each other and how you wish them happiness for the rest of their lives.
You don’t need a factory-made, robotic speech that will bring people to tears.
All you need is memories and your genuine care for your loved ones, and the rest will pour out as you give your toast.
At most weddings, I go to the speeches which are an extraordinary time for people. I have heard incredible statements that have not followed all these tips, so the advice here is just general thoughts and not definitive, but I hope they are useful as you plan for your big day.
While it’s still a good idea to commit the toast to memory and appear as unrehearsed as possible (i.e., avoid reading the speech), having some subtle notecards with critical points to fall back on is a good compromise.
You’ll rarely be the hit of a wedding because of your wedding speech (unless you are the bride/groom), and rightfully so.
Best of luck in writing your speech!