Alright! You have the great honor of giving a speech at a wedding. Whether you’re the bride or groom thanking your guests, a maid or matron of honor — or best man giving a memorable toast, or a parent of happy couple, here are some tips for writing and delivering a meaningful speech. As wedding planners, we’ve heard some pretty awful toasts…and some really wonderful toasts. Will you be nervous? Probably. But will it be an amazing way to honor the bride and groom if you follow these tips? Most definitely.
Write the speech well in advance
Write several drafts, check it for errors, and have a trusted friend proofread it to ensure it’s funny, interesting and, most importantly, brief. Avoid embarrassing or taboo topics. Then, practice, practice, practice. After your speech is written, recite it off the page. Then, try to recite it without looking. Know your speech and practice it until you couldn’t forget it if you tried. Bring your notes with you…just in case.
Giving the speech
Make sure guests can hear and you’re holding the microphone properly. If you’re nervous, take a few slow, deep breaths. Remember, you’re surrounded by friends and family and they all want to see you succeed. Keep it short and sweet (like 2-8 minutes). Speak slowly, sincerely and deliberately. It should be long enough to draw in your listeners, but not so lengthy that they start to get bored. Hit the high points and let the crowd get back to socializing.
Speak genuinely from the heart
Emphasize how much your relationship with the bride or groom means to you by speaking to them directly. It’s normal to get a little choked up! Allow your emotion to guide your words. End by asking guests to raise their glasses to toast to the newlyweds. This will make it clear that you’ve finished and get everyone in the mood for the next speech.
Introduce yourself to the crowd
Start by letting everyone know who you are. Tell them your name, role in the wedding, and relation to the people getting married. Then, tell a joke or a short funny story about the bride or groom to loosen up the crowd (and yourself ). A speech should appeal to everyone, be inclusive, and unite a room. Relating a special memory or inside joke will spark an emotional significance that touches everyone listening.
Acknowledge people who could not attend
If it’s appropriate, pay tribute to someone who can’t be there whether ill, serving in the military, or have passed away. If you’re going to do this, make sure you get their names absolutely correct.
Offer advice or well-wishes for the future and thank everyone in attendance
Shift the focus of the speech to the newlyweds and their future together by addressing the bride and groom directly. Wish them health and happiness. If you want, include a short quote to help illustrate what you are saying. Welcome the bride or groom into the family. Bring the speech to a close by thanking the bride and groom, their parents, friends, family, and everyone in attendance. Be gracious and make everyone feel like they’re part of a wonderfully special occasion.
Good luck! You got this. And if you need help with a sample speech, read the toast I wrote for my own wedding here. Contact Hitch Studio if you want to make sure the speech is the only thing you’re nervous about on your wedding day. 😉