Being asked to deliver a wedding speech should be an honor. You were selected above all others because of your close relationship to the happy couple. However, it can feel more like an unjust punishment for being a great friend or a beloved sibling.
Writing the speech for a wedding is often a daunting task because of the importance of the occasion. The pressure to be both funny and poignant. Of course, we also all share those general fears and anxieties about getting up to speak in front of a large, attentive group. For many, public speaking is not something people do often. In some cases, this will be the biggest speech they’ve given in their entire lives in terms of what’s at stake, but don’t freak out just yet! We have some simple but useful tips to help you craft a great wedding speech. Whether you’re the maid of honor or the best man, we share our tips of the trade...
How To Begin
For a lot of us, getting started is the most difficult part. You will probably find yourself sitting alone, staring at a blank document on your computer with zero idea of where to begin. Before you begin that first draft your speech, we suggest that you think about who you’re acknowledging in your toast. Is it the bride, the groom, both of them...then make a list of qualities that the person you are honoring possesses. Maybe they’re compassionate, hilarious or extremely organized. Then start thinking about some personal stories about them that support these well known qualities. Once you have a few note on this written down, call someone who is close to them for a quick chat. One or two of these conversations will help you gain some additional insight into the person you plan to honor and should really help get those creative juices flowing not to mention how it takes the loneliness out of the process a bit. Once you’ve chosen your two to three qualities and stories, use those key pieces to give your speech some structure so you’re not just aimlessly rambling on. After all, you want the speech to last no more than five minutes. Anything longer than that and you will begin to loose your audience. Just remember your speech really doesn’t need to be complicated: make a point and tell a story or tell a story to make the point. So for a wedding speech, here’s the person, here’s a quality they have...for example, ‘they’re so loyal,' and then tell a story about that.
Other Things To Include
Always begin with a brief mention of how you know or are related to the bride or groom for any guests who may not be aware.
Thank the assembled guests, members of the wedding party and the hosts of the occasion. You may also want to acknowledge people who wanted to be at the wedding but couldn’t for some reason, whether it’s someone who couldn’t attend because of a travel issue or friends or family members who have passed away.
Always give genuine, heartfelt praise, not just for the friend or family member who asked you to make a speech but also for their new spouse. After all, this speech isn’t just about your BFF...it's about the couple as a whole.
Weddings are personal occasions that are so full of emotion. Your speech should include personal touches or details that match that. Your audience will be able to sense whether the speech you give is really for them or whether it’s something that you just pulled off the internet. The care you take to point out subtle details, hinting at stories, or referencing specific things, whether it’s in jokes or at particular individuals, matter enormously.
Never forget to end by asking guests to raise their glasses to toast to the newlyweds.
Things NOT To Include
Tempting as it may seem, copying another speech you found on the internet is a big NO. This completely defeats the point about this being a special and personal occasion. Cutting and pasting or using a template script is just wrong. Don't do it!
Steer clear of crude language. Remember their grandparents are present! So, skip the swearing and any explicit stories, no matte how entertaining you think they are. Crude humor is just not needed. The reason it happens, of course, is because the speaker is panicking about being funny, but it just ends up being disastrous.
Also, it may been obvious, but please don't mention the bride or groom's past boyfriends or girlfriends. This is just in poor taste.
Never ever make fun of the new husband or wife. Some gentle ribbing might be appropriate if you are directing it at your family member or friend, however the new spouse is off limits. Never paint their new husband or wife in an unflattering light. Its a day of love and celebration.
We've all seen those viral videos on YouTube about the epic wedding speeches. Going the unconventional route isn't for everyone, so you shouldn't feel compelled to do something really wild an out of the box. If it feels awkward or unnatural to you just go with simple and meaningful. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that! Don't give in to the extra pressure to do something different or extra just because it is different or extra. If giving a speech that is simply heartfelt and sincere is the route that feels more natural to you it will come off as being considerably more authentic and there for more meaningful to the couple you are toasting. Now, if you ARE going to do something totally unconventional, make sure you are fully committed to it. You really have to go for it! Don't worry if your voice doesn't sound good or your dance moves are totally off. Just own it! Put your all into it and simply have fun.
Now stop procrastinating and go and write something awesome!