We are in the thick of wedding season and you may be feeling a little anxious about a wedding speech you’ve got coming up. Whether you are the groom, the father of the bride, the MC or best man, we’ve got some brilliant tips for you that will help you put together a winning wedding speech!
Tell a story
The best speeches are those that are personal and include fun facts, interesting stories or special memories that the bride, groom and guests will enjoy. Remember that when telling a story there is a beginning, middle and end. Keep that in mind when planning out the structure of your speech. And for bonus points, end off your speech by making reference to something you said in your introduction – then you’re halfway to being a speech pro!
Google is great for many things, and a wedding speech is not one of those things. I have heard the same silly jokes told too many times and they can be very cringey. Avoid that altogether and keep all jokes and stories personal and about the bride and groom.
Keep your jokes appropriate
Speaking of jokes, all jokes in a wedding speech should be lighthearted. The subject of your speech will likely be the bride, groom or both, and their wedding day isn’t the day to settle the score with humiliating stories. A funny story about someone should always come with a huge dose of love. With that said, avoid marriage jokes. No-one wants to start their marriage by making a mockery of it. So, no “old ball and chain” jokes or anything that undermines the beauty of marriage.
Don’t wing it
Your speech should be well rehearsed and tested on a trusty friend, but don’t attempt to wing it. When the nerves kick in, everything you have practiced will probably fly out the window. So, take some notes with you. A few keywords should be enough to help jog your memory and will be far easier to follow than a word for word two page document.
Know your style
Are you the type of person who can deliver a moving, tearful speech? Go for it. Are you more lighthearted and in the mood to deliver something funny? Do it. Whatever you choose, do what suits your personality. There is nothing worse than someone who isn’t funny trying to tell jokes.
Short and sweet is always best
As a wedding co-ordinator, I can tell you that it is most often the speeches that cause weddings to run later than planned. If you’ve been given 5 minutes to speak, do your best to stick to it. The bride, groom and guests will be left wanting more, and they won’t get bored while waiting for the festivities to move along.
State the obvious
Ok, everyone has told the bride that she looks beautiful, and everyone has congratulated the parents. Don’t think you should eliminate these facts from your speech because they are boring and you want more time to tell jokes. Make others feel good!
Check that the glasses are full
It is the job of the wedding co-ordinator to make sure this is done before the speeches and toasts begin, but if he/she hasn’t done so, you may want to begin your speech by saying “Please take a moment to charge your glasses…”
Not a fan of delivering a toast traditionally? Sing a song, do a dance, read a poem. Salute the bride and groom in whatever way fits best! That said, if you are planning something particularly outrageous, check with the bride first.
A note on wedding toasts
Wondering who should do which toasts? If you are in the mood for something on the traditional side, the list below is just for you. However, there is no hard and fast rule. If your Best Man isn’t a great speaker, you can totally call on your Maid of Honour instead. I have also witnessed some beautiful toasts to the parents of the bride and groom, which included short but lovely stories about them.
Father of the bride:
- Thanks the guests for coming
- Mentions guests who have travelled far
- Thanks anyone who has contributed financially to the wedding
- Compliments the bride and welcomes the groom into the family
- Toasts the bride and groom
- Thanks the father of the bride for his speech
- Thanks the guests for attending and for their gifts
- Thanks both sets of parents
- Thanks his best man and groomsmen
- Thanks the bridesmaids
- Compliments his bride
The best man:
- Toasts the bridesmaids
- Comments on the bridal couple, mainly the groom
- Reads any messages from absent friends or family
- Ends with a final toast to the bride and groom
- Thanks the guests for coming
- Thanks important wedding suppliers in attendance
- Thanks her parents and bridesmaids
- Compliments her groom