For those of you who have been there and done it, writing and delivering a speech or toast at a wedding can be one of the most daunting responsibilities, but getting it right can make it one of the most memorable moments of someones very special day.
Whilst many speeches can be a personal and intimate affair between the best man and the groom, they also offer wedding guests a bit of an insight into the happy couple and share moments that will often make people laugh, or even cry a little!
In our latest blog post, we bring you some tips on helping you to write and deliver your Wedding Speeches and toasts.
1. How long should a Wedding Speech be?
Whilst there aren’t any strict rules or protocol around the length of the wedding speech, you need to remember to keep the guests engaged. If it’s too long they might lose interest and if it’s too short they might not even remember the speech happened. If you can compact your content into a 3 minute window, this is usually the best amount of time to maintain a good focus from the guests. Trust us when we say that 3 minutes, talking to a room of wedding guests, can feel like an eternity on the day.
2. Preparing yourself for the speech
It’s perfectly understandable to get nervous before a wedding speech, but the key thing is to remain in control. Write your speech down (if you can remember it then great, but have the written notes to hand just in case). And of course, don’t drink too much before hand to try and calm the nerves. You don’t want to get over confident and go off-piste with your delivery!
3. Introduce yourself
At the start of your wedding speech it’s important to introduce yourself and your relationship with the groom / couple. This sets the stage for your content and gives it context.
4. Tell a short story or funny anecdote
A great (and very traditional) way to keep the attention of the wedding guests is to tell a short story. This might be about how the happy couple met, or the time you met the significant other. If something funny happened, make sure it gets into the speech - you can’t beat a good laugh at a wedding reception! And remember, try not to make the speech too much about you. Whilst delivering a speech is a big moment, don’t lose sight on why you are doing it. And finally, don’t tell a story that might cause embarrassment or humiliation to either (or both) of the newly weds or their families.
5. Respect your speech boundaries
One thing to remember when writing a speech is what your boundaries are. Different speeches should contain certain elements to ensure that they aren’t repeated.
For example, the father of the bride would usually
- Welcome guests, and thank them for coming
- Welcome the groom into the family
- Compliment his daughter
- Tell a story
- Toast the newly married couple
The Groom’s speech would then typically include the following:
- Acknowledge the toast by the father of the bride
- Thank the guests for attending and both sets of parents for their roles in arranging the wedding
- Give out any gifts to key members of the wedding party
- Toast the bridesmaids
Following on from the Groom’s speech, the best man would
- Compliment the newly weds
- Tell a short story or funny anecdotes about the groom
- Throw in a few jokes!
- Read messages from family members or friends who couldn’t attend the wedding
- Toast the bridesmaids
- Toast to the happy couple
If the Bride wanted to make a speech, she might want to
- Thank the guests for their attendance and sharing their special day
- Thank both sets of parents for their support and help with the wedding day
- Pay compliments to the groom
- And, raise a toast
On occasions, the Bride and the Groom have made a joint speech. This is a lovely touch and shows solidarity and represents the fact that they are now one though marriage.
It’s also common for the Maid of Honour / Head Bridesmaid to make a small speech
- Thanking the bride for being part of their special day
- Compliment the bride and the ushers
- And, once again, raise a toast to the happy couple
5. Wish the happy couple the the best for the future
Following the story, it’s always a nice touch to wish the happy couple all the best for the future, and this leads nicely into the final tip for the speech.
6. Raise a glass, and toast the happy couple
To end the speech, it’s tradition to toast the newly weds. It’s an invitation to bring the room together and be part of your speech as they all raise a glass to ‘cheers’ a happy future for the bride and groom.
7. What is the correct order for the speeches
You might not have realised but there is a traditional order to wedding speeches which is as follows
- Father of the Bride and Father of the Groom
- The Groom
- The Bride
- Maid of Honour
- Best Man
Of course you don’t have to stick to this, but for those of you who are looking for a traditional wedding, it’s useful to know. During some receptions we’ve also seen the Bride stand up and make a speech - any why not!
In same sex weddings, it’s also not uncommon for both the partners to make a speech.
Remember, a good speech and confident delivery will be a memorable moment at any wedding. Being asked to speak at a wedding is a huge honour, and with the right preparation and following the basic tips and principles above, there is no reason why YOUR speech can’t be a huge success.
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