Writing a speech for a wedding can be super intimidating for a lot of people. If you aren’t used to writing speeches and especially if you aren’t used to public speaking, a wedding speech can be stress-inducing.
If you are a maid of honor, best man or someone special who gets to speak at the reception, you may be wondering the best way to go about your speech. Getting started is often the hardest part, but knowing what to fill the speech with, what is appropriate, how long to make it and all of the other small parts to a great speech can be overwhelming.
If you are worried about writing the perfect speech, first know that as cheesy as it sounds, as long as it comes from the heart, it will be meaningful and loved. Most of the time couples and guests want to hear the cheesy, heartwarming stuff. Make your speech your own and make it specific to the relationship you have with the couple.
With that being said, here are some tips on writing a fantastic wedding speech!
Getting started on writing a great, funny and heartwarming speech can be difficult when you’re staring at a blank page. That is why it is much easier to start small. A great way to begin is by thinking about who you are acknowledging. This will usually be the person in the couple who you are closest to. You can start by making a list of great qualities this person possesses and then begin thinking of some personal stories that support those qualities.
If you are struggling to come up with ideas, it can be helpful to reach out to an additional family member or friend that is close to the person. This can help you gain some more insights and also get your creativity flowing.
To give your speech some great structure, use two or three of the qualities/stories you’ve listed as your key pieces throughout. This may seem complicated to plan out, but it is actually quite easy. Use the structure of quality one, story one, quality two, story two, etc.
What to include
It is helpful to start your speech by mentioning who you are. This includes how you know or are related to the couple. Oftentimes guests will not know the entire wedding party, which makes it helpful to start out with your relationship to the couple. You can also begin by thanking the guests or other members of the wedding party. You can add in a thank you to the hosts of the occasion, whether this is the couple or the couple’s parents.
An important thing to remember when you are trying to decide what stories and jokes to include is who your audience is. While you will likely be very close to the couple and have a lot of jokes and stories, remember that your audience, the other guests, will not be included in those. Of course, it should be personal, but be sure that your speech doesn’t turn into one giant inside joke that only a few people will understand.
Another thing to remember is to celebrate both newlyweds. It is easy to focus mainly on the person you are close to, which is okay, but don’t forget to mention the other half of the couple, as well. Remember that you are celebrating the two as a couple, and not just the singular person. Include nice comments about both and be sure to focus on making people feel good.
The rule of thumb when it comes to time for your wedding speech is not to go over five minutes. Also, steer clear of any crude language. Remember that you are not in a bar amongst your friends, but surrounded by guests that are friends and family of all ages and demographics. This usually means no swearing and no explicit stories regardless of how entertaining you think that they are.
Be sure to keep the speech on track and do not mention any of the couple’s past relationships. This can make things awkward. Try not to make fun of the new husband or wife. Poking fun is playful and entertaining, but be sure not to take it too far. The point of the speech is to celebrate the couple.
In order to remind you of what is coming next and to help you relax and let the speech flow, keep a very brief cue card. Keep this short so that you are just using it as a reference and not reading directly from the paper. Be sure not to rush your speech. Take a few deep breaths and pace yourself. A great way to nail your timing is by practicing your speech beforehand. The more comfortable you are with what you’re saying, the easier it will flow and will prevent it from being too fleeting and from rambling on. Lastly, road test your jokes. Be sure that they are as funny and appropriate as you think they are, but also don’t take it too seriously. Don’t forget that you are all there to have fun!
When writing your speech, do your best to speak from your heart. If your speech is personal and heartfelt, it is likely to be a hit. Don’t forget to finish off your time with a full glass and a toast to the happy couple!