Someone you love is getting married, and you’ve just been asked to give a speech at the wedding. What an honor! But also, if you’re not used to giving speeches, what a nightmare! Public speaking can be scary, which is why many people prefer to avoid it. But when your bestie asks you to make a speech at his or her wedding, it’s time to rally. But now you’re wondering if you even know how to write a wedding speech! What makes some wedding speeches fun and memorable, and what makes others cringy and fall flat? We’ve got you. We’ve put together the ultimate guide for how to write a wedding speech, focusing on things you definitely should do, things you definitely should NOT do, and then how to deliver your killer wedding speech like a pro.
If you’re wondering how to write a wedding speech, here are a few “Do’s” to keep in mind.
If you don’t know how to write a wedding speech but the bride just asked you to give one, this is not a time to procrastinate. Public speaking is one of the number one fears many people have, so it’s likely you’ve avoided giving too many public speeches before this. And unless you’re a performer or a veteran improv comedian, you might not do too well winging this one. If you get nervous in front of an audience (as most of us do), the best defense against freezing up when you take the mic is being prepared.
As soon as you know you’ve been asked to give a speech at the wedding, begin jotting down notes immediately. Whenever you’re inspired by a thought of the couple or remember an anecdote that might be worth retelling, make note of it. This will help to give you a pool of ideas to draw from when you start writing down the speech.
Begin gathering ideas and writing the speech a couple of weeks to a month before the wedding. You’ll need time to edit, fine-tune it, and make it concise. And as wedding showers, bachelorette parties, and other wedding festivities begin, you might find there are entertaining stories from these events you want to add as well. If you want to write it all at once, you can do that too. However, make sure to sleep on it and come back with fresh eyes. You don’t want just “okay,” you want your speech to be heartfelt and meaningful.
You will also want to begin early to give yourself time to practice and rehearse your speech plenty of times.
No matter how large or small the wedding is, it’s likely you will not be familiar with many of the guests on one or both sides. And they won’t be familiar with you either. So don’t leave them guessing!
Make sure when you start to write a wedding speech to introduce yourself and mention how you know the couple. This will help them understand the context of your speech, which will also help it to be more well-received.
It’s also courteous to take this time to thank the hosts and other members of the wedding party for all the hard work that went into the event, and to thank guests for being there to support the newlyweds, especially those who had to travel far.
It’s also a good time to officially congratulate the newlyweds and offer them your personal well-wishes for their future. It is imperative that you don’t forget this part, because they are the whole reason you’re there and giving a speech!
Whether you are the maid of honor, the best man, father of the bride, or just a friend, you were asked to give a speech because of your close connection and relationship with either the bride or groom (or both).
And since you know your friend as well as you do, you probably have plenty of stories to share; so the next tip for how to write a wedding speech is don’t hesitate to make it personal and share those stories! This will also help guests get to know the other half of the couple they might not know as well or are just meeting for the first time. And those guests who do know them will love hearing some entertaining stories they might not have heard yet.
If you’re finding it difficult to come up with anything, a useful approach for how to write a wedding speech is to think of 3 positive defining traits or qualities of the bride or groom and recount three stories or examples that illuminate a time they exhibited these traits. These stories could be comedic, heartwarming, or both. Just make sure they are relevant and entertaining!
If you’re the maid of honor and have been chatting up the bride for the whole speech, part of how to write a wedding speech is to make sure at some point it circles around to the groom, too, and to the two of them as a couple.
Recount the time you met him, or how you remember talking about him with the bride in the beginning stages of their relationship. If you don’t know the groom all that well, talk about how good they are as a couple and about how happy he makes her.
And If you’re not a fan of the groom, this is not the time to air your grievances. Always keep it positive.
All good speeches have a good flow and take the audience along with it.
Don’t let your speech fall flat or jumble together in a haphazard confusion of disconnected anecdotes. Give it the structure of an overarching theme, with a beginning, a middle, and an end.
We are not talking about a novel here, just make sure there is a direction to where the speech is going, and that the destination, end, or sentiment is achieved. It doesn’t need to be Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator, but a three-act structure does help keep you grounded. Most people also follow a story easier when there is a clear direction for a story or speech.
The next thing to keep in mind when considering how to write a wedding speech is to make sure you consider who your audience is.
This is not the bachelor or bachelorette party. There will be a wide range of people present from children to the elderly, and from close friends of the bride and groom to casual acquaintances and coworkers. Make sure your speech is free of any crudeness that might not be fit for such a varied audience. Also, this isn’t the time to take a shot at any of the religious cermonies.
Be considerate and keep it positive and use language everyone can relate to.
You want your speech to be meaningful and memorable; but the wedding is not about you, and yours is not the only speech.
No one ever complains about a speech being too short, but they do begin to grumble if it runs on too long. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind when figuring out how to write a wedding speech is to keep your speech between 2-5 minutes long. Any longer than 5 minutes and you’ll lose everyone to thoughts of cake and whether or not to Cupid Shuffle later.
Don’t be afraid to be funny! Another tip for how to write a wedding speech is that if you’ve got a lighthearted, creative, joking side, use it and add humor to your speech! Everyone likes to be entertained.
This doesn’t mean you should scour the internet for generic wedding-themed jokes, but if you’ve got some good original material to use that helps relate a story about the bride or groom in a comedic way, do it. As long as you’re not making fun of the couple but having fun with them, jokes are great. Or you can even poke fun at yourself to illuminate a higher quality in your bestie. It’s all about making the newlyweds shine.
If you’re creative and have other talents, use them! If you are musical, bust out your instrument and/or vocal cords and make the speech in the form of a song! Use props, and get the other guests involved! The newlyweds will feel special because you created something for them, and the guests will love joining in the fun.
If entertaining isn’t your thing, that’s okay! Don’t force it – just be yourself. It’s okay to be simple and meaningful with your speech. Always keep in mind when you go to write a wedding speech that what’s important is that you are genuine and speak from the heart.
Hopefully, you found these tips for how to write a wedding speech helpful, and can start writing today! And stay tuned to our blog for the next part in this ultimate guide for how to write a wedding speech where we highlight a few things you should definitely avoid.
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