Develop a plan and imagine objective and potential outcomes.
There is nothing worse than not knowing what you want to get out of
giving your speech during a wedding. Do you want to be
funny? Do you want to thank the caterers? Or do you want to
bring out the emotions of the wedding guests?
Before you begin writing your wedding speech
or wedding toast you need
to work out what it is that you want to achieve. A rambling and
unfocused speech is more likely to make you feel terrible about giving
speeches and it can be difficult to listen to. Having a plan
makes the wedding speech better for both you and your listeners.
• Form a solid structure:
You’ll want to have a solid wedding speech structure such as a
beginning, middle and end to your speech. Listeners love to hear
a structured speech and the best speeches stick to this rule.
You’ll want to have a welcome in your wedding speech, a body, and a
conclusion. The conclusion of your speech can encourage a toast
or blessing of some kind.
• Saying too little is better than saying too much:
Keep your wedding speech simple and short, no longer than five to seven
minutes. A simple wedding toast is much shorter, usually 2 to 6
lines. If you don't know the difference between a wedding speech and
wedding toast then see our article on wedding speeches v. wedding toasts
• Keep your speech positive:
Keep the content of your wedding speech on a positive note and avoid
making any negative comments about previous wives and husbands,
girlfriends and boyfriends, or other ‘black sheep’ family
members. Remember that the wedding reception is supposed to be a
celebration and isn’t the right time to talk about uncomfortable
topics. Negative or hurtful comments can sour the mood of an
• Research your speech with personal information:
Personal stories can help you to connect with your audience in a more
meaningful way. You are going to want to reflect on at least three
different events that demonstrate how much your care for and love the
couple. If you do not research or reflect on the couple you may end up
writing a very general or vague speech. Personalized speeches are
often the most touching because they will be a true celebration of the
• Personal stories are not about you:
Keep personal anecdotes very short and use them to demonstrate a point
while at the same time not making them the focus of the wedding speech
and wedding toast. Let your audience visualize the moment the stories
took place by creating a brief sketch rather than a detailed portrait
of the story.
• Have a strong opening and closing:
People will many times remember the opening of a wedding speech and it
can make the difference between people listening to you or tuning you
out. The closing of your speech is important because it will
reinforce the key message you want the audience to go away.
Ending your speech with some sort of call to action can be a powerful
way to get your audience to act on your message. In the wedding
speech the call to action is easy. All that you have to do is ask
people to help you in toasting the families, wedding party, or wedding
• Avoid consuming too much alcohol before you give your speech:
You need to be alert if you are going to make a good and lasting
wedding speech. Save the alcoholic celebrations until after your speech
so that you don’t say or do anything silly. Being intoxicated while
giving a speech makes it appear that you do not care about or respect
the wedding party.
• Make eye contact and use simple notes for recall:
Use index cards with key points if you are planning to make a longer
speech. Avoid reading it directly and maintain eye contact with your
audience as much as possible because it shows that you are being
sincere. Lack of eye contact is a major problem in speeches as it
gives the impression that you do not care for your audience.
• Practice and rehearse:
Practice your speech or at least get some feedback from someone you
trust beforehand. Recording and listening to your speech is the
fastest way to improve your speaking skills, check for inconsistencies,
and help you memorize the speech. Practicing is also one of the best
ways to be polite to the audience as it shows that you care enough
about your listeners to provide them with the best speech you can
• Don’t share too much personal information:
It is customary that some stories about the wedding couple are shared
at the wedding. In fact, in many cases, rather personal, funny,
or embarrassing stories about the couple are shared. However, you
should be sure that any story that you share has not been told to you
in confidence. Remember: your goal is to make the audience feel
good, not embarrassed.
• It’s all about the Bride and Groom:
Nervous wedding speech givers will sometimes end up talking more about
themselves than the wedding couple. While it is very likely that
many of the stories and reflections you know also include you, and
while you are sharing your own ideas and feelings, be sure that you
focus on the couple and not on your own role in their lives.
• Pay attention to your audience:
forget that weddings are all about the guests at the receptions as well
as the Bridal party. Try to avoid making off-color or questionable
comments during your wedding speech and wedding toasts. No matter
how funny you think a story is make sure that it will not offend anyone
before you share it with the whole room.
• Never force a wedding speech:
Many people think that they are expected to give a very funny or a very
emotional speech at a wedding even if that sort of speech isn’t their
style. If you are not funny your funny speech may seem forced or,
worse, insincere. Stick with the type of words that suit you and
your sincerity will show through and be much appreciated by all.