Making a wedding speech can be an incredibly nerve wracking experience, whether you’re the maid of honor, best man, or somebody else who has been asked to give a toast. It’s important you know the dos and don’ts of making a wedding speech before you get up there and pour your heart out. If you don’t, your toast could end up being met by a tumbleweed or two. Read on, and you’ll end up making a speech that really comes from the heart and impresses all who hear it.
Sound good? Take a look…
Do Be Yourself
Don’t attempt to be a stand up comedian if you’ve always been the shy type. If you are usually a stand up comedian, don’t attempt to be all serious. Of course including both humour and seriousness in the speech is important, but you need to make sure that above all else, you are yourself. You’ll look and feel way more comfortable up there. Make sure your speech feels right to you while you’re writing it and that you feel comfortable saying it beforehand.
If you’re unsure, you could always ask a friend to watch you do it beforehand and give you pointers.
Don’t Go Too Far
Telling stories in a speech is great and can keep your listeners engaged. However, you need to make sure you don’t go too far. There are some stories that could cause a bit of an argument if one half of the couple doesn’t already know about them, and some family members aren’t going to want to hear all about dark pasts, no matter how funny you think they are. Know when to draw the line – this isn’t the time to stitch anybody up!
Do Tell Stories
Telling stories in your speech is a must. Of course they need to be appropriate, so think back and figure out what you can include to back up your descriptions. You might stand there and use all kinds of descriptive words to talk about the couple or a member of the partnership, but if you don’t back them up with stories, they’ll sound very cliche.
Don’t Include Private Jokes
You might think one of your private jokes is absolutely hilarious, but if you begin talking about it at length and only a few members of the audience know what you’re talking about, people will stop listening and your speech will be a flop. Keep people engaged by talking about things they can understand.
Do Make It Funny
If you can, see if you can make 70% of the speech humour, to around 30% sentimental. You may get very emotional and want to pour out your feelings, but no wedding guest ever walked away from a speech full of sentiment and nothing else saying how good it was! The best wedding speeches are always funny.
Don’t Mention A Touchy Subject
There may be a bit of an elephant in the room in terms of religion, for instance – whatever you do, don’t mention it. Don’t mention anything that may be touchy for either party, including exes. If you’re not sure what on earth to talk about, you can find best man speech examples to help you figure it out.
Do Get It The Right Length
You can’t keep it too short, otherwise, what’s the point? Give people a little entertainment! That being said, making the speech any longer than 5 minutes is sure to bore the socks off your listeners. Give yourself a maximum of 5 minutes to say what you want to say, and do your best not to waffle on too much.
Don’t Get Hammered
Having one drink for a little courage before your speech is fine, but any more than that and you run the risk of being a slurring mess, straying from what you were going to say, and making a show of yourself/the couple. They asked you to do this important job and you accepted, so do them a favor and stay sober until your speech is over. One drink is plenty for a little courage. You may be nervous, but find other ways to cope rather than turning to alcohol! Meditation and deep breathing work a treat.
Do Keep It About Your Friend/The Couple
You may have been with the couple through thick and thin, but talking about yourself too much is a no-no. People will get bored. This isn’t about you. Count the I’s in your speech, and if there’s too many, cut them down.
Don’t Show Up Unprepared
You’ll be even more nervous if you show up unprepared. Practice your speech in the mirror to get used to how you’ll say things and perfecting the flow of your speech, making sure you speak at a good volume and pace so that everybody can understand. Write it in advance, and don’t attempt to ‘speak from the heart’. You’ll usually end up standing up in front of all of those people, losing your train of thought and not having any idea of what to say. Even something hastily scrawled out the night before will be better and help you to stay focused and stop you from going over the 5 minutes.
Do Talk About Both People
If you’re making a speech for the groom, it can be tempting just to talk about him, and vice versa. Try to avoid doing this. You may be best friends with one of them, but try your best to include both of them. Leaving one out won’t go down well and you want to be inclusive!
Hopefully, these pointers help you to make a fantastic speech or toast. It can be a little scary, but remember, these people are just like you. Take deep breaths, practice beforehand, and be yourself. Nobody is expecting you to write an Oscar winning speech or become the next big public speaker. Doing your best is all you can do. Just remember – if you’re bored saying it, your audience will be bored listening to it!
Good luck and enjoy it!