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Being called on to give a wedding speech?

Helpful Tips for Giving a Great Wedding Speech

Nervous bridesmaid giving a wedding toast

So you’ve been called on to give a Wedding speech? You’re the best man, maid of honor, parent, or a very close family member or friend. You’re trusted, and that’s the first thing you should recognize; that awareness alone is a game changer. It’s a chance to shine another light on the festive occasion and leave a lasting impression on the newlyweds and their guests. With a few helpful tips and a little bit of preparation, you can deliver a great wedding speech that’ll be remembered for all the right reasons.

Wedding Speech How To

Know your Audience

Before you even think of getting your speech on paper first take a moment to consider your audience. This take is especially important with the younger class of speech givers; the couple’s life doesn’t just consist of peers in your age group so your speech must cover a wide range in age gaps consisting of grandparents, parents, older siblings, cousins, and even family friends from all ages. Your speech, to some degree, will resonate with all of them. Starting with this at the center should add that personal touch that can go a long way in making your speech memorable.

Preparations, Laying the ground work.

Start by organizing your thoughts, then create a simple timeline. It doesn’t have to be a novel; a speech covering anywhere from 2-5 minutes is perfect for an occasion where multiple speeches are being given (and people might just want to dance the rest of the night away anyhow!). Key points are what you want to cover, this can also include well-wishes, anecdotes, and special memories you want to share. Want to share a funny, but humiliating memory? Our next step will cover that.

Keep it Tasteful, Keep is positive.

Humor is great, so we don’t want to discourage that, but remember that this is a joyous and memorable occasion (an expensive one for many couples). You want the guests and newlyweds smiling, not cringing; this is easy when you avoid embarrassing or inappropriate stories.

I filmed a wedding a few years ago where the best man (who was drunk) started telling drunk-college stories, oversharing, and ultimately humiliating the groom (who later asked that I remove any footage of the best man from the film altogether); this isn’t what anyone wants for a trusted friend or family member– take my word for it.

P.S. Their parents are in the audience (and maybe even their grandparents) so please avoid any talk of their bedroom “performance.” It’s tacky. We want positive, and tasteful. 

Practicing giving a wedding speech

Practice Makes Perfect

This one should be obvious but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spoken to the chosen toast givers and they just say “eh, I’ll just wing it!.” Winging it works best for those who regularly speak in front of people and crowds; if that isn’t you, just rehearse and you’ll be fine.  

Rehearse, practice, and you’ll eventually begin to memorize. You can do this in front of a mirror, recording yourself, or reciting to a friend or family member for feedback. The more it’s done, the more confident you’ll feel when you’re called up to the occasion. 

Speak from your heart

The keyword here is Authenticity. Share the genuine feelings and well-wishes that come from your heart. These words, born out of the love you have for the newlyweds will resonate with them and their guests, creating a more emotional connection. 

Yes, this can be practiced.

Keep it short & sweet

Keep your speech within a reasonable timeframe. A wedding speech that is too long can lose the audience’s attention, so aim for a duration of about 3-5 minutes.

A wedding speech that is too long can (and will likely) lose the audience’s attention, so aim to keep your speech within a reasonable timeframe. Wedding vendors suggest 3-5 minutes.

You don’t want to be seen as the rambler. 

End it on a high note

Conclude your speech with a memorable and uplifting message. Offer a toast to the couple, wish them a lifetime of happiness, and invite everyone to join in raising their glasses.

If done with love and care, your speech should build to a beautiful moment with a memorable and uplifting message; this is where you offer a toast to the couple, wishing them a lifetime of happiness while inviting everyone in the audience to raise a glass. Tasteful.

Confidence is Important

Will you be nervous? Naturally, but remember, the guests are there to support you because they’re their to support the wedding. Take a deep breath, stand up straight, and remember to speak slowly and clearly. If it helps to make eye contact, pick your spots and you’ll come across confidently and poised. 

Personal Touch

Consider bringing a small prop or visual aid, like a photograph, a memento, or a family heirloom, to add a personal touch to your speech. It can make your words even more special.

A memento, family heirloom, or even an old photograph can bring more meaning to a speech. You’re using inside knowledge and inviting everyone to partake of it, even if it’s something special shared between the speech giver and the bride/groom. 

Ref: At a wedding in 2022, the Maid of Honor presented a penny for luck because it reminded them of the confidence instilled in them as children by their father (who had passed before the couple was engaged). You can see the referenced video and speech, beginning at 3:27 – Cabo Wedding at Sandos Resort.

Emotions

Weddings are totally the space for emotions. Be prepared, you may shed some tears, you may see it happening in the audience, and hopefully with the couple. Embrace that; it’s depth, and levels of sincerity in your speech.

In the end, giving a wedding speech is an opportunity to share your love and best wishes with the newlyweds. With careful planning, a touch of humor, and a heartfelt delivery, your speech can be a cherished memory for the bride and groom, and a highlight of their special day. So, take a deep breath, smile, and let your words celebrate love and happiness!

In the end, giving your speech is the perfect set of circumstances to share your love and best wishes for your friends/family, the newlyweds. With careful planning, some tasteful humor, and a delivery full of heart, your speech can be a cherished memory for the bride and groom, and a highlight of their most special day.

“May your aim be as true as your heart is pure.”

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Ricky Hurtado Wedding Videographer personal avatar

A SoCal creative and an Orange County Wedding videographer and photographer, Ricky films weddings in Los Angeles, Orange County, across California, and from time to time in other parts of the world. He films a wide array of wedding celebrations, ranging from intimate elopements to grand three-day extravaganzas and beyond. His lens captures the essence of both traditional weddings and romantic destination getaways.

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