You’ve been asked to be the leader of a wedding party and you’re filled with joy, until you realize you must make the dreaded speech at the reception. You don’t enjoy public speaking, you’re not sure how to put your feelings into words, and you’re definitely not sure what jokes are appropriate. Avoid the worry and know the best tips to give a heartfelt speech that will make everyone love the bride as much as you do!
Jot Down Your Thoughts
To write the perfect speech, you have to start somewhere. To make it less intimidating, jot down ideas. This may include:
- Funny appropriate moments with the bride or groom
- How you first met each spouse
- Personal, positive feelings about the couple’s relationship
Writing down basic feelings gives you a basis for what to include in the speech without overwhelming you.
Consider Your Audience
When writing, it’s always important to consider your audience; however, it’s especially important in the context of a wedding speech. Although you and the bride/groom may have jokes or moments that aren’t appropriate, that doesn’t make it appropriate for the speech. Consider this:
Your speech must be appropriate for the most conservative person at the reception.
If the bride’s 78-year-old grandma wouldn’t be comfortable with the joke, save it for another time. You want to make the couple feel loved, not embarrassed to see their grandparents on Christmas.
Keep it Light
So, what type of jokes can you make? Lighthearted ones! Write about how the groom did your math homework so you could pass Algebra II or the time you all got food poisoning from that Chinese and it bonded you for life.
Keep it Short and Sweet
Most of us have sat through the wedding speech where the maid-of-honor babbled for ten minutes and left everyone looking at their watch. Don’t be that person. The speech should only be between 1-1.5 minutes if you use your time wisely.
Write Your Introduction
Decide how you want to introduce yourself to the attendees of the wedding. You’ll want to do this first thing when you get up and speak, so writing this first gives you a starting point. An introduction should include how your connected to the bride and groom. Are you a best friend from childhood, a college roommate, a sibling? Make this clear to guests who may not know!
Add Personal Feelings
Every couple has that one thing about them that makes everyone else envious- write about it.
Does the groom bring home pizza every time the bride has a bad day?
Does the couple exchange homemade gifts every Valentine’s Day instead of cheesy teddy bears?
Talk about why you think the couple is different from the rest. It’s their day and you want to make them feel special.
Organize Your Thoughts
By this point, you should have all of your ideas on paper. You did the hardest part! Now, organize it. Try to make each thought flow into the next like you’re just having a conversation with the attendees. Pro tip: spread out your jokes and funny stories! This will keep the audience more engaged and switch up the mood often.
Consider Your Toast
The end of every wedding speech should end with a toast to the couple. This is an opportunity to share your best wishes for the couple as they enter married life. Put your own twist on it!
Practice on a Friend
The best way to prepare for a speech is to give it. Practicing on a friend will help get out jitters, give you feedback on the lines that need improvement, and help you memorize your words. While you can have a paper in front of you while you speak, it’s best to not use it as a crutch. Instead, have it there just in case.
Enjoy the Day
The day of the wedding will fly by, especially as the leader of the wedding party. Try your best to take in the moment. Wedding speeches are a special occasion and you may not be blessed to do many more in your lifetime. Best of luck with your speech!