Inspiration

12 Hints & Tips for Delivering the Perfect Wedding Day Speech

Gentleman wearing a blue jacket with blue patterned tie giving a wedding day toast outside a marquee using a microphone

Hints & Tips for Preparing for the Wedding Day speech

Here’s the thing about Wedding Speeches and Toasts; they are an integral and traditional part of any wedding day. Toasts form a chance to share memories from childhood, romantic stories of how the couple met through to funny anecdotes. With speeches and toasts being such an essential part of the day, many of the speakers naturally feel a degree of anxiety.  For this reason, I’ve created my hints and tips guide to delivering that perfect wedding day speech.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re giving the best mans speech, father of the bride’s speech, groom’s wedding speech, bridesmaid speech or any other toast. I’ve got you covered and there are some specific tips for certain individuals giving toasts that can be found on my other posts.

Tips for Writing Your Speech

Tip 1 – Mindmap & Brainstorm

Before you even start writing a wedding day speech jot down a few critical things about the person or couple. How do you know them? How did they meet? Any funny stories? Words you associate with their personalities and so on.  This can be a great place to refer back to when stuck.

Tip 2 – Make Contact With Other People Delivering Speeches

Get in touch with the other people who will be making the speeches on the wedding day.  Together figure out between you how to cover all the essential bases. Discuss what areas you will each cover. Knowing what jokes, anecdotes, stories and toasts each of you is planning will ensure there is no repetition. Figure out who will thank who during their speeches, so again there is no unnecessary repetition. Together you can tell a well-rounded story, that allows for introductions, entertains, and flows seamlessly.

Tip 3 – Keep It Short

You know yourself as a guest at weddings there is nothing worse than a speech that goes on forever. People soon lose interest, and you don’t want to be remembered as the one that waffled on. No more than 2-3 pages of typed A4 size 14 font should do it. If using prompts/notecards and freestyling try to stick to about five minutes if possible.

Tip 4 – Keep It Authentic

Cookie cutter speeches downloaded from the internet are a total no-no. Get some ideas from the internet by all means, but don’t rely on them – especially not the jokes. The guests will be able to spot the lack of authenticity immediately.  Focus on the personal touches. How do you know the couple? How long have you known them? How much do they mean to you or how do you feel about them? Were you there when they met? Do you know the details of the proposal?  Guests will appreciate your connection to the couple that comes from conveying this, and will naturally find your speech heartfelt.

Don’t feel under pressure to make your speech funny. Being funny doesn’t come naturally to everyone. If you’re not naturally comedic, it can appear unauthentic and can tank your toast with guests. Instead, share your genuine thoughts and stories about the couple and keep the toasts sincere and matching to your personality you will be loved by the guests regardless.

Tip 5 – Play To The Crowd

Remember when planning your speech you want to sound as if you’re talking to the guests, not giving them a presentation or reading from a script so try to deliver your speech naturally. Some people find it helpful record themselves talking about the couple and telling their stories, then using that within their speeches if not freestyling.

If you are going for jokes, make sure they are appropriate to your audience. Something that was hilarious on a night out with mates may not translate well to a wedding with Grandma and Grandpa or young children sat there.  Remember a few simple rules, it’s never funny to make racist, sexist, sexually suggestive, obscene, offensive or any other ‘poor taste’ joke at a wedding.  You will definitely offend someone.  By all means, tease and poke fun at the couple, but don’t hurt anyone’s feelings.  With this in mind leave out the stories of exes or very embarrassing or intimate things you know about them.  You want to deliver your toast, so the couple and guests feel great at the end of it and not in anyway humiliated or offended.

Tip 6 – Remember You Are Celebrating A Couple

Make sure when you write your speech so that it includes and celebrates them as a couple and not just the person you are closest to.

Tip 7 – Practise, Practise, Practise!

Start writing your speech as soon as you can. This will give you plenty of time to practice it.

As soon as you’re confident it’s pretty much complete practice giving it in front of someone else at least once. That individual will provide you with some encouragement and may be able to give you some pointers, about anything that may need altering or isn’t appropriate.

Then the old adage practice makes perfect is true. Practice it every day. The more familiar you are with your toast, the more confident you will be when delivering it. Practising your speech will give you a pointer to the emotional parts, or that joke or word that you struggle to say clearly. If you find a hump, then you’ll naturally know to take a deep breath before that section.

Practising your toast will mean when you deliver it you’ll be less likely you lose where you are in the flow of the speech or forget the words or make mistakes. You will be much more relaxed allowing a more ad-lib and natural approach to its delivery.

Tips for Delivering Your Speech

Tip 8 – Use Cue Cards

Use cue cards and avoid using your mobile phone. They don’t look good in photos at all.  Also, you’ll naturally find yourself looking down at a mobile more than engaging with your guests so ditch the digital and go analogue.

Tip 9 – Avoid Alcohol

While it can be tempting to have a few sneaky drinks to help with the nerves, this can often be a mistake.  Have no more than one or two drinks before giving your toast, so you give yourself the best chance of delivering it flawlessly. There is always plenty of time to drink, and party after your speech is over.

Tip 10 – Remeber to Take it Slowly and Breathe!

Take a few deep breaths before you begin.  When we are stressed humans naturally have a tendency to take quick shallow breaths.  This often results in an adrenaline spike which can increase a feeling of being on edge or jittery.  Furthermore, when your breathing is stressed it will make your voice also sound stressed when delivering your toast.   You’ll also be more likely to make you babble and speak quickly, making it difficult for the guests to hear and follow you.

Be conscious of how quickly you are speaking, don’t be afraid to pause.  Take some deep breaths before and during your speech.  This will naturally help you relax, get energy behind your toast and not rush through it.

Tip 11 – Use a Microphone!

Most wedding venues will provide a microphone for speeches.  Use it to ensure everyone can hear you.  If there is also a videographer, make sure you request a lapel mic, or a feed from the sound desk before you give your speech to ensure your toast is recorded for the couple.

Tip 12 – Know When & Where You’re Delivering Your Speech!

I recently wrote a blog post on when is best for wedding day speeches so find out from the couple in advance, when and where the speeches are happening.  This lets you mentally prepare, and be in the right place at the right time.

I hope you’ve found these tips helpful.  Just remember to always speak from the heart and to be yourself and you’ll do fine! Ultimately, wedding guests are generally the easiest crowds to give a speech to.  They’ve probably had a few drinks by this point in the day, and they are all invested in the couple as much as you are and want you to succeed.  So if you ever have to give a speech in your life you really couldn’t ask for an easier gig than a wedding. By the time it’s all over, you’ll be wondering what you were worried about.

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