So, you’ve been asked to give a wedding speech. If you haven’t done much public speaking, the thought of getting up in front of hundreds of strangers may have you in a panic. Despite your nerves, it’s totally possible to write and deliver a memorable wedding speech, even if you’ve never done one before!
I’ve gathered some brilliant wedding speech tips, and thrown in a few helpful links (including a link to me delivering the intro to a Maid of Honour speech I recently gave – you’ll love it). Take a peek at these very practical tips and then come back to tell me how your speech went!
And by that, we mean: don’t start with “For anybody who doesn’t know me”.
Whether you are the bride, the groom, a family member or you’re in the wedding party, the way you start your speech is really important.
You could simply introduce yourself: “Hi, I’m Esther and I’m the bride’s sister!”.
If you’re in the mood, you could try something cheeky: “Hi everyone, I’m Rory and I’m Kelly’s dad. I know it’s customary for the father of the bride to do a speech… although I never actually got a formal invitation to the wedding, so let’s hope I haven’t accidentally eaten somebody else’s meal!”
Or you could do what I did and start your speech by making everyone laugh: Watch my Maid of Honour speech introduction on TikTok.
Do your research
As a toast-giver or speech-deliverer, it’s up to you to make sure you know what is expected of you!
Here’s what you need to know:
- What should I cover in my speech? For example, the Best Man typically compliments the bridesmaids on how the look, while the Father of the Bride is expected to thank guests for attending the wedding.
- When am I delivering my speech? You want to know who is speaking before you, as well as which portion of the night is designated for speeches. Until then, hold off on the drinks.
- What equipment will be available? A microphone on a mic stand? Or just a microphone? A pulpit to keep your notes? If you’re planning any visual aids, will there be a projector and screen?
- How long should my speech be? I always recommend short and sweet, no matter who you are. Aim for 3 minutes and for the sake of everybody’s sanity, do not go over 10 minutes.
Speak from the heart
It’s important to cover the bits that are expected of you, as mentioned above, but guests really want to hear your heart-warming stories.
Talk about your friendship with the couple, share funny stories and don’t be afraid to get sentimental. Heck, you may even get emotional.
Avoid inside jokes
Nobody wants to feel like they’re on the outside looking in. If your wedding speech is chock full of inside jokes, the couple may know what you’re talking about but the rest of the room will be confused.
Save your inside jokes for the wedding card, because you want everybody in the room to enjoy your speech.
Use cue cards
…but don’t read your speech.
Cue cards are there to help trigger your memory if you get too nervous and forget what you’d planned to say. They are not designed to read every sentence of your speech, word for word.
So, for your peace of mind, jot down notes and have them on cue cards just in case.
Include something Irish
One way you can inject a little Irish touch into the wedding is with a beautiful Irish blessing. You could weave this into your speech in the form of helpful advice or even as a way of ending your speech (more on this later).
Something like this beautiful Irish blessing:
“May you have love that never ends,
lots of money, and lots of friends.
Health be yours, whatever you do,
and may God send many blessings to you!”
A little bit of humour is a great way to break the ice, particularly if you’re nervous. You don’t need to be a stand up comedian, delivering one joke after another, but you can include some funny bits to get guests giggling.
Opt for a real-life funny story about the couple, or choose a funny quote to throw into the mix as a humour piece of advice.
I love this one:
“Your wife won’t start an argument with you if you’re cleaning.”
Related: Funny Quotes For Your Wedding Speech
Know your audience
You want to be funny, but you also want to keep your wedding speech granny- and child-friendly. So no swearing or saucy jokes!
Remember that this is a wedding speech, so it’s not a chance to bring up ex-boyfriends or tell jokes and stories that would embarrass the couple.
Stare at the wall
Seriously, this tip will save you from panicking when you get up to speak.
When you start to talk, just talk to the back wall until you’ve settled. Take a moment, be yourself, be sincere, and relax!
Grab the mic
Depending on the size of the room and the number of guests you’re speaking in front of, having a microphone can really take off the pressure. The volume at which you speak will no longer need to be a concern of yours. Just make sure you either have a mic stand to hold the mic in place, or somewhere to keep your cue cards, so you aren’t juggling the two. Practice holding the microphone so that it’s close enough to your mouth that it will pick up the sound of your voice, but not so close that you cover your face.
Prepare your ending
“Um… thank you?” is probably not the greatest way to end a speech, so plan on ending with a toast. Saying “To the happy couple” while raising your glass is a strong way to end your speech. While guests are clinking glasses, the MC can get ready to welcome the next person giving a speech or making a toast.
Alternatively, you could end your speech with a word of wisdom: “Say ‘I love you’ to each other every day.”
Or finish off with something cheeky: “May all your ups and downs come only in the bedroom.”
Related: How To End Your Wedding Toast
Featured image credit: Aidan Beatty Photography