Cheers! How-to Write the Best Wedding Speech Ever

October 1, 2010 at 12:49 pm Leave a comment


photo courtesy of english-wedding.com

Every wedding has one.  Some are given by the best man; some by the maid of honor, and still others by the bride or groom’s parents.  They may make you laugh; they may make you cry, but one thing they certainly should NOT do is make you cringe.

I’m – of course – talking about the inevitable wedding speeches!

Wedding speeches are perhaps one of the most memorable aspects of your big day.  It is, or at least it should be, an interesting insight to your relationship as a couple, a wish of goodwill and a toast in to your love.  And because whatever the speech-giver says is generally amped across a microphone and loud speakers, it’s important that it’s good!  So, here are a few tips on how to make it count:

First, let’s start off with what you should avoid at all costs.  Humorous anecdotes are wonderful, but keep in mind that embarrassing does NOT always equal funny.  Reminiscing about senior year spring break or that one time the groom went streaking through the frat house may make some (namely the bride and groom and more than likely Great Aunt Edna) uncomfortable.  

On the other hand, don’t be boring.  An easy way to find a compromise is through genuine sincerity.  Try taking the emotional high road.  Whether you choose to be humorous or sentimental, make sure that any stories or memories you have about the couple are relevant, sincere and stay on topic.

Another thing to consider when beginning the speech-writing process is time frame.  It’s difficult to wax poetic about a couple’s love in five minutes, but any longer than that and guests will be agitated by your long-windedness.  (Heck, they may even get restless after 2, pending on how many people feel the need to speak after!) 

That being said, do not go into a speech without a plan… no matter how skilled you think you are at impromptu.  Because even the most brilliant “Who’s Line is it Anyway?” stars can stutter after a couple drinks.  

When you actually start to construct your dialogue, think back to your middle school speech class: every speech should have a beginning, middle and end.  Begin your toast by introducing yourself and your relation to the bride and groom. Talk about the beautiful ceremony to create an easy gateway to lead into the meat of your speech.

The Middle.  This is where your original content should come from.  Memories are great, but too many inside jokes will leave those on the outside unsettled.  So, stick with subjects that will personalize your toast and maybe garner a few laughs and tears.  Having the best of both worlds will create a well-rounded speech. So for every joke you tell, balance it with a genuine, maybe even tearful, sentiment of love.  Also, avoid hard subjects like the economic state or politics and harsh language like cursing or vulgarity.

Finally, finish with a bang!  If you’ve racked your brain for more perspective only to come up empty-handed, it’s time to bring in the experts. Quotes, whether they’re spoken by a famous author or a member of the family, serve as the perfect standby conclusion. Some great examples of touching quotes:

  • “Marriage is not a ritual or an end. It is a long, intricate, intimate dance together and nothing matters more than your own sense of balance and your choice of partner.” – Amy Bloom
  • “A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, and always with the same person.” – Mignon McLaughlin
  • “Marriage: that I call the will of two to create the one who is more than those who created it.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
  •  “We have the greatest pre-nuptial agreement in the world.  It’s called love.” – Gene Perret
  • “A happy marriage is a long conversation which always seems too short.” – Andre Maurois
  • “A happy home is one in which each spouse grants the possibility that the other may be right, though neither believes it.” – Don Fraser
  • “To laugh often and love much… to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to give one’s self… this is to have succeeded.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

At this time, you will cue all of the wedding guests to join you in a toast to the bride and groom by raising their champagne flutes and wishing them eternal joy and happiness. And hopefully you’ll hear cheers and clapping, not crickets.

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