How to Write a Great Wedding Speech
Prepare a heartfelt speech and deliver a toast to remember
By Kimberly A. Laux
Speeches add an element of fun to a wedding reception and can help guests feel more connected to the celebration by hearing stories about the bride and groom. Although the couple can choose to have as many or as few speeches at their reception as they'd like, it traditionally is the duty of the best man to deliver the toast. However, today it's becoming more common for the maid of honor, groom, father of the bride and even the bride to say a few words. Regardless of which role you fill, make your wedding speech special, as it will be remembered as an important part of the occasion forever.
Jot down a few memories or interesting stories about the bride and groom. They don't have to be especially poignant or humorous; just consider what pops into your head. Look over the list and try to identify common themes that make these experiences stand out. Try to select one that best symbolizes their relationship. For example, if you notice the theme of "commitment" coming up often, talk about how the bride and groom stayed together despite distance or other challenges in their relationship. Make sure personal stories stay focused on the couple, not you.
Listeners usually remember the first and last parts of speeches, so be sure to start and finish strong. Make sure your opening demands your audience's attention and the ending resonates with guests. These are the places you can use humor and unique details about the couple. Choose your best stories from the original list you've written and use those to open and close your speech.
Once you've fleshed out a brief 5-minute speech, memorize it or write keywords on note cards. Ideally, you want to memorize the speech while delivering it in a way that sounds straight from the heart. However, if you think stage fright might cause you to draw a blank, it is better to use note cards. Use them only to jog your memory; do not read the entire speech.
Visualize places in the speech where you should use nonverbal actions to complement your words. For example, at places in the speech where you are sharing a story, look out at the guests. When you are addressing the bride or groom directly, make eye contact with them. You also can use the pitch and speed of your voice to emphasize certain parts of the speech.
Don't forget to include the toast. Speakers sometimes can get so caught up sharing their stories and optimism for the future that they forget to do the actual toast. You can let guests know it's time to physically toast the couple by leading into it by saying something like, "So, I ask you to raise your glasses..." or "Now, let's toast this joining of two wonderful families..."
About the Author
Kimberly A. Laux is a freelance writer and a contributor to DexKnows.
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