How To Give A Great Wedding Speech

woman giving a wedding toast

As the best man, maid of honor or other, a fantastic wedding toast may be in your future.

Wedding season for best friends isn't all bachelor parties, rehearsal dinners and hookups with the falsely libidinous. It's about responsibility. It's keeping drunk uncles from falling down stairs. It's holding onto rings in an outfit sometimes without pockets, administering tepid water to cold feet, telling Bridezilla that the citizens of Tokyo are sick of having their view wrecked, not complaining about an outfit that's so hideous it must be a personal attack, and it's giving a great wedding speech. Read: I Was A Groomzilla: Advice From The Trenches

You don't have to be a good writer, performer or "confident in your own skin" if you follow these simple rules:

  • Keep it short, silly. "They" say that brevity is the soul of wit; I'd say that the KFC Double Down has proved that you can have too much of a thing. If giving a speech at the rehearsal dinner, keep it under-four minutes. If at the reception, aim for sub-three minutes. I good joke is to start with a huge stack of note cards and suggest people grab drinks before you're underway.
  • Write thrice, practice twice, perform once. You may have a lot of great ideas, so write a couple of different versions at least one week before the date. As you write you'll naturally come up with other great things to add or subtract. Make sure to read it aloud and at full volume at least twice—some of your words may be awkward when placed in proximity to each other and it'll take at least one read to develop cadence. A mirror is not necessary but a trusted listener is good call. 
  • Say at least one humorous thing. Your natural inclination is may to be to roast someone. Proceed with care and be VERY cautious when dropping the the funny bone on your friend or family member's spouse unless you know them really well. Make sure that you avoid sex, serious character flaws or major downers:
    • OK: "Anyone whose seen Shauna's music collection knows her taste is, um, questionable. Craig, we're all in your debt. Seriously, I hope you were in charge of the band."
    • NOT OK: "Shauna has dated so many losers. When she was drinking everyday, she would 'date' eh-nee-one. I guess you have to sleep with a lot of frogs…"