On the hunt for wedding speech tips? Stop struggling with writing your wedding speech and use these toast-worthy tips as your guide
Whether you’re the groom, best man, father of the bride or even planning a bride’s speech, these words of wisdom will have you well on your way to delivering an epic speech in moments. Check our top wedding speech tips below.
14 Epic Wedding Speech Tips
- If you’re the first to speak, remember to introduce yourself and your relation to the couple. Will your speech follow another? Then acknowledge the introducer who spoke before you.
- Grooms can score serious brownie points for using their new titles as husband and wife, or Mr and Mrs. Brides love to hear this when their grooms give their speech.
- Keep brief cue cards to hand to remind you of what comes next, so you can relax and the speech flows.
- Cue cards also stop you from burying your head in paper – your guests want to see and hear you.
- Don’t rush – it’s easy to speed up when you’re nervous, so take deep breaths and pace yourself.
- If you’re hosting a large wedding or have chosen a venue with high ceilings, consider using microphones to ensure everyone can hear you.
- Practise your speech for the perfect timing. It shouldn’t feel too fleeting, but, for the sake of your guests, it’s best not to ramble on for hours on end.
- Anecdotes and stories are essential components of a quality speech – just make sure you string them together with a common theme.
- Make sure your speech celebrates and includes both newlyweds, and not just the person you are closest to.
- While you should definitely write the speech ahead of time, we love it when grooms leave a small space free to express how they feel right there and then – emotions that only actually getting married can bring.
- Road test your jokes. This will help you give any overly inappropriate innuendos or references to ex-partners the axe before it’s too late.
- But equally, don’t be too serious! Speeches at weddings and presentations at work are not the same thing.
- Don’t forget to finish with a toast, say the right thank yous and oversee the giving of gifts where required.
- Enlist an ensemble of visual aids or props if you wish, but ensure your venue is geared up for the technology and have a trial run in advance!
Looking for more specific wedding speech tips and advice? Check out the tailored advice below
Wedding Speech Tips for the Father of the Bride
Who’s you new son in law?
Although your primary purpose is to talk about your daughter in your wedding speech, don’t make the mistake of forgetting to mention your new son-in-law. Love him or loathe him, half the guests are there for him and they’ll be wanting to know how happy you are for them both.
Welcome the guests
It’s a nice gesture for the father of the bride to mention those who’ve travelled far and anyone of a significant age. I.E the very old or the very young.
Keep it short
Yours is the first wedding speech so don’t let it drag on too long. Make sure it’s no more than 10 minutes (timed when speaking slowly) which on paper is about 1,000 words.
Managing the nerves
If the big moment has arrived and you’re feeling terrified, then before you start the speech, ask the people at the back of the room if they can hear you. It’s an old trick, but it allows you to get those first few words out, will get a response from the crowd, and should help you settle.
Don’t forget to take a glass with you to make a toast to the Bride and Groom.
Humour vs Sincerity:
Too many Best Men write their wedding speeches with a bunch of friends over a few beers. This can be fun at the time but often results in a speech high on rude stories and innuendo but low on sincerity. Strike a balance. The audience will enjoy some jokes at the Groom’s expense but in context. This demonstrates he’s a good friend with some decent qualities.
Ask the Groom’s parents for stories from his childhood. Also ask his siblings for their version of events from the early years, his fiancée about her first impressions of him and the stags for any memorable stories. Do this to get a good mixture of content.
It’s not all about you
It may be tempting to focus your speech on your own relationship with the Groom, but if you labour the point too heavily it can sound like narcissism. This is not your chance to boast about how close you are, how funny you find each other or how many girls you’ve both slept with.
At the same time don’t gush
If you’re the emotional type you might be tempted to use your speech to thank him publicly for everything he’s done for you. Be careful. Very few people will care and you risk appearing self-indulgent.
Don’t be put off by a heckle
The rest of your audience will want to hear what you have to say. And most of them will be as irritated as you are by the uninvited interruption. Smile, pause and carry on.
The Groom’s Speech
Avoid a long list of thank yous
Nothing can be more dull or unoriginal than a speech that resembles a school register of thanks. Stick to those that really need a mention.
Having said that
Don’t forget to thank your new in-laws (particularly if they are hosting the wedding). Also remember to thank your own parents. This is an opportunity to thank them for all those years of help and support.
Don’t spend more time building up the Best Man over the Bride
Although it’s nice to reference the Best Man and poke a bit of fun at him, remember that your wedding day is about your relationship with your Bride, not your best mate.
Liaise with her Dad
Assuming he is speaking before you, it’s worth checking that you are not going to be duplicating too many thanks or anecdotes. Check what he is saying about your Bride, how you met, and the proposal.
She’s your ‘wife’ so feel free to mention it!
Nothing gets more of heart-warming cheer than the line “my wife and I…”. Yes it’s predicable and a little bit cheesy, but the novelty of hearing it for the first time never fails to please your new bride or your guests. And that cheer will relax a nervous speaker no end.
P.S. We’ve also got an extensive list below, so you can choose the appropriate guide for you
- How to deliver a flawless father of the bride wedding speech
- What to say in your groom’s speech
- The six types of best man speech you could choose
- How to write a Mr & Mrs couple’s speech
- Top tips for delivering a bride’s speech
- The ultimate guide to the bridesmaid speech
Traditionally, speeches have always been made by the father of the bride, the groom and the best man. Three blokes and only one of them was meant to be funny. The traditional etiquette can work a treat and may be a great fit for your wedding. However, it’s 2020 and who says you need to stick to tradition when it comes to your wedding.
Wedding Speech Tips for the Bride
Some Brides want to use their speech to mark the end of the celebrations. This can be dangerous. Some guests will have left, many will be drunk and you may have missed the moment. I’d suggest speaking directly after your husband. Here you can provide a female perspective and leave it to the Best Man to finish things off.
Enlist a friend
Most wedding dresses don’t leave much room for your notes. So make sure you’ve asked a bridesmaid or close friend in advance to hold onto your speech until you need it.
Consult the other speakers
Your biggest risk is covering ground that has already been mentioned in the other speeches. I would strongly recommend that however original you think your speech may be, you have a quick chat with your Groom, your Dad and the Best Man to ensure there is no overlap!
Be nice to your new family
This is not the time to offend your mother-in-law. You’ve got plenty of years ahead of you to do that. If you’re mentioning your own family, it would be courteous to include your husband’s too.
End with a Toast
I wouldn’t repeat one of the traditional toasts given by the other speakers. This is a great opportunity to include other people or say something a little bit different. You could toast your hosts (i.e. ‘Mum and Dad’) or propose a more general toast to ‘friends and family.
More Wedding Speech Tips for Non-Traditional Weddings
Despite what the storybooks may tell you, not every wedding features a young bride and groom and two sets of happily married parents. Every wedding is a wonderful celebration of love, so for those of you celebrating a second marriage, same sex wedding or hosting a ceremony without parents, speech writing coach Lawrence Bernstein has some more wedding tips tailored to your big day.
The Joint Wedding Speech
Joint speeches were really unusual 20 or 30 years ago. Today, they’re quite common – and, if executed well, extremely successful. Here’s some top tips for you and your partner.
- Don’t use this as an excuse to speak for double the time. Limit yourselves to five (maximum seven) minutes each.
- Make sure you each cover different topics. There’s nothing worse than hearing the same stories and thank-yous repeated.
- A joint speech doesn’t mean standing up at the same time and speaking in turn. It means planning, writing, editing and practising – together.
- Don’t exclude the audience. I’ve been at a wedding when the bride and groom stood facing each other, pronouncing heartfelt ‘I love yous’ and ‘You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me’, while the audience felt completely left out.
- Rein in the slush. One person telling the room how lucky he feels is bearable. Two people doing it can be agonizing.
- Don’t forget to thank the key people. The danger with speaking together is that you may both assume the other is going to mention Great Uncle Henry who died last month. Make a list together and divide it up. Then check it.
- The charm of a joint speech is that you can enjoy a bit of gentle banter and bounce jokes off one another. If you have fun it will be all the more memorable.
There are many reasons for absent parents at a wedding. They range from poor health (or death) to the complexities of family politics. In either scenario you’re likely to be hosting the wedding yourselves, which means you have to incorporate many of the traditional elements of the father-of-the-bride speech into your own.
- If you’re hosting, start as if you’re the father of the bride. Welcome the guests, thank them for coming and encourage them to have a good time.
- If one of your parents has died, you will want to dedicate a passage to remembering them. It’s probably a good idea to link this into a general toast to absent friends.
- Perhaps the bride’s father is a black sheep and nobody ever mentions him. If this is the case then don’t, for goodness sake, mention him today!
- Do it together. If your parents have taken no part in your day, then you might consider giving a joint hosting speech.
This is another scenario which needs a slight shift away from the traditional groom’s speech. If, for example, you’ve been married before, you may want to rein in some of the ‘marriage is forever’ talk. And there will often be children and family members to consider. It’s a tricky speech to get just right, but when it goes well, it’s incredibly moving. Here’s how to pull it off.
- Make plenty of jokes at your own expense, i.e. you’re a bit long in the tooth, a bit past it. This will endear you to the audience – and it will preempt any of their own thoughts along the same lines.
- If you’re divorced, don’t refer to the specifics of your first marriage, especially if it ended badly. It will sit uncomfortably with your audience.
- If you’re a widower you may want to refer, gently, to your first wife – but try not to dwell. This is about your new marriage – not a memorial service.
- If you or your bride have children, mention them. A lot! They need to feel part of the day. This is not just about getting together as a couple, it’s about celebrating a new family. Some grooms joke about how their kids acted as matchmakers, which always goes down well.
- Mention that you feel lucky to have this second chance. It works every time!
- If you need to joke about the fact that you’ve done this before, do so very gently. You could lightheartedly apologise to your parents for putting them through this again. But this is a very fine line. If you have any misgivings, take it out.