Writing a wedding speech is not easy. There is a specific formula that must be abided by or else the whole thing can go sour pretty quickly. The goal is to be sentimental, but not a watering hose; be funny, but not overly deprecating; and to keep people interested, but not be too long-winded.
Remember, a happy bride is a happy bridesmaid.
So here are a few tips for giving a successful wedding toast – that won’t leave everyone speechless.
1. Do not under any circumstances roast the bride. This is not me sucking the humor out of your speech – this is just common sense. Remember the scene in Wedding Crashers? Crickets during a speech are a bad sign. The jokes you make in a speech should be funny to those who both know and don’t know the bride. Test it out on someone outside the group first.
*Sadly, I have heard about these awkward speeches more often than I would like to admit and mostly with sisters. Love goes a lot farther than being mean – and nothing is more special than a wedding with a lot of love in the room. So just be the love.
2.Have a game plan. We have all been there. The Maid of Honor doesn’t have a game plan during speech time. The speech has no thread. It’s long. The jokes are poorly delivered because they weren’t set up appropriately. These speeches have potential if someone would just get organized! Even if you are a master public speaker, have a note card ready with a few key points to keep your speech on track.
3. Don’t ramble. A speech that has been properly prepared will be short and sweet. Remember that a structure with a beginning, middle and end will do you wonders. Aim for about 2 minutes so you don’t put anyone to sleep.
4. Watch the tears: Getting a little choked up at the beginning or the end of the speech is totally fine – as long as you can keep it together for most of it. If you know that something written within the speech could make you tear up, push it to the end. No one wants to hear this, “And (sniff) you’re (sniff sniff) my best friend….(blow nose)…..” for more than a few seconds. Conversely, getting slightly choked up can be an effective tool for mixing in a little bit of drama into the speech – which is always effective in small doses if appropriately times.
5. Talk about the groom: Even if you don’t love the man your Bride is marrying, it’s important to mention him and their love in the speech. Hate his guts? Try this: Talk about how much the Bride loves the Groom. You then make it personal, sentimental and you don’t have to lie.