A few weeks ago my best friend Steve sent me a copy of the speech he was preparing to give as a best man. The speech was perfect – the right mix of humor, emotion, love, & stories. I cried reading it, and when I attempted to read it aloud to Andy in the car, I had to stop twice because I got choked up [yeah, it was THAT good .... also I am THAT much of a sap!].
I thought it would be helpful to blog for those looking for help, advice, or tips on writing a wedding speech, either as a best man, maid of honor, or any other honorable wedding attendant that is blessed with getting to speak to the couple. I’ll share some of my own personal tips & guidelines, and invite anyone to offer more in the comments section.
Oh, and don’t worry – Steve has allowed me to share his awesome speech with you all too :)
How to Write a Wedding Toast ~ Tips, Tricks, & Advice
1. Thank You
The easiest way to begin a wedding toast is by saying thanks. Thank the couple, thank the parents, and/or thank the people that are responsible for making the day possible, and thank everyone for joining in the celebration.
Using thanks as your opener will help calm your nerves, so you aren’t attempting to open with a joke or story off the bat. It will give you some time to ease into the speech and find some comfort with talking in front of a crowd.
Most wedding toasts should include a bit of humor to lighten the mood – it will boost your confidence as the speech giver. If you are a natural when it comes to humor, write some quips yourself, if you aren’t – then stick to what you’d feel comfortable saying.
Ask some friends if they attended any weddings with a great wedding speech joke, or use the one from Steve’s toast – it’s hilarious.
3. Keep it PG
This directly correlates to #2 – if you do use a joke, or tell a personal story [more on that next] I cannot stress enough the importance of keeping the toast at a PG rating. Nothing is worse than saying something inappropriate or embarrassing to the couple. Remember why you are there and remember your audience [which will more than likely include not only grandparents, and those older than you - but many people that probably don't even know you ... leave a good impression.]
Take for instance the joke the best man delivered at a wedding I was at a few weekends ago – it involved the groom being a player baseball player, not very skilled at any positions … and then correlating that to the bride having that same problem, later that night.
ugh. I felt awkward just typing that – much less listening to that in a room of people at an event such as a wedding. So PLEASE, remember – keep your toast at a PG rating!
4. Make it personal
Don’t forget to include some personal quips and stories into your wedding toast. This will make the toast custom to the couple you are speaking for – and will make the speech something worth remembering.
Don’t, however, tell too many “inside” jokes that the crowd doesn’t understand. Keep the personal memories surface level, and light – stories that don’t require much explanation [and are clean!] are the best to include in wedding toasts.
5. Don’t forget the other half
Just because you are giving the Best Man Speech, doesn’t mean you should leave out the bride – and just because you are giving the Maid of Honor speech, doesn’t mean you should leave out the groom! Include BOTH members of the couple getting married.
Andy’s sisters were EXCELLENT at mixing stories of Andy as a child, but also mentioning what it was like for them, when he met me :)
6. Raise a Glass
Just like we recommended to being your speech with a “thanks” – the perfect way to end it is with … the TOAST! You might think this is obvious, but the speech should require a little more than just a “cheers”! Wrap up your wedding toast by inviting the room to raise a glass to the couple and wish them well in their new life together.
General Speaking Reminders
In addition to the tips above – don’t forget these general speaking reminders:
1. Pace (no one will enjoy the speech if they can’t understand you … slow down!)
2. Volume (no one will enjoy the speech if they cannot hear you … talk loud!)
3. Length (I would say to keep it no more than 3-5 minutes long, after that people might start to get distracted/talk amongst themselves)
Click inside to read Steve’s amazing speech – the perfect example of a fantastic best man toast that included everything we mentioned above!