Even seasoned public speakers can get lost for words when they try to give a wedding speech for their best friend. Giving this toast is truly a great honor. If you’re the best man or the maid of honor, then the crowd of well-wishers in attendance expects you to know the bride and groom quite well.
The tips you’ll find below will help you get through this momentous task (and perhaps help you keep your dignity intact). You definitely don’t want to say something that will make the crowd cringe in disbelief. Here are some guidelines that will help you wish the newlywed couple the very best and make yourself look like the one who saves the day (without getting punch drunk, that is).
Step 1 – Take Ample Time to Make Notes
Take as much time as you can to prepare your wedding speech. Remember that you’re expected to include certain personal elements such as how the couple met, how were they before they got hitched, and how the couple’s lives have changed since then.
Jot down as many facts as you can and then come back to it when you’re ready to organize your thoughts. After that, begin a process of elimination by removing any details that seem to be inappropriate. Remember that you won’t have enough time to relate every single item in your list so pick out the best ones that will make the crowd smile, laugh, and get to know the bride/groom a lot better. Don’t include anything rated R (or worse) in your speech – remember that there will be kids in attendance.
Step 2 – Write Your Introduction
Keep your introduction sweet and short. Call everyone’s attention with something like “I would like your attention please,” or “Excuse me, I would like to propose a toast,” since you’re going to be interrupting the guests during the event. Follow up with “I am [state your name]. I am the the best man/maid of honor.” And then tell them how you are related to the happy couple.
Step 3 – Middle and Closing
Now this is the time when the shortened list you laboriously wrote down will come in handy. Remember to relate the events in their proper order. Keep in mind that that the crowd and the newlyweds will appreciate if you can pitch in a joke/anecdote or two. Keep it inspiring yet funny and lighthearted.
As a reminder, you can tell a funny event in the life of the bride/groom – not something that’s outright embarrassing. Just like your introduction, keep the main and the closing text of your speech short and sweet. Close your talk with “Congratulations to the newly weds...” or something to that effect.
Step 4 – Practice
Practice your wedding speech as many times as you can. Time yourself and remember to keep your talk under five minutes – it’s a wedding reception, not a rant session. You don’t need to memorize your speech but know it by heart so keep your paper ready for easy reference.
Step 5 – Delivery
This must be one of the most important pieces of advice for any maid of honor or best man – don’t get drunk! Well, at least not before you deliver your speech. One drink (okay, so make it two) might help boost your confidence but no more than that. When it’s time to tell your tale, stand up with confidence and woo the crowd.