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Wedding Speeches & Wedding Toasts
Turn your wedding speech into something memorable! Making a wedding speech can be the most nerve-wrecking part of a wedding for the father of the bride, groom, best man, bride and bridesmaids. Few people are practiced in the art of public speaking, so the thought of getting up in front of a wedding reception and sounding good, is pretty intimidating. Don't panic! At Best Wedding NJ we have wedding speech tips to prepare you for your wedding speech and your rehearsal dinner toasts!
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Traditionally, the toastmaster or master of ceremonies will introduce the wedding speeches at the end of the meal. The formal order of speakers is:
- Father of the Bride or a close family friend
- The Groom
- The Best Man
Then, if the bride, bridesmaids or wedding guests want to speak, then that's fine, too!
Another good idea is to have the wedding speeches BEFORE the dinner so that everyone can enjoy their meals without nervously waiting to speak.
- First, don't panic! Careful planning will help you deliver a wedding speech you can be proud of.
- Make sure to project your voice, so practice your wedding speech by speaking out loud.
- How formal is the wedding? Are you expected to say a few words and propose a toast, or speak for a long time?
- Is the reception going to have a theme that you could refer to or even incorporate into your wedding speech?
- Find out a little about the wedding guests and if there are any subjects you should avoid in your wedding speech.
- How many guests are there? As a general rule, the more people present, the more formal the wedding speech.
Father of the Bride or Friend of the Family
- Thanks the wedding guests for coming and sharing in the special day.
- Thanks everyone who contributed to the cost of the wedding.
- Compliments and praises his daughter and welcomes her new husband into the family.
- Toasts the bride and groom.
- Thanks the father of the bride for his toast.
- Thanks the wedding guests for attending and for their gifts.
- Thanks both sets of parents.
- Compliments his bride.
- Thanks his best man.
- Thanks and toasts the bridesmaids.
- Thanks the groom for his toast to the bridesmaids.
- Comments on the bride and particularly the groom.
- Reads any messages from absent friends.
- Toasts the bride and groom.
- Thanks the guests for coming.
- Thanks her parents and bridesmaids.
- Compliments the groom.
- Proposes a toast.
- Thanks the bride
- Compliments the ushers
- Proposes a toast
- Decide whether you want to write out your wedding speech in full, and read it word for word, or memorize your wedding speech completely (this can be risky), or compile a list of bullet points to prompt you during your wedding speech. Never try and wing the wedding speech. Giving a wedding speech needs to be planned and written down in advance.
- Start by noting suitable headings to focus on, and then fill in the spaces to produce the entire wedding speech.
- All wedding speeches are just extended toasts, so don't worry about having to compose something worthy of an Oscar!
- During the wedding speech, speak to everyone in attendance. Don't just speak to your side of the family, or to just the friends of the bride and groom.
- Remember that your wedding speech needs to be relevant to everyone present. Not everyone may know the bride and groom very well
- Keep your wedding speech brief. No one wants to be bored for hours with your wedding speech. Make it short and to the point and don’t forget to add emotion when giving your best man speech. The wedding isn’t about you, it’s about the bride and groom, don’t forget that.
- Remember that you are writing your wedding speech to be read aloud. The spoken word is different than the written word. For example, a formal document may contain "cannot" or "do not," but the spoken wedding speech would be "can't" and "don't".
- If you are a naturally funny person, then incorporate jokes into your wedding speech. If you're not, then add a humorous anecdote or two to your wedding speech. An anecdote is a more flexible way of introducing humor into your wedding speech. It also has the effect of bringing your audience together in a shared experience.
- The type of joke you use depends on the style of wedding speech you intend to make. Launching into a stream of jokes in the middle of an otherwise sentimental wedding speech may not go over well.
- Make sure not to offend or ridicule anyone during your wedding speech. Funny and vulgar are two different things. A lot of people, especially men, tend to think that to be funny you have to be vulgar, rude and embarrass the newlyweds, this is NOT true. Keep it clean!
- Do not use anecdotes in wedding speeches referring to the bride or groom's previous marriages or relationships.
- Write down the key words of sentences, remembering to include important dates or names. It is amazing how easily you can forget a person's name if under stress!
- If you prefer to write out your wedding speech in full, remember that you will be speaking it aloud, so make it obvious where pauses and even gestures should go to allow for impact or reaction.
- Whichever method you choose, write your wedding speech out clearly, or type your wedding speech with space between each line to make it easy to read.
- When writing wedding speeches, write each paragraph out in a different color pen, or highlight each section of type with a different colored fluorescent marker. If you lose your place while reading your wedding speech, your eyes can automatically go to the color that it was last reading from. Try it and see if it works for you!
- Whether you type or write your wedding speech, always make a copy, with the same colors and marks on it. You can give this copy to someone else to look after, just in case in you leave yours on the night table!
- Practice your wedding speech by reading it aloud over and over again!
- Start by reading your wedding speech aloud to yourself, and then read your wedding speech in front of a mirror to get an idea of how you will look and sound to the guests.
- Finally deliver your wedding speech to a trusted friend, who can advise you how it comes across.
- Always stand while you rehearse wedding speeches. Remember to practice looking at the people you are referring to and your audience. This will help you get used to performing your wedding speech rather than just reading it. During the wedding speech, make sure you have everyone's attention first before you speak, and the best way to do that is to stand up and wait for quiet. Standing up is the first rule of any good public speaking and a wedding is no different.
- Once you feel relaxed with the content of your wedding speech, you will feel more confident at the prospect of performing the wedding speech to a group of people.
- Remember to smile occasionally and speak slower than you would in normal conversation, to allow your voice to travel.
- Also plan for people to laugh at your jokes in your wedding speech. Don't speak over any noise, laughter, murmurs or even applause, as the next thing you say will be drowned. Prepare to pause for a while, and enjoy your audiences' response to your wedding speech performance. If they respond, they are enjoying themselves!
- Once you are well prepared, try not to let the wedding speech overpower the day, and stop you enjoying the wedding occasion.
- Avoid too much alcohol before your wedding speech, as it may cloud your judgement.
- Although you will have practiced raising your voice to deliver your wedding speech, if you are concerned that you are loud enough, ask someone to stand at the back of the room and indicate if they can't hear your wedding speech.
- When you are introduced to give your wedding speech, the wedding guests are likely to applaud you, and this causes a good distraction for you to stand up and clear your throat. Begin your wedding speech by taking a deep breath, and smile!
- Adrenaline will carry you to the end of your wedding speech before you know it. If you make an error, smile, correct yourself and continue.
- Above all, try to enjoy yourself, rather than just reading your wedding speech aloud. Convey to your audience the sentiment of your wedding speech, and your feelings for the people you are speaking about.
- At the end of your wedding speech, you are likely to be proposing a toast. Invite the guests to stand to drink the toast, then sit as they sit, after the toast.
- Having completed your wedding speech, relax, enjoy your applause, and the rest of the wedding day!
Sample Wedding Speeches
Below is a very simple wedding toast that you can use regardless of how well you know the bride and the groom. This is also a great way to make a wedding toast when you really want to wish the couple well but you aren't too sure what to say!
"First, I wanted to say congratulations to Tom and Paula! I am so happy for the both of you and I know that today is the first day of what will be a very long marriage. I also want to thank the two of you for inviting me and making me a part of your special day. I know that there will be many more celebrations of your love and your marriage in the future!"
Below are a few more intimate wedding toast that you will find works well for close friends and family, and will help you convey a bit more personal emotion.
"Congratulations, you two! I know that everyone is saying great things to you, but I had to get up and really express how happy I am for you. I know that both of you have been looking forward to this day for quite awhile, and I have to say that it couldn't have been more beautiful. I know that you have a lot of great plans for the future and I can't wait to sit back and watch them unfold for you. Congratulations, Tom and Paula!"
"First, I want to start off by saying congratulations to Tom and Paula! I know that you both have been planning incessantly for the past few months to have this day be everything that you have both been dreaming of, and everything is just beautiful! I feel honored to have been invited as a guest and will enjoy watching your marriage blossom in the years to come. When I received the wedding invitation in the mail I have to say I couldn’t have been more excited for the two of you. Everything I’ve seen and heard of the two of you just seems right. You two seem to have found what we are all looking for from marriage: Your ideal person. Your soul mate. The one. You serve as an inspiration to everyone, because you have shown that dreams really do come true!"
Sample Wedding Speech Ending:
Never go to bed angry . . . always stay up and argue.
Always remember the three little words . . ."You're right dear".
Keep the lid down, and
The best way to remember your anniversary is to forget it once!
Let’s raise our glasses as we toast this couple:
May you both live as long as you want,
And never want as long as you live.
So, congratulations again! I hope you enjoy the rest of your celebration today as well as the rest of your lives together!
Sample Wedding Toasts
To the Happy Couple . . .
"To the two secrets to a long-lasting happy marriage:
Here's to good sense of humor . . . and a short memory!"
"May your wedding days be few and your anniversaries many."
"May your love be modern enough to survive the times and old-fashioned enough to last forever!"
"To keep a marriage brimming
with love in the loving cup-
When you are wrong, admit it
and when you are right, shut up!"
"May thy life be long and happy,
Thy cares and sorrows few;
And the many friends around thee
Prove faithful, fond and true."
"Let's drink to love, which is nothing - unless it's divided by two."
"Long life and happiness - for your life will be my happiness"
"To the bride and groom - may we all be invited to our golden wedding celebrations.
May you live as long as you like, and have all you like for as long as you live."
"To the lamp of love - may it burn brightest in the darkest hours and never flicker in the winds of trial."
"Live life to the fullest - remember, this is the first day of the rest of your life!"
"Here's to love, laughter
and happily ever after.
As (Groom) and (Bride) start their new life,
Let's toast the new husband and wife!"
"May you grow old on one pillow."
"Here's to the bride and the bridegroom,
We'll ask their success in our prayers,
And through life's dark shadows and sunshine
That good luck may always be theirs."
"May your joys be as deep as the ocean,
and your troubles as light as its foam."
"May the best of their past be the worst of their future!"
Good luck in giving your wedding speeches!
Tips for Wedding Speeches
A great wedding speech has a good opening and a good closing. Start by introducing yourself. Once you have the guests attention, follow your introduction with something interesting or funny, whatever suits your style. The beginning of your toast is when the wedding guests are focusing on you and really listening to what you say.
Share a story about the wedding couple that not many guests have heard. Just keep it short, and exclude unnecessary explanations. The best stories are short and straight to the point; this way you keep the guests attention at all times. It's a good idea to not have your story longer than 3 to 4 minutes.
Most speeches at weddings are closed like a normal wedding toast, by wishing the happy couple all the best in the future and by raising your glasses. You might read the bride and groom a poem, or something of that nature, if you want to be a little different.
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