Wedding speeches are easier to pull off if you follow a few basic rules.
Wedding Speech Tips: Dos
#1: Do Show Your Love
Whether you’re making a toast or giving a speech, whether you’re the best man or maid of honor, the father or mother, the bride or the groom, the reason you’re speaking is because you have a special relationship with someone–with the bride or the groom.
Let your love for that person show, and people will love you for it.
This is one of those occasions when it’s not only okay, but expected for you to gush. Be authentic. Put yourself and your feelings out there for people to see.
#2: Celebrate the Bride or Groom (or both)
Your job is to speak from your unique perspective–sharing your knowledge and love–to honor the couple and to express everyone else’s love and hopes for them.
Make the couple and the other guests–families and friends–feel warm and happy.
#3: Do Tell a Story
Tell a story (or maybe two) that shows what you find loveable about the person you’re honoring.
#4: Do Keep It Short
People may be eating and drinking or they may be waiting to eat. There are a lot of distractions. There will be any number of speeches.
To maintain people’s attention and goodwill, keep your remarks focused and to the point.
#5: Do Use Humor
Humor is a good way to keep your speech from becoming overly sentimental. And it adds to people’s enjoyment…as long as it’s appropriate. (See below.)
Wedding Speech Tips: Don’ts
#1: Don’t Embarrass Anyone
Save your embarrassing stories for the bachelor or bachelorette party.
Remember, your goal is to show your love and to celebrate the bride or groom. It is not to embarrass them. And it is not to embarrass the guests who may include children and grandparents.
#2: Don’t Make It About You
Yes, you are to show your love. Yes, you are to keep it personal. But keep the focus on the person you’re honoring.
You want people to love and appreciate the bride or groom, not you.
#3: Don’t Wing It
Short speeches require more preparation than long speeches. Write it out. Rehearse it a number of times. Then speak from notes. Don’t read it word for word.
#4: Don’t Get Drunk
Using alcohol to calm your nerves is a risky proposition.
Do this instead: 1) Prepare your speech. 2) Practice it. 3) Focus on the person you’re honoring and on your love for him/her, not on yourself.
#5: Don’t Embarrass Anyone
Did I already make this point?
Weddings have a certain formality. There are rules of decorum that sometimes make people feel the need to rebel or to be a little bit crude. Resist that urge.
People at a wedding are a receptive, appreciative audience. They want to have a good time. They want to celebrate their love of the bride and groom. They want you to succeed. So be prepared. Be yourself. And have a good time.