Photo: Samin Abarqoi
A cause of anxiety for many couples, wedding speeches can quickly turn from succinct heartfelt sentiments to cringe-worthy sagas with no end in sight. The key to making sure that everything flows smoothly is to ensure that you’re in control of the situation. Before you start to stress, talk to your selected speakers ahead of time and make sure they’re even comfortable giving a speech, if they’re not, it’s better to let them off the hook at the beginning than to force them into it (awk!). Encourage everyone to write their speeches out ahead of time and offer to practice with them to ease their nerves. The perfect wedding speech is around three minutes, and honestly, the shorter the better. No one ever left a wedding like, “I wish the speeches were longer.” We know, we’re making it sound way easier than it is, but before we tackle how to make sure everyone stays on track, let’s talk about who exactly should be giving a speech at your wedding…and the list is probably shorter than you thought.
If it’s the writing that they’re struggling with, here are 10 ways to start your wedding speech, or, if they want to keep it super simple, there is even a company that specializes in crafting custom wedding speeches!
Photo: Sara Bradshaw Photography
Now, this one is a little tricky, especially if you both have two or more parents in attendance. If you let everyone have their own dedicated mic time, that could be 4(+) independent speeches, just for your parents. If your parents are hosting or helping to host the wedding, it’s customary to let that set of parents speak first. Talk to them ahead of time to explain the purpose of the speech. While they are welcome to throw in a few well wishes for their precious baby, keep them on target by reminding them that their real job is to welcome/thank everyone for being there to celebrate with you. To keep things fair, you can open the floor to the other set of parents (even if they aren’t financially contributing to the wedding) and ask them to keep their speech along the same lines, “Thank you for coming, we’re so happy we can all be here together, etc."
Maid Of Honor
Photo/Florals: Anthesis Co.
If you have a traditional wedding party, your Maid Of Honor is expected to say a little something during the reception. The perfect Maid Of Honor speech starts with a brief (and we mean brief) background about how she and the bride go way back, how she noticed the bride change when she met her now hubby or wife, and a toast to the glowing newlyweds. It’s safe to throw in one funny anecdote, but it should be short and sweet.
Photo: Curved & Co.
The best man speech can pretty much follow the same template as the MOH speech. It should cover how he and the groom became friends, when he could tell that the bride or groom was “the one”, and end with a toast to the happy couple.
Photo: Karina Santos
After everyone else finishes their speeches, it’s customary for the couple to thank anyone who helped host/pay for the wedding as well as thank all of the guests one more time for making the trip to come celebrate this special day. Don’t feel the need to speak individually, in fact, the best thing to do is to figure out what you want to say ahead of time and take turns addressing the room. And great news–your speech can be the shortest of them all!
In an ideal world, you could just copy and paste this article into an e-mail and everyone would follow these instructions, but just in case, let’s talk about how to help make sure everyone plays by the rules. The very first thing you should do is talk to your wedding planner about EXACTLY who you want to be giving a speech at the wedding. They can run interference and make sure that no one else gets close to a hot mic. Your planner can also go over the list of speakers with the DJ or MC and have them invite each person to make a toast at a given time so that the mic is never out of their control. Another important thing to keep track of is the alcohol intake of your speakers. It’s totally fine if they need a drink to take the edge off, but feel free to intervene yourself or have one of your other wedding party members step in if things start to get out of hand. If you do notice that one of your speakers isn’t in the right headspace to give a speech for whatever reason, it is totally ok to alert your planner and they can ask the MC to skip over their speech.
Photo: Karina Santos
We feel the need to address that you can do everything right and someone can still go rogue. The important thing to remember is that whoever you’ve asked to speak at your wedding is someone you love dearly who loves you too and they’re doing their best to make your day special. Keep a smile on your face and a drink in your hand and if things start to go sideways simply raise your glass, everyone will follow suit and the speech will soon be over. So, cheers baby…you can do this!