So you’ve been given the honor of acting as the best man or maid of honor at a wedding. Among the many duties you’ll have leading up to the big day and on the wedding day itself, one of your most important tasks is delivering a speech during the reception.
If you’re fortunate enough to be a public speaker, this task will be a breeze, but for many the idea of giving a toast is nerve-wracking. Finding the right words, organizing your speech and not boring the other guests and of course expressing the meaning of your relationship to the bride and groom. Here are some tips on how to give a speech that everyone will treasure and love.
Crafting the Perfect Speech
First things first, start by introducing yourself. While many people will likely know who you are, don’t assume that’s the case for everyone. Let the crowd know how you know the bride and groom, what your relationship is – this helps to create a connection to everything you will say after. Don’t try to open with a joke especially if you feel nervous. Jokes tend to fall flat and will make you even nervous than when you began.
After you’ve introduced yourself share a short story about the bride if you’re the maid of honor, or groom if you’re the best man. Express what you love most about them, an anecdote about your relationship, something light and fun.
From there move on to discuss how the happy couple met. Talk about the first time they told you about their new spouse and how they knew that person was “the one”. Express your own joy for them and seeing their love grow. Though it probably goes without saying – do not mention any of their former relationships or how they “finally got it right”.
After this, it’s a good time to switch gears and address the other spouse. Describe meeting them the first time and how appreciative you are of them and how they love your family member or friend. Speak from the heart and welcome them “officially” into the family.
Finally, ask everyone to raise a glass with you to toast the happy couple and wish them a long, joyful future together.
A final bit of advice for crafting your speech – stay away from inside jokes, no one enjoys listening to stories that they can’t relate to. Too many inside stories or jokes make guests feel excluded and will cause their attention to wane. Instead, save stories or jokes for a more personal moment like the rehearsal dinner or simply write it in their card.