After shooting almost 200 weddings, I can confidently say that my favorite parts of any wedding day are the speeches and vows. They tell the couple’s love story and create the framework for a great wedding film.
If you’ve been given the honor of giving at toast at a wedding – no pressure! It may seem intimidating to come up with the perfect speech, but don’t worry, all of the content is already in your brain, the key is just to bring out the most significant parts that will make for a powerful speech.
Tips for Writing a Maid of Honor / Best Man Speech
Start by introducing yourself:
- Consider addressing the guests
- Ex: “How’s everyone doing? Wasn’t that cocktail hour food amazing??”
- Ex: “Many of you came from far & wide and I know grateful __ is that you’re all here.”
- What’s your name & how do you know the the bride/groom?
- How do you feel on this day/in this moment?
- Ex: “I can’t believe this day is finally here”
- Ex: “__ spent so many months planning this day & it came together beautifully”
- Ex: “I’ve never seen __ so happy & beautiful”
Talk about the bride/groom:
- Think of your favorite traits about him/her
- Can you think of any stories/examples that illustrate those traits?
- How did those traits play a part in the couple’s relationship?
- How will those traits make him/her a great spouse?
- Talk about his/her new spouse
- What were your thoughts when you first met him/her?
- Do you have any favorite memories/anecdotes about him/her?
- Consider welcoming him/her to the family or expressing your gratitude that he/she found him/her
- If appropriate, consider speaking on behalf of anyone not giving a speech:
- Ex: “I know I speak for my whole family when I say we’re so happy to welcome you to our family”
- Ex: “If my grandmother met you, I know she would absolutely adore you”
- How do their personalities compare?
- Are they super alike & compatible? ex: “I’ve never met anyone as __ as __ until I met __”
- Do they compliment and bring out the best in each other? ex: “She’s the yin to his yang – they complete each other”
We know you love the bride or groom – that’s why they gave you this honor! It’s great to start your speech by talking about your relationship & love for him/her, but don’t forget what this day is all about. Always remember to relate your speech back to the couple and the wedding day.
- How do they make each other feel? Did he/she change after meeting his/her spouse? What kind of influence do they have on each other?
- Ex: “I’ve never seen __ as happy as when she met you”
- Ex: “Until he met you, he ___. You’ve made him a better man”
- How long have they been together?
- Long time? ex: “We’ve been waiting so long for this day”
- Short time? ex: “This past year has been the happiest year of __’s life. We instantly knew you were the perfect match”
- What have they been through so far?
- Ex: “They’ve been through so much together already, I know they’ll be able to tackle any obstacle the future throws at them”
- How do you feel when you think about their future together? What do you envision it looking like?
- Consider closing with your thoughts/wishes/advice for the couple.
- You could also end with a line addressing the guests again”
- Ex: “Now let’s get this party started!”
- Ex: “Remember to enjoy the open bar!”
- Ex: “I’ll see you on the dancefloor!”
A few last thoughts to consider:
- Jokes are great, but tread lightly:
- You know your loved one best – how is their sense of humor? Are they a super good sport and can tolerate even the toughest sarcasm? If there is any chance that they (or their spouse) would be sad or offended by a sarcastic comment, avoid it. Remember that this is a happy & joyous occasion!
- If the couple is totally up for joking around, here are some examples of funny one-liners I’ve heard in wedding speeches:
- “Meghan.. you look absolutely stunning. Brian.. you didn’t even shave.”
- “Kim, you deserve a man that’s handsome, intelligent, and successful. And until you find that man, Jasen will just have to do.”
- *Cries* “Oh, my allergies are kicking in..”
- “Please place your hand on top of hers. This is the last time you’ll have the upper hand.”
- “Look into each others’ eyes. You’re now looking at the person that’s statistically most likely to murder you.”
- “I hope you’re better at married life than playing ping pong.”
- “But I think I deserve a little credit for being smart enough to marry her.”
- If it’s a multicultural wedding & a portion of the guests speak a different language, consider learning a sentence or two in their language (or even just how to say “Cheers!”) – it’ll allow you to connect with them, make them feel more involved & less left out, and it’ll really impress the crowd!
- Steer clear of any taboo or embarrassing comments:
- Remember that you aren’t the only guest at this wedding. All of the wedding guests will be hearing this speech – don’t say something you wouldn’t want your 85-year-old grandma to hear.
- Be careful about referencing the “baby” subject. Unless you know that the couple fully intends on having children, and are excited for it, don’t address it. This can be a sensitive subject to some people.
- If you plan on telling an embarrassing story about your loved one, it’s always best to double check first that they’re ok with you sharing it. They may be okay with you joking about it in small circles, but not to a giant room or all of their friends & family.
How to Deliver a Wedding Speech
Like I mentioned, the reception speeches are one of my favorite parts of any wedding day. It provides some of the best audio to include in the couple’s final wedding video.
Here are some tips to ensure that your speech gets captured perfectly!
- Try to keep your speech around 3-6 minutes long – long enough to get the point across but short enough to allow time for all the other festivities!
- If there is a microphone stand, lower the stand and point the mic upwards – this way, you won’t block your face!
- Keep the microphone close to your mouth and try to keep it the same distance. If you drastically move the mic away from your mouth, it’ll create a fluctuation in the volume of your speech (and the guests won’t be able to hear you!)
- Don’t be afraid to wait for complete silence until you start your speech. If there is a lot of chatter, try clinking a fork on a glass or asking the DJ to request everyone’s undivided attention.
- If the layout of the room allows for it, I suggest standing next to the bride/groom at the head table. This will allow for us to get both a solo shot of you and a wide shot of all three of you.
- Try not to pace or walk around the room too much. This will ensure that we get a nice, clean, close shot of you talking.
- If you feel tears welling up, don’t worry! Everyone loves happy tears! If you need to pause, just take a breather and continue where you left off.
- If you need reading glasses, remember to bring them up with you. I also recommend printing out your speech in large type!
- A little champagne during the day is fine, but save the heavy drinking until after your speech so your thoughts stay clear & your words aren’t slurred. It may be tempting to drink to calm your nerves, but it’ll actually muddle your mind more and cause less coordination & clarity.
- If you plan to incorporate any sort of surprise in your speech, please make sure you tell the videographers & photographers ahead of time so we can be prepared for it & capture it! (Pro tip: it’s great to surprise the guests or the couple, but your vendors should never be surprised by anything!)
Good luck & just remember to speak from the heart! All of the best content is already in your head.
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