A good wedding speech tells a story, sharing insight, humor, and emotion, creating a memorable experience for the couple and their guests. Often, the best man, maid of honor, or bride’s father experiences fear and anxiety when faced with the task of writing and delivering a speech. We can help with that, of course, but the ideas and a little emotion get the ball rolling, and before you know it, we have crafted the perfect wedding speech.
Storytelling is an art form and can be conquered.
Telling a story about the bride and groom should not be a monumental task. They choose you as maid of honor or best man because they know you could represent and share their love story. Their faith in your relationship and trust in your ability takes the pressure off, even if it does not seem that way. So many authors and experts, myself included, subscribe to a simple fact:
Storytelling is not about the person delivering the story. It is about the people you are addressing and your connection to them. You are speaking to the couple surrounded by a crowd of others who love and cherish them as you do.
Are you feeling a little better yet? No? Stay with me…
So, how do I write a wedding speech?
Very slowly and deliberately. These speeches cannot be written the day before and delivered on a wing and prayer. You were asked to tell a story, and a story you shall tell. Think about a tale you loved to hear as a kid. The premise was simple, and it built up into the finale, where the hero prevailed, and all was well.
As the best man or maid of honor, speak about the groom/bride, the life you shared with them, and the events leading up to this day. As the best man, speak to how he changed, and you were there in the first row, witnessing his love grow and flourish. Today, you are bearing witness to a lifetime commitment. What a gift you have enjoyed, and now the bride has become part of that inner circle of your closest friends.
I suggest using a recorder and talking out loud about your past adventures and escapades and the things you love about your best friend and their soon-to-be spouse. Listen to your voice and the stories, and the speech draft will soon be complete…without you even breaking a sweat.
Practice does make perfect.
Everyone feels nervous or anxious before speaking in front of a group, but practice really can help. You want to prepare and practice the speech but not memorize it. Sometimes, when memorizing, your brain is focused on recalling the words and not allowing the feelings to come through. It is 100% okay to bring a few index cards with the speech broken into segments.
Keep your speech short and engaging.
Remember, most wedding speeches should be short and sweet. The ideal length for a speech is three to five minutes, with five minutes being the absolute maximum you should speak for. That’s it. “I’ve never been to a wedding where anyone said, ‘That was a great wedding, but the best man speech was just too short, and that ruined it,'” says David Litt, the speechwriter for former President Barack Obama and author of Thanks, Obama.
Just a few storytelling don’ts for wedding speeches
We have all attended a wedding or two where the speech leaves little to be desired and even less to be remembered (in a positive light). Here are a few simple don’ts:
- Do NOT drink. Trust me on this; it will not relax you nor provide liquid courage.
- Don’t divert from the script. It is easy to start feeling comfortable, and the next thing you know, you are like a late-night host telling all kinds of sorry tales.
- No embarrassing stories. Do not think your escapades with the bride or groom are funny and welcomed by their relatives.
- Avoid clichés: “I have never seen two people more in love,” or “Never go to bed angry.” You get the idea…they are looking for more than that from you.
We are here to assist in building your storytelling skills.
When the speech is finished, and you breathe in a sigh of relief, take a moment to enjoy the sounds of laughter, tears, and applause. You earned it! Storytelling in wedding speeches is not just a means of communication but a bridge that connects hearts, weaving the individual threads of experiences into a beautiful tale of union. These pieces you put together for their story demonstrated your trust and faith in their journey of love, not just speaking to the couple but to every soul present. Every single wedding story told is a gem, a precious moment of defenselessness and strength, humor, and grace.
Your willingness and skill to deliver the speech openly and honestly celebrated the couple’s commitment but bore witness to the gift of human connection, spun into existence by the magical art of storytelling. Well done.
However, if you think this is way, way too much for you, no worries. I have got you, and together, over a cup of coffee in person or via Zoom, we will build the map of your thoughts and wishes for the happy couple. Please send me an email, and let’s get started.