If one of your nearest and dearest is tying the knot, it’s possible you may be asked to give a speech. While having an opportunity to share your love and memories at a major milestone event is an honour, there’s no denying that it’s a big ask—especially if public speaking isn’t your forte. During my 14 years of creating memorable weddings, I have had the privilege of witnessing countless speeches - some spectacular and some dam right ugly! There is no set formula for how the speech should play out, however it often requires sentimentality, a touch of humour and the good sense to know when to wrap it up.

Read ahead whilst I guide you through writing and delivering a wedding speech that will leave a lasting impression. 

Who gives a speech at a wedding?

Traditionally, in UK weddings, the father of the bride, the groom and the best man are the usual speakers. However, times are changing and it's not uncommon to see the bride herself kicking off the speeches. Additionally, the maid of honour often steps up to the mic. Speeches are carefully scheduled into the wedding timeline to ensure the day runs smoothly, so sticking to your allotted time is crucial. Off-the-cuff speeches, especially after a few glasses of wine, can disrupt the flow and are every planner's nightmare.

How to write a wedding speech

Give yourself time

Give yourself plenty of time, the night before the wedding is not the time to begin writing your speech. Choose a time when you feel most creative and free from distractions. Reflect on your relationship with the couple and what you truly want to convey.

Follow a simple framework

While there’s no set formula, a good wedding speech typically follows this structure: story, message, blessing. Begin with a heart-warming story, highlight the message or value behind it and conclude with a blessing or wish for the couple based on that message.

Balance humour and sentimentality

Your speech should have a good mix of humour and sentimentality but steer clear of anything risqué or smutty. Highlight both members of the couple and share anecdotes that showcase who they were before they met and how they complement each other now.

Create an outline, not a script

Having an outline is essential but avoid writing your speech word for word. Fully scripted speeches can sound too formal. The best speeches come from the heart and feel natural. 

How to deliver a wedding speech

Practice makes perfect

Writing your speech is only half the battle. The next step is ensuring your delivery is smooth and engaging. Read your speech out loud several times and make sure it fits within the allotted time. A good wedding speech should ideally be around five minutes long, which translates to approximately 800 to 1000 words.

Record and review

Record yourself delivering the speech and watch it back. This can help you identify any awkward pauses or areas where you might need to slow down or add emphasis. It’s a great way to refine your delivery.

Print your speech

Always print your speech or notes (even if on a cereal box!) rather than reading it from your phone. This prevents any technical mishaps and makes it easier to maintain eye contact with your audience, enhancing your connection with them.

Manage your nerves

Nerves are natural but they can be managed. Find a quiet place before the speech to calm your mind. Remind yourself why you care about the couple and the honour you’ve been given to speak at their wedding. Hold back on alcohol consumption until after your speech. Remember, this moment is about celebrating the couple, not you.

Giving a wedding speech is a significant responsibility, with careful preparation and heartfelt delivery, you can create a memorable and touching moment for the newlyweds and their guests. Reflect on your relationship with the couple, craft your speech thoughtfully and deliver it with confidence.

If you need further assistance in planning your wedding or need more tips feel free to get in touch with me at Katie Lou Weddings. I’m here to ensure every aspect of your big day is perfect. Book a free discovery call and let's have a chat. x