Nowadays, wedding toasts are no longer solely reserved for the traditional Best Man and Father of The Bride speeches. With couples keen to make their wedding more inclusive, females are now taking a slice of the cake (pun intended), with mothers, sisters and friends often playing a key role in the big day. As a result, its useful to have a couple of wedding toast guidelines that everyone can follow.

Being asked to deliver a wedding speech should be an honour, but for those not used to public speaking, this special role can often be tormented by nerves. A lot of the time, the hardest part of writing your wedding speech is knowing where to begin, and what to include to make it memorable.

Get started with these simple (but important) speech planning tips, guaranteed to make sure you’re ready to deliver the best wedding speech ever…

  1. Have your prompts
    You know what they say, “Failure to prepare is preparing to fail”.

    Delivering a great speech can be a difficult thing to do without any preparation. Often the pressure of an audience can distract you, leaving your mind blank and sending you into a panicked ramble. On the flipside, addressing your audience with a fully scripted presentation can often feel a little lifeless and fall flat.

    By creating structured notes, you have the freedom to ad lib with a safety net. By preparing jottings before the big day, you can practice talking about each point and plan your transitions.

    These nifty little wedding speech cards will look nice, neat and professional.

    Speech Cards

2. Humour – Make it funny, but not cheesy
With so many people feeling the pressure to turn their wedding speech into a memorable stand-up comedy routine, Google searches for a funny one-liner are rife. Unless you venture past the first few search pages, you’re in danger of delivering one of the internet’s finest overused wedding jokes.

Avoid the usual cheesy, impersonal jokes and try choosing a hook that will snag your audience’s attention within first 20 seconds or so of your speech. Consider using a funny surprising fact or a story with a twist.

3. Consider your audience
Hands up if you’ve been to one of those weddings where, in a bid to maintain his reputation of ‘funniest man in the group’, the best man has launched into a speech that could have sent grandma to an early grave.

Considering your audience is an important part of your planning: Is it a traditional wedding? Will there be kids in the audience? Keep in mind that in-jokes will most likely encourage a few tumbleweed moments.

Try to be inclusive by writing down 2 to 3 things that everyone in your audience can relate two, whether it be about the couple or not.

4. Give yourself a time limit
Find out who else is due to give a speech during the wedding toasts. If you’re the only one, you may want to consider extending your own from the standard 5-minute average.

By the time the speeches roll around, guest will be ready to eat, or just finishing their food. Your goal is to entertain and maybe even encourage a few a happy tears (rather than boring them to them!).

Whatever do you, experts say the definite maximum should be around 10 minutes.

5. Don’t mention ex-partners
Do we even need to elaborate on this point?

6. Relax and enjoy it
If you’re not having fun, your audience will pick up on it immediately. If you’re really nervous, it might be worth going back to point 1 and using your speech cards to practice your body language.

Stay away from booze to calm your nerves. Those 3 shots might seem like a good idea at the time, but you’ll be cringing in the morning. Allow yourself a 1-drink maximum until your toast is over and remind yourself that a little display of nerves can show people that you’re taking things seriously. It’s not always a bad thing!

If all else fails …
Still worried that you’re not going to get out of this alive? You can always opt for a tried and tested distraction technique! It’s a cheap move, but finishing your speech by thanking the Bridesmaids / Mother of the Bride with a little gift is a failsafe way of elevating yourself into everyone’s good books.

Take a look at our affordable pocket gifts.

Gifts by Cherith Harrison