The wedding planner’s tips for the wedding speech

The weddingplanner’s tips for the wedding toast

Are you unsure about how to proceed when writing and delivering a wedding speech? Whether you are the bride, groom, best man, or a guest, giving a wedding speech can seem like a daunting task. I have worked as a weddingplanner and toastmaster in several hundred weddings and have heard even more wedding speeches. Here are some of my best tips for a successful wedding speech.

Tip #1 – Be well prepared

This opportunity only come once! Therefore, my most important advice is that you prepare well. I have seen several examples of speeches that were not well received because the speaker was not prepared. “Freestyling” or writing down some notes on a napkin is not something I would recommend.

What usually happens when one is not well prepared is that one forgets to say what one had wished. I have also seen cases where it went terribly wrong. Once, I witnessed a groom say the wrong name of the bride. It was an embarrassing session.

I, therefore, recommend that you write down the entire speech. Once you are satisfied with the text, find a place where you can be completely alone. Then read the speech out loud and clearly to yourself more than ten times. If you do this, I can guarantee that it will go well.

Tip #2 – How long should the speech be?

A speech should ideally be a bit too short rather than too long. A Norwegian wedding dinner should not last more than three to four hours, including a break after the main course. If several people are going to give speeches lasting 15 minutes or more, the dinner will last to long. The audience’s concentration is at its peak when the speech starts. Research shows that it bottoms out after 20 minutes. Therefore, you need to stop when you are at your best. My tip is therefore that the speech should be between 5 and 15 minutes.

Tip #3 – How to write a wedding speech from the bride or groom?

  • Start by thanking all the guests for celebrating the day with you.
  • Say a few words to the parents of the bride/groom.
  • Say a few words to your own family.
  • Feel free to say a few words to your best man.
  • The rest of the speech should be directed towards the bride/groom.
  • Always remember to end the speech with “I love you!”.
  • Then ask everyone to stand up and a toast is given.

Tip #4 – Humor in the wedding speech

No one expects you to hold a stand-up show, but if you can include some funny stories along the way, it will always be well received. It’s important that you adapt the stories to the audience. A little tip is that it’s not always wise to tell a joke on someone else’s expense.

Tip #5 – Sad themes in a speech

Some feel it is important to use a part of the speech to remember someone who has passed away, or to tell a story from life that has been difficult. You can certainly do this, but it is important to think about the dramaturgy and place this part in the middle of the speech. The beginning and end of the speech should only be about joy and love.

Tip #6 – Quote in the speech

“Steal with pride”. It’s perfectly fine to borrow quotes from others, but it is also common to introduce the quote by referring to whom you borrowed it from. So, feel free to use a well-known quote during the speech. You can also use words of wisdom to spice up the speech. What characterizes a word of wisdom is that the origin of the statement is often unknown.

Tip #7 – How to deliver a speech?

  • Make sure you have the entire speech written down in front of you in large print.
  • Break the speech into smaller parts that you glue onto cards or cardboard.
  • Remember to speak slowly, loud, and clear.
  • If you get emotional during the delivery, you should pause, drink some water, and breathe deeply before continuing.

And finally… This is not an exam, but a day for joy and love. Lower your shoulders, turn on the smile, and enjoy it! Good luck!

Wedding planner and toastmaster Kenneth Smørdal

This blog is written by the Norwegian professional weddingplanner and toastmaster Kenneth Smørdal. Read more