If you're struggling to write a wedding speech and don't want to hire a wedding speech writer, I've put together some tips on putting something meaningful together. Hopefully this will help you brainstorm ideas and to structure the speech.
1) First, gather together a whole list of things you can include. You won't necessarily include them all -- this is a brainstorming session that you'll pick from when organizing your talk. When I work with a client on a wedding speech, I ask them to come up with content for as many of the following as they can:
- What the bride and groom do for a living
- How they met
- Strong personality traits of each -- for humor in a speech, this includes quirks or traits that people laugh about, as long as the bride and groom would also take it in good fun
- Their hobbies
- Important pets in their lives (for couples where the pets are like kids)
- Favorite books, movies, TV shows, and music
- One or more stories about the bride or groom (whichever one you're primarily speaking on) that demonstrate who they are -- great if at least one is funny and one is heartfelt
- One or more stories about your relationship with whoever you're primarily speaking about, especially if these again paint a picture of the person
- Any quotes or jokes you particular know you want to include, if applicable
- People who definitely need to be thanked if it's appropriate for your speech to include thank yous -- this would include parents of the couple; but the best man or maid of honor might like to briefly thank all the support of someone they love so much!
- Anything else that comes to mind as something you'd like to include.
It's ok if you don't have answers for all of these, especially for the person your speech isn't as focused on. (You might not know one of the couple very well.) In most cases, a wedding speech is only 3-5 minutes long, and you aren't likely to use everything you've come up with.
2) Although not set in stone, here's a general layout or template for a wedding speech that can work quite nicely for you:
- An introduction where thank yous might be included and you can introduce yourself if someone hasn't already.
- 2-4 stories depending on their length; these are what really personalize a wedding speech. Without stories, one wedding speech can sound very much like the next. They also help show that you know this person on a deeper level.
- Comments, quotes, or jokes that transition from the intro into the stories and/or between the stories. This is where you can include some of the details of their likes and dislikes, character traits, and so on. This is how you can carry along a theme that the stories help to fill out.
- A heartfelt comment about the person you're focused on, both of them if you know the other well enough, and/or about them as a couple. This transitions you toward a toast.
- Ask people to raise a glass with you for a toast and share a toast -- this can recall some of the couple's strong qualities as shared in the speech, can offer your personal blessings on their marriage, or can pull from a favorite traditional toast you're familiar with. Some people will do this, for instance, when a toast recalls their heritage, like an Irish or Russian toast.
3) Some final thoughts for your wedding speech:
- I recommend extreme caution with jokes that will embarrass the bride or the groom -- especially the bride! You know the situation and the couple best, and maybe it's appropriate in some situations. But remember, this is their day.
- Also remember that the audience is there for fun and will generally be very supportive of the speakers. I can't say that no one's ever faced a hostile wedding crowd, but unless you're in an unusual situation, no need to be nervous; no need to try impressing everyone. You're there to show your love for someone who's important to you and to help others have a better sense of and appreciation for that person as well.
I hope this helps spur some ideas for your wedding speech. If you look at all this, though, and still can't bare to face a blank page and decide you need to hire someone to help, I welcome you to get in touch.