Picture this – you’ve been asked to be a part of your best friends wedding party. Yay! You’ve got your outfit, the appointments have been made, transportation is all sorted. And then they call you and ask you to prepare a speech. Yikes! You aren’t fond of public speaking, and you haven’t written a paper since college! Don’t fret, I’ve got the tools to help you rock a killer wedding toast!
First things first; keep it short and sweet. No one wants to sit through a five let alone ten minute speech. If you have a lot of personal stories and things you’d like to mention, pull the bride or groom aside and tell them. Or better yet, put everything you want to say into their wedding card so they can keep it forever!
Now, let’s talk about structure. I’ve deduced that a perfectly written speech touches on these four points in under five minutes.
Introduce Yourself – People want to know who’s speaking to them. Introduce yourself with your name, your relation to the bride or groom, and how long you’ve known them!
A Funny Memory – Next talk about your relationship with the bride or groom. Maybe you shared a pen in your first high school French class, or bunked together at summer camp. This can be as easy as saying something like “I met Chelsey at summer camp in 1995. She’d forgotten her bug spray and was being eaten alive by mosquitos, so I graciously shared mine with her – you’re welcome!”
Their Relationship As A Couple – This part of your speech can go one of two ways. You can really dive into making your toast funny, or having it be a little more heartfelt. Something like “Before Eric came along, we never thought Chelsey would find someone to walk her dog with,” is great if you’re going for comedy. If sappy is your style I would recommend talking a bit more about how happy they became when they met their significant other. “I’ll never forget when Eric met Chelsey. He was head over heels for her right off the bat, and was constantly asking us for date ideas and where to get the best flowers in town!”
A Toast – To end your speech, it’s important to include everyone. Whether it’s with a cheers, or final hurrah is up to you. Your send off can be as simple as “To the happy couple!” or consider ending with a quote such as “May your love last forever, and may you never leave each other in hard times, congratulations on your marriage!”
Still not feeling like public speaking, but you’re awesome at other things? Utilize those other talents! You could easily substitute the speech all together for a heart-felt performance. For example…
Are you a musician? You could totally play a song (something you’ve written, or a cover) for the bride and groom!
Perhaps comedy is more your style. Write your speech in the form of a roast! (Just make sure the couple are ready for it.)
Are you a total wiz at video editing or photography? Why not throw together a multi-media experience to be projected during the reception!? That will definitely keep the crowd engaged!