The Wedding Speech - Tips, Structure and No-Gos

The Wedding Speech - Tips, Structure and No-Gos

The exact origin of the wedding speech is not known, but the tradition is said to date back to before the birth of Christ, in the age of ancient Egypt. Even Aristotle is said to have dealt with this type of address. To this day, the centuries-old custom of congratulating the bridal couple on their marriage with the wedding speech and giving them wishes on their way to a life together has been preserved.

In the past, it was mainly professional speakers or rhetoricians who gave the speech, today it is given by the bridal couple themselves or people who are particularly close to the couple. Traditionally, the bride's father or father-in-law prepares a few words to officially welcome the son-in-law or daughter-in-law to the family. But the groomsmen are now also given the opportunity to share a few fun stories about the couple with the wedding party and celebrate their love in a birthing manner.

The groom usually uses the wedding speech to thank the hard-working helpers, to welcome the guests and to make a confession of love to his newly wedded wife. You can find ideas and inspiration here: Declarations of love.

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Find the right words

Your wedding speech as a guest should primarily make the bridal couple happy. With an emotional address you can strengthen and consolidate your friendship or your relationship with each other, but finding the right words for this is not always easy.

There are countless ways you can design your speech, here are some ideas and inspiration for topics and focal points:

  • Getting to know the bride and groom
  • Friendship or family appreciation
  • What makes the couple so special? What characteristics do they have?
  • Why has it been such a long time since the couple got married?
  • Stories and big events (e.g. a birth, a trip around the world or building a house) from the relationship of the bridal couple
  • Build in your own experiences or draw parallels to you and your partner
  • wishes for the future
  • A few words of celebration and praise for this great day

The right time for your wedding speech

So that on the wedding day everyone who would like to give a speech can also have their say at the right moment, there is a traditional specification and order for all speakers. However, this does not have to be complied with, but it does help as a guide if there was no precise agreement beforehand.
In principle, the time between the courses should be used throughout the evening so that each speaker gets the full attention of the wedding party.

As a rule, the bride's father or mother of the bride holds the first wedding speech. This is usually followed by the groom's father or mother, followed by the groomsmen, family members or close friends. The bridal couple concludes the ceremony – with the groom often taking on this part alone. If, in addition to the thanksgiving, he would also like to address a personal declaration of love to his bride, his speech will be taken before that of the best man.

The perfect length of a wedding speech

As a rule of thumb, the optimal length of a wedding speech is between two and seven minutes. It can be a short, crisp toast, but if you have more to say and would like to add a slide show, it shouldn't be longer than ten minutes. Indeed, showing pictures increases the audience's attention span, but other people may also want to make a speech or the next course is about to be served. The following applies here: brevity is the spice. Because particularly hungry guests who are waiting for their food are reluctant to listen for very long.

A good guide to the length of your speech can give you the exact number of other people who also want to say something. In this way you can coordinate with each other and, if necessary, adapt your speeches a little so that the same thing does not appear repeatedly in them. The witnesses are usually the contact persons for this matter.

Tips for giving the speech

Attract attention
The most popular way to get attention is to gently tap a glass before speaking. Sometimes it is enough if you get up from your seat and use your body language to indicate that you would like to say something. Most of the time, word gets around quickly among the guests that peace and quiet should return.

Find an exciting start
If you can't think of a good way to start your speech yourself, romantic or funny quotes and sayings can be a good start and an ideal transition to the bridal couple.

Seek eye contact
Sometimes a look says more than a thousand words - this also applies when speaking. With this you pick up the wedding guests directly and arouse emotions in them.

Score points with humour
So that your speech does not become too emotional, you can also make your speech funny. A snappy saying, a funny story from the couple's past or the mishaps during the wedding preparations lift the spirits of the bridal couple and the guests.

Structure of a wedding speech

There is no such thing as THE perfect approach to the perfect wedding speech, because as mentioned, it doesn't have to be perfect. Therefore, you can structure and hold your speech individually. However, this pattern gives you a rough guide:

Exciting start
Start with a really good bang at the beginning of your speech. General phrases like: "I'm so nervous" and "I'm glad you're all here" probably don't get through to the last row. Instead, you can turn eyes and ears on yourself with a provocative question, secret, or fun fact. Or are you good at singing? Then strike up a song to pick up the wedding party. Anything that brings positive attention is allowed.

Involving the guests
If you include the guests present in your speech, it will sound much more personal. For example, mention an unusual gift, a chic outfit or give a special welcome to certain people who have had to travel a long way. Everyone likes to be praised or greeted personally. Small jokes and casual sayings are also good here.

Give an insight
When everyone is listening, you can briefly mention what you want to address in your speech. For example, your focus may be thanking everyone involved. However, you should keep this overview short and design it with a little flair.

The start is done, you have your full attention and the guests know what it's all about. Now comes the most important part of your speech: Now is the moment when you can tell about the bridal couple, thank the helpers or incorporate jokes. Don't forget the emotions!

A charming, touching or funny finish is the icing on the cake of a good speech. It's especially nice when everyone stands up together and you end the speech with a toast to the bride and groom or your wife.

Speech tips for the groom

If you, as the groom, want to give a speech to your loved one and your guests, you should include several things in your speech: For example, you should not forget to thank the guests for coming, also on behalf of your wife. Thanks also to everyone involved who helped you with the preparations and during your dream wedding. A few special words can also go directly to the best man(s) and your closest friends and family members.

A special highlight, which is guaranteed to provide a moment of emotion, are a few loving words of appreciation to the parents and parents-in-law.

Finally, you can make your bride cry with joy and make her a confession of love. Emphasize what you are particularly looking forward to in your new phase of life together and what possible goals lie ahead of you.

Tip: Wear your heart on your sleeve! You don't have to deliver a perfectly rehearsed performance. If you ever have a blackout, just say straight out what comes to your mind. Be honest and natural - this will definitely go down well with everyone. You will find help on how to structure your speech correctly in the topic structure pattern of a wedding speech.

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Speech tips for the bride's father, bride's mother and parents-in-law

It is a special moment for a father and mother when one's child starts a family of its own and enters into the bond of marriage with his or her partner. It goes without saying that the proud father or proud mother wants to say a few words to the couple. According to tradition, the bride's father, mother or in-laws give the first speech.

A good start is a review of the child's life so far, how the partner came about, milestones in the couple's life and what you wish for the two of them in their future as married couples.

Parents in particular are prone to rambling, so you should keep an eye on the length of your speech so that other speakers can also say something.

Speech tips for the best man

As a best man, you are not only their "right hand" on the big day of the bride and groom, you also play an essential role as a friend and confidante, just like in their lives today. You probably have a deeper insight into their relationship than the parents, which is why you can best convey the newlywed couple's meeting and love story in your speech.

If you want to fill out your speech a bit, you can also bring in anecdotes from their lives: their skills as loving parents, how they master their everyday lives as a team, funny incidents, strange quirks or something about their future plans.

You will also definitely score with compliments, a eulogy and appreciation as her friend.

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Tips against stage fright

The beauty of wedding speeches is that they don't have to be perfect. You stand in front of people you (mostly) know, you look into happy and relaxed faces - you don't have to sell anything to anyone and you don't have to give a presidential speech.

If you are still afraid, there are a few helpful tricks you can use to overcome your stage fright:

Take a deep breath
Conscious breathing can be helpful in order to lower your heart rate and thus slow down your nervousness: Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Each breathing cycle should be about 8 seconds long.

Mood booster
Music can evoke all kinds of emotions in us and put us in a wide variety of moods: relaxed, melancholic, happy. Use the moment before the speech and listen to your favorite track that puts you in a good mood. Singing along loudly helps relieve stress and loosens the vocal cords.

Be there early enough
So that you don't have to collect your notes at the last minute and rush to the stage, you should prepare for your performance calmly and with enough lead time.

Establish contacts
If time allows, introducing yourself to as many guests as possible can help a lot. So you look into familiar faces, who sometimes give you a friendly nod when you stand in front of the crowd.

Relaxation exercises
It's probably not only your nerves that are tense, but also your body. Loosen up with a few exercises: raise and lower your shoulders, circle your neck, stretch your back, swing your arms, and relax your facial muscles.

A glass of warm water
A tall glass of warm water just before your speech will calm your stomach and nerves. But don't worry, you'll get through your speech without a break in the bathroom.

Write cheat sheet
A bullet point with the most important things you want to say gives you security. You probably won't even need it because you can still remember exactly what it says. But knowing that you have something on hand in case you do lose the thread will give you a good feeling.

Cope with a blackout
A blackout can happen to even the most prepared speakers. If you should ever lose the thread yourself, there is no reason to panic. If you stay calm, the audience probably won't even notice. If you don't know what to do, simply repeat the last sentence, ask a question spontaneously or dare to look at your piece of paper - after all, that's what you have it for.

Prepare the voice
A strong cough, a sip of water and humming a song helps against a trembling voice – this makes the voice supple.

The listeners are naked
Not really, of course, but imagine if they were. Almost everyone knows this trick from their school days and immediately you don't feel so in the center of the action anymore.

No-Gos at the wedding speech

Too much alcohol: A glass of sparkling wine relaxes many speakers before their performance, but it is an absolute taboo to stagger, hiccup or babble in front of the guests. This could get pretty embarrassing for you and also upset the bride and groom if you crack inappropriate jokes. Here it is important to keep an eye on the alcohol level until you have given your wedding speech!

Sayings below the belt: Making people laugh is great, but not at the expense of the bride and groom's private details. If in doubt, it is better to leave out one or the other story before you accidentally reveal too intimate information.

Hide feelings: For the newlyweds, the wedding is one of the most emotional moments in their lives and you should convey that in your speech. Instead of reading bluntly from your piece of paper, it's nice if you laugh or even cry with them.

Extreme perfectionism: A wedding speech can and should be relaxed and funny just as exuberantly as one would like the mood to be at the celebration. While it's important to prepare well, and key points also help when speaking, don't stick too much to your index cards - a mostly free speech comes across as the most honest and natural.

Let nervousness get the better of you: Try to relax before the speech with our tips against stage fright, because severe nervousness can have a negative effect on your speech, for example if you start to stutter with excitement, only speak very quietly or keep getting muddled and making promises.

We hope our tips can inspire you for your upcoming wedding speech and prepare you well for your big moment.