How To Give The Perfect Wedding Speech

October 2nd 2015

Laura Donovan

With rising costs and relentless social media posts about the big day, weddings can be a bit of a nightmare for young people. Wedding toasts and speeches are a live wire of their own, as you never know when somebody is going to make an inappropriate comment.

Some wedding attendees are even paying for ghostwriters to help them with their toasts. The New York Times reported that most ghostwriters charge at least $500 to write public speeches for people who don't feel confident.

But you don't have to pay someone. Here are some things to keep in mind when speaking at a wedding.

1. Understand the audience

You're not just addressing the bride and groom, but their friends and family members as well. Desiree Hartsock, wedding blogger and former star of "The Bachelorette," told ATTN: that it's crucial to feel out the room shortly before delivering a toast.

"When it comes to giving a speech at a wedding it's important to understand the significance of the wedding day for the couple and to be mindful of the certain family and friends in attendance," Hartsock said.

While it might seem funny to say something vulgar and inappropriate, particularly if you've been drinking, remember the others around you, and that you're probably being filmed.

2. Practice in front of somebody else

This will give you an opportunity to receive constructive feedback about the content of your speech beforehand. It also forces you to be prepared, according to Kristen Maxwell Cooper, deputy editor of wedding site the Knot.

"You definitely want to make sure you practice on someone before you give the toast," Maxwell Cooper told ATTN:. "It's always best to know what you're going to say ahead of time and feel comfortable with the material that you're going to say."

3. Provide some context and well wishes

At the beginning of your speech, briefly explain how you know the couple and what you enjoy most about their partnership. Sharing a fun story about the couple is also a wise idea, and Hartsock says to always propose a toast at the very end.

"This will help bring your speech all together and let everyone know that you are finished," she explained.

4. Don't go on forever

"Keep it short and sweet and it will mean everything to the bride and groom," Hartsock said.

Maxwell Cooper told ATTN: that the ideal speech is one to three minutes, but the shorter you can keep it, the better for everyone.

"Speeches can be great and they can be very long and daunting at the same time," Maxwell Cooper said. "Even three minutes is going to feel really long [for] everyone sitting there listening to it. It's going to feel like the time's flying by for the person giving the toast."

At the very least, don't re-create the painful "Bridesmaids" engagement party scene in which Kristen Wiig and Rose Byrne compete for best toast.

5. Hold off on sharing anything too embarrassing or personal

While it can be tempting to make the bride and groom blush at their wedding, don't use the speech as an opportunity to make them feel uncomfortable or hurt.

"Sharing an awful memory or embarrassing moment may not be the best way to honor your friend or family member on one of the most special days of their life," Hartsock said.

Maxwell Cooper had the same suggestion for ATTN:, adding that it's also important to maintain an entertaining, funny front and not become too florid or sentimental.

"Don't roast the bride and groom," she said. "You can tell a funny joke but definitely know when enough is enough. Don't be overly sentimental. Strive for at least 70 percent humor and storytelling."

6. No inside jokes

This might seem difficult to follow, especially if you're super close to the bride and groom and share tons of hilarious memories and experiences, but the majority of the people at the wedding won't understand what you're talking about.

"Don't tell private jokes," Maxwell Cooper said. "There are going to be multiple people in the audience that aren't going to get the joke. You really want to make sure the speech is all inclusive. Definitely feel free to tell a funny story or a sweet story, but make sure everyone has context and understands the whole story."