How to write a wedding speech

Kelsey Henninger

Can you remember the first wedding you went to or participated in? Maybe you were a flower girl or a ring bearer. I was a junior bridesmaid for my cousin. I remember standing at the end of the bridal line with four other girls in front of me blocking my view of the happy couple as they said “I do.”

As we age, our closest friends and family decide to take the leap of faith and let love guide the way. I think it is more personal and enjoyable to attend weddings if you have a close connection with someone in the couple.

I will be maid of honor in my sister’s wedding this weekend. I am completely thrilled and cannot express in enough words how honored I am to be a part of the ceremony. I am, however, at a loss for words when it comes to the wedding toast.

As a banquet server I have heard my share of inadequate speeches. I have heard ones that carry on for too long, I have heard men talk about past relationships and I have heard women tell really bad jokes. The audience always applauds, but as a server I heard groans about how awkward the speech was as I cleared the tables.

I would say I have heard more exceptional speeches than miserable ones, and I will tell you which topics to keep in mind while writing a wedding toast so the words will flow when you need to write one.

I found that you must first introduce yourself and your relationship to either the bride or the groom; this way, the audience knows your connection. Then start by thanking the couple or whoever is paying for the reception for allowing everyone to share this joyous occasion.

The toast should be positive, warm and personal. If you feel comfortable, use a joke to calm your nerves. Another way to boost your confidence while speaking is to be prepared. Writing your speech beforehand will help. You shouldn’t read your speech word for word, but having note cards is acceptable. Remember everyone is listening and the bride and groom will remember this forever, so give the couple something to look back on fondly.

If you are still stumped about what to say or where to start, search for quotes about relationships or love and use those as a tool to help start your speech.

I advise avoiding previous relationships, the cost of the wedding or wedding gifts. Don’t spill secrets the couple told you, such as a future pregnancy. Don’t make jokes about the honeymoon. And absolutely do not give the toast if you are drunk. This can ruin the night and the couple’s opinion of you. If you are important enough in their lives to be asked to speak at this significant event, have respect and keep the drinks to a minimum until after the toast.

In conclusion, wish the couple hopeful things and ask the audience to join in on the toast. Raise your glass in the direction of the couple, and clink their glasses if they are close.


Kelsey Henninger is a junior journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Tell her your positive or embarrassing wedding toast stories by contacting her at [email protected].