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Important Etiquette Tips for Giving a Wedding Speech or Toast

There are ways to make every word really count.

Contributing Writer
meaghan mark wedding maid of honor speech
Photography by: We Are The Mitchells

Being asked to make a speech or offer a toast at a wedding is an honor. Make yours memorable by following these six simple pointers, whether this is your first time or not. Trust us, theses etiquette tips will help you, and every guest in attendance, enjoy your time at the mic.

 

Wedding Toast Dos and Don'ts

 

Be prepared.

It'd be inappropriate to heckle a wedding speaker but it's tempting when he or she says very little but keeps going round and round saying the same thing. Days before the wedding, think of an anecdote that epitomizes the bride or groom, or both, then think of some way to say congratulations and wish them well.

 

Skip the inside jokes.

Your speech—and you—will immediately become boring when you reference "dinosaur ears" or any other inside joke that will crack up only seven people in the room and leave out everyone else.

 

Keep it brief.

This goes along with being prepared. If you haven't practiced what you'll say ahead of time, you'll have the tendency to ramble. And let's face it: Everyone wants to get on the dance floor or dig into dinner, not hear the maid of honor's timeline of her friendship with the bride since middle school. Two minutes is plenty.

 

Father of the Bride Speeches That Knocked It Out of the Park

 

Avoid reading your speech.

Even if you're nervous talking in front of a crowd, memorize your speech and rely on index cards with key points you want to make. Reading a speech will make you sound less sincere and more robotic. You don't have to be perfect—just genuine.

 

Be sure to practice at least a few times.

Just like everything else in life, the more you do it, the better you get at it. So say your speech out loud until you feel comfortable with the material and your performance.

 

Don't admit you didn't know what to say.

What kind of audience will want to hear someone admit the next few minutes aren't worth listening to?

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About the Author

Nancy Mattia

Though Nancy has been writing about weddings for years, she admits that watching a bride walk down the aisle—even on TV—still makes her tear up. The New York-area writer's other favorite wedding moments are when the groom sees the bride for the first time, hearing the toasts, and when she sees a waiter with a tray full of hors d'oeuvres walking towards her. 

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