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How to write a wedding speech: The ultimate expert tips & examples to impress

Discover top examples and templates to help you master the perfect wedding speech

A best man giving a wedding speech
Chloe Best
Chloe BestLifestyle Features Editor
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Public speaking can be a daunting prospect at any time, but especially at a wedding, when you want to ensure it sets the tone for the occasion and is remembered for all the right reasons.

Perhaps you want to nail the perfect best man's speech, share your love and pride as father of the bride, or you may even want to break tradition and give a speech as the bride or maid of honour, just as Meghan Markle did at her 2018 wedding to Prince Harry. Regardless of your role in the nuptials, there are a few key things to consider when writing your speech and rehearsing ahead of the big day – from what to include (and the stories that are better left omitted).

But fear not, with our expert tips and wedding speech templates and examples you can not only learn how to write a wedding speech, but also deliver it with confidence.

How to write a wedding speech

Start your wedding speech writing process with a brainstorming session, jotting down anything you think you should include, any particular anecdotes that spring to mind, and thinking about your relationship to the soon-to-be newlyweds.

MORE: How many people should I invite to my wedding?

It may also be helpful to consider other factors, such as who will be speaking before or after you, as you may want to reference their speech, or introduce the next speaker. Think about who will be in the audience too; weddings typically host guests of all ages and backgrounds, so inside jokes and embarrassing stories that may make close friends and younger guests laugh could fall flat with older members of the congregation.

There are some formalities you may need to cover too, including thanking certain people for planning and hosting the wedding, for attending the big day, or paying a heartfelt tribute to loved ones who are missing from the occasion.

Wedding speech template

While the style and content of your speech will be unique to you, there are a few key things you may want to include from the template below.

  1. Introduce yourself and explain your relationship to the couple. Of course, you won't need to do this if you are one of the newlyweds.
  2. Thank guests for attending the wedding and joining the celebrations.
  3. Share anecdotes about the couple – perhaps you may want to share a favourite memory of them, or tell a story about the bride or groom that guests would like to hear, before relating it back to the couple now.
  4. Wrap it up by sharing your wishes for the newlyweds and invite guests to join you in a toast.
  5. End by thanking the audience and introducing the next speaker if needed.

READ: Who should sit on the top table at your wedding? Dos and Don'ts

Wedding speech tips

Matthew Shaw, creative director and founder of sauveur., shares his six top wedding speech tips to help you both when writing your speech and delivering it on the big day.

1. Stick to an angle

 "Speeches can sprawl quite easily when you're trying to cover so much and this makes them difficult to follow. When you first start planning your speech it's definitely helpful to throw lots of ideas around but then try to focus on an overall theme or approach. This could be a personality trait, great jokes, or a more heartfelt approach, but it will help you, and the guests, if there is a clear angle to follow. In turn, this will help your guests follow along and you will be gifted with a better response from the room," he recommends.

"When it comes to content, remember to keep it clean and universal. By all means poke fun at your subject with a glint in your eye, but consider who may be present and keep the shaming stories for another time. Similarly, you should consider what your audience can relate to too. No one wants to sit through a five minute private joke they don't understand!"

A best man giving his speech at a wedding
Having a brainstorming session can help you to write your wedding speech

2. Use notes rather than a script

 "As much as possible, I suggest rehearsing enough so that you know the overall structure and points off by heart and then using notes as a guide on the day. Your speech will feel much more natural for this and it will also help you look up and out across the room.

 "For our weddings we often stick these into a spare order of service so they look smart and are also easier to hold and turn the page. This will also help you with your eye contact. It will help your speech feel more personal if you make eye contact around the room instead of with the floor in front of you. Whatever works for you but whatever you do, don't read off your phone!"

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3. Keep it short and sweet!

 "A tale as old as time but I really cannot stress this enough! It is very difficult to distil a friendship or relationship into a couple of minutes but you will be thanked for this, I promise. I recommend three to five minutes and no more than eight," Matthew advises. "A clear, tight, structure will help you deliver a brilliant speech and leave everyone wanting more. This is equally important on the day itself; do not go off script and meander through your thoughts. If you lose your place you can pause and refer to your notes, but do not freestyle and make it up as you go along. I have never seen a long wedding speech that has been well received."

4. Best Speech Ever (B.S.E)

 "This is my acronym for putting the finishing touches on an excellent speech. Body language, speed, and energy. Once you've written your speech, the crucial next step is to rehearse it so you are comfortable with your material and delivery."

Body language:

"Make sure you rehearse in front of the mirror so you can see how you deliver the speech. Keep an eye out for any nervous ticks you may have and what your hands are doing. Ask the couple if you will be using a microphone and, if so, practice with a hairbrush. You should hold it steady, a few centimetres from your mouth. If you wave it around as you speak you'll land up sounding like a train station announcement!"


 "Remember to keep it slow. We have a habit of speaking fast when nervous, which will make it hard for your audience to follow. I suggest recording yourself so you can play it back and work out how much to slow down. It's also important to allow moments for you to pause for reaction, and to take your breath or a sip of water. If helpful, write these into your notes as a reminder. Don't try and rattle off the whole speech without any breaks."


"To avoid monotone delivery, work out the energy of each section in your speech and practice moving between different registers. This will help keep it interesting as well ensuring your audience follows along. And PRACTICE! When ready, ask a couple of trusted friends/family members to have a run through too."

MORE: 60 ultimate first dance songs

How do you start a wedding speech?

Start your wedding speech by introducing yourself and explaining your relationship to the couple. There are many ways to do this, whether you want to keep it simple and to the point or make the audience laugh with a joke. 

A bride and groom at their wedding reception© iStock
A wedding speech can be short and sweet

How do you make a short and sweet wedding speech?

Wedding speeches are notorious for over-running and going on for hours, so it's understandable that some people would prefer to keep theirs short and sweet. As long as you include the key elements from the wedding speech templates above you should have the formula for a memorable speech that will be loved by the happy couple and their guests alike.

Wedding speech examples:

Use these wedding speech introduction examples to inspire your own, and get your speech off to a great start.

"Hello, I'm XXX and I'm so happy to welcome you all here on this beautiful day."

"Hi, my name is XXX and it's an honour to be here today as XXX's best man/ maid of honour."

"Family and friends of XXX and XXX, thank you for being here today to celebrate their marriage."

"Hi everyone, I'm (Groom's name). You probably all already know who I am, and if you don't, well done for sneaking in."

"Good afternoon everyone, my name is XXX, but you can call me 'XXX-would-you-like-a-drink'."

"Welcome to the celebration of XXX and XXX's wedding."

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