How to Write a Wedding-Video-Worthy Speech + Examples
We’ve all been to a wedding where the best man or maid of honor’s speech was ... interesting at best. Wedding toasts are an essential part of a great reception (and a great wedding video), when they’re well-rehearsed, well-thought-out, and share the right story. In this guide, we will show you how to write the perfect wedding toast. But why take our word for it? Because as wedding videographers, we’ve witnessed literally thousands of wedding toasts from Oscar-worthy to truly unbearable. We know what to say during a wedding toast to keep the audience invested ... and maybe even make it into the wedding video!
So here is some advice from your friendly neighborhood wedding videographer on how to write a wedding toast that’s worth remembering.
How to Write a Wedding Toast
First and foremost, comb through your memories for a good memory of the couple. Obviously, it’s OK to spend a sentence or two introducing yourself and how you know the couple, but try to keep anecdotes about you and the bride/groom to a minimum. The WORST speeches are well-intended toasts where the speaker, hopefully by accident, talks about themselves the whole time!
Here’s a good rule of thumb: if your speech has more content about you and your half of the couple than about the bride and groom, try again. Even if the content about you is setting up a memory or explaining context! Go back to the drawing board and pick another story that keeps the couple in question at the heart of your speech.
When writing, keep it short and sweet, we find that 2-3 minutes is the golden time, but certainly do not exceed 5. Pro tip: if you’re writing in 12-point, double-spaced font, it will probably be about 1-2 minutes per page. Everyone’s pace is different, so be sure to practice the speech and consider timing yourself (more on that in a moment).
So What CAN I Talk About?
So if you can’t talk about yourself and one half of the couple, what can you talk about? We’re glad you asked! Here are some ideas:
- Why are you excited that the couple is together?
- How did the couple meet? Were you there for it?
- How does your friend’s new fiancé affect them? What changes have you noticed since they met each other?
- When did you know that the couple was “the real deal”?
- What does the couple like to do together? Do they have any special hobbies that the crowd might like to know about?
- If you are a parent: what was the moment you realized the bride and groom were meant to be together?
- If you’re a parent who is or has been married: what’s one quick piece of advice you’d give to the new couple? We find that simple, memorable “proverb”-type advice works best.
Brainstorm a few different ideas for stories to tell that hit on one or a few of these points, then work one or two of them into an appropriate-length speech.
Write a Hilarious Wedding Toast... or not!
As for humor . . . adding a funny or witty anecdote is ideal, but don’t stress too much! The most important part of your speech is to celebrate the special love shared by the newlyweds. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself when it comes to humor. Remember that this isn’t your comedy tour! This is a toast given to honor your friends, the bride and groom. Even if the crowd isn’t laughing, if they learn something new about the special couple, you’ve succeeded.
Pro Tip: No Explicit Content
When it comes to choosing a story and adding in the details, know your audience. Some well-intended speech-givers we have witnessed have pulled out a BAD or embarrassing experience the couple had. Remember that meemaw and peepaw are in the audience! And possibly their boss and coworkers! 👀 Try not to put the newlyweds in an awkward situation.
Remember, also, that we are celebrating their love! We once attended a wedding in which the speech-giver very much implied the groom had cheated on the bride... not a good look. Not sure if a story is too embarrassing? You can always ask the bride or groom. Here’s a good rule of thumb: when in doubt, ask! Even if you’re only a little unsure, it’s better to ask than to regret it later.
Bonus note: Remember that some brides or grooms may not have made their drinking or smoking habits public knowledge. It’s always a good idea to get approval when your story involves substances.
How to Prepare for Giving a Wedding Toast
As the day approaches, remember: PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT. Every time you read your speech it gets a little better, so read it in the mirror, read it to your mom, read it to your dog, just keep reading that thing till you feel comfortable about it. Bonus points if you get some feedback from your listeners. Other members of the party may be especially willing to hear your speech and give some feedback! Which is a good reminder: Don’t write it so close to the day that you don’t have time to rehearse! Nothing kills a speech like a dozen “ums” and “uhhhs” (especially for the video editor painstakingly editing clips later 😬). If you’re a parent of the bride or groom, this goes for you, too. It’s worth practicing beforehand so you’re not rambling as you share your special memory or piece of advice.
Finally: Don’t forget to end with a toast! Sometimes the simple toasts are the best (for video purposes, anyway), you can’t go wrong with a classic, raise your glass to the new Mr. And Mrs. ____!
Wedding Toast Examples
Using the bullet points from earlier, here’s an example we came up with for our imaginary BFFs, Jack and Jill. Let’s say they met on a hike, which became a hobby that they shared throughout their relationship. We might write about the hike on which they met, chat about some of their favorite hiking destinations, and tie it all together with a cute-but-corny “life is a journey and you’ll need a trail buddy” line. Then, ask guests to raise their toasts to our favorite hiking power couple, the new Mr. and Mrs!
Giving Your Speech on the Wedding Day
On the big day: don’t sweat it. You’ve practiced, you’ve gotten feedback, you’ve made sure to put the focus on the couple, and you’ve got nothing to worry about. The audience will be focused on the couple, not you—so enjoy your moment at the front, but don’t be nervous. A final note on the big day: a little alcohol is fine, but don’t be drunk for your speech. We speak from experience here... it doesn’t work out well for anyone. Especially not the best man at the first wedding we ever filmed who unfortunately threw up in the bushes after his speech... You might want to be memorable—but not for that reason!
At the end of the day, the toast can feel like a lot of pressure to write and perform, but don’t worry. Just take your time writing and make sure you direct all the attention to the new couple–the audience will gladly cast their eyes to those two as they sit at the head table looking like a couple of lovebirds. If you follow our expert guide, there’s a good chance you’ll be drawing down laughs and compliments for your stellar speech, and who knows, you might even make it into the wedding video!