I find speeches can make or break any party atmosphere.  How many times have you cringed during a best man’s speech or on the contrary - roared with laughter and clapped for an encore?  A well delivered speech should accomplish two things – it should make all guests feel welcome and included and recognize the celebration or purpose of the party.  I always try to work hard with wedding emcees to make them feel prepared and confident and deliver a great program to compliment a beautiful celebration.  Here are some other tips for everyone planning a wedding (or any speech) in the future.

Introduce Yourself

Start your speech by introducing yourself since you can never assume everyone knows who you are and how you know the special couple.   At the end of your speech don’t forget to thank the hosts for the celebration and recognize how hard they worked to put together the big day!

Prepare and Rehearse

At a minimum, you should have a rough outline in your head of what you would like to say, however I strongly recommend you have some back up notes on paper or in your phone. Don’t be afraid to read your speech but be mindful to interact with your audience and avoid reading your speech verbatim.   If you are ill prepared, you’ll end up stumbling through your speech and it will be uncomfortable for everyone!

Keep it Short and Polite

Don’t just talk for the sake of talking!  When it comes to speeches, less is ALWAYS more and I recommend 5 minutes MAX including the time it takes you to walk to the podium an back to your seat.  Every sentence should have a purpose and please no ‘inside jokes!’ 

Keep it Classy

Feel free to share a personal anecdote, story or joke but keep it tasteful and familiar.  It is a celebration, not a roast and if it’s a commonality everyone can relate to, the better!  If you are feeling iffy about a personal story, skip it.

Keep it Light
You are celebrating, so have fun with your speech and go easy on the serious stuff.  I think it’s always important to acknowledge cherished family members who have passed away or important events that shaped your relationship with the couple but always err on the side of caution.  If you want to recognize a serious part of your past but are uncertain about it, leave it out of the main wedding speech and write a letter to the couple to share sentiments with them privately.