Top 5 Tips on Giving an Epic Wedding Speech
If you’re struggling to write a great wedding speech then we have great news. I’m going to share with you our top wedding speech tips so you can deliver a memorable wedding speech that you and your audience will be proud of. These wedding speech tips come directly from the hundreds of weddings we’ve filmed and we’re confident it will help you write that amazing wedding speech that will capture everyone’s attention.
1. Microphone Placement
2. Celebrate BOTH Newlyweds
3. Don’t Wing It (Practice, Practice and Practice)
4. Finish Strong with a Toast
5. Final Tips and Thoughts
1. Microphone Placement – It doesn’t matter how great your speech is if no one can hear you! That’s why this simple but overlooked idea of ‘microphone placement’ is the number one item on our top 5 wedding speech tips list. You would be amazed at how often we see this happen at weddings, there’s usually at least one person, which is unfortunate because how easily it can be avoided with just a little awareness and practice. Don’t worry I have your back! I’ve filmed and edited hundreds of wedding speeches over the years and I’m fortunate to have come from an audio engineer background before entering my true calling of video production.
I’m telling you first hand I’ve never heard an audience member at a wedding reception blurt out, “you’re too loud” or “can you please turn it down,” but I’ve heard the exact opposite with “we can’t hear you” or “can you speak louder” or “ please talk into the mic.” Most of the time the person giving the toast doesn’t need to speak any louder, they just need to position the microphone closer to their mouth. It’s really that simple but it can be difficult to hold it there consistently for the entire speech if you’re unaware of how important this issue is. From a wedding filmmaker point of view the audio we record is going to sound so much better meaning the quality of the wedding film your wedding videographer makes will be better too. Bad audio will ruin a great video all day long.
We see it happen all the time, the microphone either slowly drifts further away from the speaker’s mouth creating an inconsistent volume throughout the toast or the microphone is swayed all over the place due some natural theatrical hand movements we might use in everyday conversation. Check out some of the picture examples to reference what I’m talking about.
Keep in mind the DJ has limited options when boosting the microphone levels if the microphone placement is not correct. I’ll save you the details and nerdy audio science on how important this is as I think you get the point now. So, you’re probably asking what’s the proper microphone distance then? I’m glad you asked! As a general rule of thumb, you should place the microphone about 4” (inches) away from your mouth. Don’t worry if you’re at 3” or 5” inches just try your best to stick in that range of 4” (inches).
Keep in mind that your wedding DJ is probably using the same microphone that’s used at the majority of live concerts and bands and if you’ve ever noticed there’s probably a time where the lead singer literally is touching their lips to the microphone and singing their heart out. With that said, closer is always better. Try this trick, make a fist with one hand and then touch your thumb knuckle to your lips, the distance from this thumb knuckle to your pinky knuckle is a good microphone distance and I bet is probably closer than many of you think. Practice this distance by holding any object, try a stapler or a marker, and rehearse your speech until you feel comfortable with this. Sometimes there will be a microphone stand for the person giving a wedding toast, use it and feel free to take an extra moment adjusting the stand so the microphone is placed properly. Here’s a couple pictures to help show what I’m talking about.
Last but not least, feel free to start your speech with a “Testing 1, 2, 3 – can everyone hear me? How’s the volume?” and wait a moment for some feedback. This wedding speech tip not only allows you to take a few breaths of air as you settle in the spotlight for a moment but gives you, the audience and the DJ a chance to get settled before you dominate and give your epic wedding speech.
2. Celebrate BOTH Newlyweds – It’s probably safe to assume that you’re a lot closer to either the bride OR the groom meaning you have endless stories and compliments about one and not the other. This is even more apparent if you are mom or dad giving the speech with 20+ years of material to reference. However, it’s important to balance your toast with kind words about each of the newlyweds or at least make sure you carve out a few awesome sentences for the other person.
It shouldn’t be too difficult to come up with some wording on how well both complement each other and take it a step further by providing some examples. It’s crazy how often we see a speech that’s solely about one person when this whole event is about two. Even if your new brother in law drive you crazy, you should deliver your speech as if he has a heart of Nelson Mandela.
Here’s a sentence you can work into your speech: “I can honestly say in the X number of years that I’ve known (insert name), I’ve never seen (him/her) this happy, it’s clear that (he/she) is a better person because of you (insert name). There’s no doubt that the two of you are better together and I’m excited for this new adventure that awaits you.”
This is also a good opportunity to compliment both sets of parents by saying something like, “it’s clear, that Mr. and Mrs. (Mom & Dad) did a great job at teaching their (son/daughter) the value of kindness, patience, and love. Although today is about the bride and groom we should take a moment to applaud both sets of Moms and Dads for not only hosting such a beautiful event but also raising two fantastic people. Please put your hands together for the parents.”
I see it all the time, the best man takes the stage and dedicates the entire speech of his toast talking about the groom and neglects to talk about the bride or anyone else. Long story short, see if there’s a way to acknowledge a couple more wedding VIP’s.
3. Don’t Wing It (Practice, Practice and Practice) – When you have 150 sets of eyes on you, or maybe 500+ that we’ve seen at some Indian weddings, you will be surprised how quickly your brain takes a vacation. After practicing all the wedding speech tips keep in mind there is no shame in using prompt cards. We’ve all heard the saying ”practice makes perfect.” There’s a reason professional athletes, musicians, doctors, you name it, practice their craft, so why would you do anything different? I’m assuming you’ve been given a decent amount of time to write your speech so save the embarrassment and do not wing it.
Trust me, I’ve seen my fair share of speeches, typically from a cocky groomsman, who thinks they can wing it and my gosh is it bad. I get it, you want your toast to sound natural and unscripted. I agree but that will be better achieved by practicing your speech repeatedly and simply not reading it. No one says you have to speak for 10 minutes or give a PowerPoint lecture so if you need to keep it short and sweet no problem. Quality over quantity here. Time yourself to make sure you’re not dragging on too long and cut out some of those unnecessary items if need be.
Again, the wedding guests would rather someone read their entire speech than try winging it and look like a bozo clown. I recommend writing out some bullet point notes that you take up with you as this “cheat sheet” will help you follow an intentional path in case you lose track of where you are. It’s okay to be nervous, own it and prepare for it, and use some brief notes to help you get through it. We have more tips below regarding the written words in your speech.
4. Finish Strong with a Toast – It’s all about a strong ending! You want to make it clear that your wedding speech is finished so whatever you say, imagine an explanation point (!) at the end of your sentence, we want to pick up the energy and tempo here. Keep in mind that the last thing you say is usually the final words the audience will remember.
You can play it safe with a simple traditional toast like “please join me in raising a glass to the happy couple – to (NAME) and (NAME).” We see an expansion of that a lot with this one here, “I’d like you all to join me in wishing the new Mr. and Mrs. (NAME) all the wealth, health, and happiness in the world. To the bride and groom!” Another example could be, “To my best friend and his beautiful new bride. Mr. and Mrs. (NAME).” Here’s another option, “here is a toast to a beautiful couple – to a long life together filled with happiness, adventure, and most importantly a lot of love. To Mr. and Mrs. (NAME)! Cheers!”
Speak with strength and if you’re having trouble closing your speech reach for a powerful quote. A quick Google search should give a plethora of quotes or more closing examples at an instant.
5. Final Wedding Speech Tips and Thoughts
- Monitor your alcohol consumption until the speech is complete. I know it can be tempting, due to the natural nervous situation, to slam back a few cocktails before taking the stage. I’m sure everyone would appreciate your wedding toast without slurring though. Personally, I’m all for taking the “edge off” but seriously try and keep it to a one or maybe two drink max.
- Keep things concise; see if you can time your wedding toast to be around 5 minutes. It’s surprising how fast 5 minutes can fly by and let’s go for quality over quantity here. This will also make it easier to memorize parts of your speech compared to a 10 to 15+ minute wedding speech.
- Introduce yourself. It’s probably because I’m a wedding filmmaker that I officially do not like the intro “for those of you who don’t know me….” I’ve heard it so many times and not sure why that’s become the standard intro. Be you but I think there’s some other options. I do think it’s important to tell everyone in a few words how you know the bride and groom so they have a better understanding of your relationship with them so see how you can incorporate this into your speech.
- Make a joke. I think it’s refreshing when there’s some clever jokes or funny stories to get the crowd laughing. We don’t want it to turn into a Comedy Central roast. Just keep in mind grandma and some young children are in the audience so let’s keep it rated PG or maybe PG13 if you feel it’s the right crowd.
- Tell a story. Everyone loves a great story just try to keep it short and to the point by removing the nonessential items. Feel free to recruit some other friends or family members to brainstorm some good stories that you can share.
- Don’t panic. It’s an honor to be given the opportunity to give a wedding toast. Embrace this and own it. The more you practice and follow these tips the better off you will be and don’t forget to breath!
- Wedding Speech Formula. Introduce yourself + funny story about your friend and why you love them + why the spouse is such a great match + sentimental thought + wedding toast + cheers + a hug for the newlyweds = a truly great wedding toast.
- Wedding Film Examples. Feel free to check out some of our wedding film examples for additional real life examples to gather your own wedding speech tips and tricks that’s been used in our work.
A special thank you and shout out to Santiago Almada for letting us use his pictures from a couple different Indian weddings we captured together. If you would like to check out his Photography you can do so by visiting his website at https://salmada.com/.
If you would like to see some of the wedding film examples we’ve shot you can check out some examples here https://vimeo.com/skypointproductions