How long should my speech be?
We recommend your speech to be 5-7 minutes. This is the same amount of time a comedian would receive as a host of a comedy club. This is the appropriate amount of time to keep a wedding reception's attention span.
How do I calculate the time it will take to deliver my speech?
The average person says about 130 words per minute. After you've written your speech simply divide the total words by 130 to get an estimate of the length. If you're nervous, you may speak faster and can use 145 words per speech.
How to start your speech?
Start by asking (and answering) as many questions as possible. Whether you're writing a toast or a new 5 minute set, questions are key. Ask yourself stuff like:
When and how did you first meet the bride or groom.
Why are they special to you?
What's the best memory you have together?
Continue asking questions and write it all down. After your page is full of content, focus on writing the speech.
Who should I go to for speech feedback?
The toughest part about a wedding speech is the audience; it's made up of a wide demographic such as family, friends, strangers, and people young to old. Remember, you're speaking to a universal audience.
This is why you need to run your speech by what would be the toughest person to entertain: a stranger. We recommend emailing your speech to someone and give only a little (if any) background info before they read it. If they are entertain and "get it", then the people who know you and the bride and groom will love it even more.
How funny should it be?
We recommend 60% funny 40% heartfelt.
What if I don't know either the person the Bride or Groom is marrying?
The solution to this is to decribe the bride (if you're the Maid of Honor) and how only someone as amazing, sweet, funny, etc. - would be qualified to marry her. Using this strategy, you can compliment the Groom without saying something phoney or untrue.
What if I don't like the person the Groom or Bride is marrying?
Take the high road and say nothing negative and don't over compensate the other way - keep the focus the positive.
Many people think a wedding speech should be a roast and that's fine, but you have to follow the blueprint used by comedians every night all over the country. Before a comedian starts making fun other people he or she does two things:
1. Makes a connnection with the audience
2. Makes fun of himself (or herself) first
This is the following template you should follow on your speech:
- Start by thanking everyone and complimenting the bride on how beautiful she looks.
- Introduce yourself and explain your relationship to the bride or groom.
Say something nice about the other side (example: if you're the Best Man, thank the Bride's parents for hosting the wedding and mention how they raised an amazing daughter).
Talk up the groom (or bride for the MOH) and explain why they are so special. End with taking a shot at yourself.
Tip: Try to use examples when describing people; it's more impactful to say "my brother drove me around everywhere for three months when my car was broken" instead of "my brother is a great guy".
The fun part... start to roast the bride or groom (see our Comedians Guide to Writing Jokes for help)
Don't forget the toast. In comedy, the two most important jokes are the opener and the closer so always finish strong.
Laugh Staff is built using stand-up comedians as writers and consultants. A wedding speech is the closest anyone will ever come to doing stand-up comedy, so it only makes sense to get help from professional comedians. Our comedians have worked for the likes of Howard Stern and SNL Weekend Update.