Monday, April 12, 2010

how to write the most kick-ass wedding speech ever

I'm hoping you would be able to give me some advice on writing the most kick-ass wedding speech ever heard. My bff is getting married in a fortnight (and in a converted old stable nonetheless) and she and her mister have asked me to give their speech... the thing is this is my first wedding reception ever so I have no idea what to say. I'm no stranger to giving speeches but they are usually academic and very wordy and best said in a nasal voice.. not quite what she is looking for I'm sure!

All the advice on the internet is sapppy (tha bad, not good, kind) and a little too generic for Perth's coolest wedding of the year - but I feel like you know just how to give me a kick in the right direction!


Mkay. I've been avoiding this one.

When my MOH got married I spent the entire cocktail hour in the ladies room desperately scribbling my speech on index cards and pacing back and forth in front of the mirror trying to memorize it. So I might not be the right person to ask.

But I will say this: Don't aim to write a "kick-ass" speech. Don't put pressure on yourself to impress everyone. It's not about you.* Instead, dig down deep into your guts** and try to put into words what makes your friend the coolest, sweetest, toughest, [whatever it is you love the most about her] person on the planet. And what makes these two perfect for each other.

(Image via FFFFOUND!)

*Every best man at every wedding I've ever been to has used the fucking speech as his opportunity to show off how well-spoken and/or hilarious he is. And when he pulls out a sheaf of yellow legal paper, I stop listening.

**It's always about the guts.


  1. AGREED. I was asked to give a speech once and it was THE most nerve-wracking public speaking experience I've ever had. I think everyone was expecting me to be super funny but I found that pressure really scary, so I just spoke from the heart (cheesy but true), and it worked. Be sincere, both in the funny and serious stuff. Weddings are sincere. You will be fine.

    Also don't get too drunk before the speech. But do have a drink or two to calm your nerves!

  2. Best speach I heard was a poem... oh it was so funny. think about your firend and the funny times you had then pick a thesaurus. good luck!

  3. I'd as, as well, that short is probably good. Unless you have a really heartfelt story you want to share about the couple, you can't go wrong with short and sincere. And if you DO get stage fright, you'll appreciate having to stand there for a shorter amount of time.

  4. yes, speak from your heart. it's really more of a toast than a speech, so you want to keep it honest and heartfelt. my father-in-law was the best man and his toast was so unbelievably moving because he really put his emotions into it. it wasn't funny or witty, just sweet and pure. the best line: "to me, love is kindness, and i've never seen two people be more kind to each other than joseph and celia". i remember it like it was yesterday and it still gives me the chills.

  5. I haven't ever done a wedding speech (I'm panicking just thinking about it) but each of the five grandkids spoke at my grandfather's (last ever) birthday. I started with a story that illuminated the man he was and is to me, used a few words to give context the the story, and that was enough. I'm not really do "funny" in public situations, so I didn't even try. I just went for meaningful and heartfelt, and it was just right for me, for my grandfather, and for our relationship.

  6. Yes. Toast, not speech.

    The worst ones are when people try to be funny and end up being mean, instead. Like "my sister can never stick to anything, so here's hoping she sticks to this!" mean.

  7. keep it SO short! if you normally are a wise-ass, then being genuinely funny in your speech would have already come to you. you asking esb for advice is a clear indicator of your sweetness and how much you care for your bff, so go with that. stay sweet.

  8. I was shaking when I had to give my MOH speech over the summer! I tried to make it funny ("advice for living with the bride from a girl who has lived with her for five years"). Not everyone got the inside jokes, but the bride loved it, and at the end of the day, that was the most important thing.

    and i second esb on the anti-kick-ass approach.

  9. I just love that this poster used the word "fortnight". If you are the kind of person who regularly uses rad words like that, then your speech is bound to be cool :)

  10. I gave a speech at my bff's wedding in October, and it went pretty well, and I think the best man's speech was great. We both followed the same general outline.

    A. I love you both and am so happy for you.
    B. Some cute anecdotal story about their relationship that you witnessed.
    C. I love you both and am so happy for you.

    Also, we both requested that our speeches be moved *up* in the schedule so that our open bar access did not ruin everything. This turned out to be a very good idea.

  11. Great advice here already!

    And I would recommend not overdoing the prep, unless you are one of those people who is so terrified by public speaking that you MUST HAVE an entirely memorized speech (sounds like you aren't).

    All you really need is a light outline, or a few specific phrases that you want to use. Then you can speak casually and it won't feel forced and you'll look cool.

    My advice?

    Think them/her(if you don't know the guy really well), not you. No one is interested in you at this shindig.

    Sweet/heartfelt goes over better than embarrassing/funny. Unless you are genuinely hilarious (most people aren't).

    Shortness is key. Everyone really just wants to drink and eat cake, and they get cranky if you take too long.

  12. The fact that you care enough to do the speech, and to ask for advice about it even, tells me you will do great no matter what it ends up being. Really. Speak from the heart and your friend will love it. It honestly doesn't need to be the speech of the century, not even close.

    This advice brought to you by the girl whose two maids of honor forgot to prepare their speech in advance and therefore didn't say anything. It hurt. Ever since then I've looked at wedding speeches in a whole new light. Whether they are cheesy, sappy, funny, shy, or slightly boozy, they are an expression of love and therefore are all kick ass.

  13. If you are going to make it funny, don't embarrass the bride/groom, embarrass yourself, but make sure the story is still about them.

  14. totally agree with ESB advice:
    if you are honest about what you love about the person it will always become a great speech.
    i am not married but at my recent Berlin farewell party, some friends were unexpectingly holding a little speech, and their words where the loveliest ever...
    and yep, tears were rolling down my cheeks!

  15. I lub the banana girl. She is my favorite of all the girls.

    Toasts: I always practice in front of the mirror two times. Then I'm set.

  16. and for fuck sake keep it short. jeez people like to ramble.

  17. keep it short.
    Keep it sincere.
    Don't try being too witty.

  18. no one but the bride will be listening...

    now can we talk about THAT PICTURE!! f'ing amazing!

  19. say what you want to say to the bride and groom. don't think of it as a speech to a room full of people you hardly know.

  20. I'm in full agreement with ESB on this one...
    My MOH gave the most incredible speech at our wedding... she made me feel like the raddest person in the world, while keeping things light & entertaining.
    Write from your heart (and keep it under two minutes) and you'll be fine :)

  21. don't drink too much wine/champagne before you get up to do your thang.
    For my friend's wedding, I decided to start by roasting her (thanks to years of melodramatic note passing kept in a shoebox). after i started reading through the notes at home it all fell into place- the anxiety of love, the frustration, and the dream of life. etc etc. good luck, and like she said- don't aim for a kick ass speech, just be honest, be humble, and be sincere. use your insides.

  22. i don't know much about weddings, but i consider myself an expert on bananas, and HOLY FUCK do i love that photo!!!