The rings have been exchanged, the photos have been snapped, and everyone is enjoying the eat, drink, and be merry section of your wedding day… and then come the speeches.
They can be entertaining, inspiring, maybe even bring a tear or two to the eye. But when they go on and on… and on, it can quickly become a bit of a downer.
So how long should a wedding speech be? Even if you think you are the world’s best entertainer, the experts say the absolute maximum should be 10 minutes. Anything after the stopwatch strikes 10 will be going over the heads of guests as they would most likely have lost interest altogether.
So why do people think a good speech is a long one? Mainly because they feel compelled to share an entire life story of the bride or groom, or simply don’t take the time to read their speech aloud before the wedding day to gauge how long it is.
We can draw inspiration from the great Sir Richard Branson, who has given many a speech in his life (perhaps also at weddings…). He says, “most of what anybody has to say of great note can fit on one side of paper.”
Also, when you consider there will most likely be two or three speeches happening in succession, you don’t want to be the one who is still rambling on while guests check their watches to see when they think they’ll be able to go to the toilet or get seconds from the buffet.
There are some simple tricks you can use to ensure your wedding speech falls inside that golden time frame – and they both involve planning ahead.
The first is to watch your word count as you write your speech. Most people speak at a rate of 130 words per minute, so if you aim for a word count of 750 words, you will be on the right track.
The second trick is to read your speech aloud and time it. This will help you to commit some parts of your speech to memory (helping you with all-important eye contact!) and also ensure you can deliver the speech at a normal conversational rate.
How do you know what to write about in your wedding speech? Here are some pointers to help get you started:
What the father could cover
- Introduce yourself
- Thank guests for attending, especially those who have travelled, and those who helped to pull the day together
- Talk about your daughter (or son) and share fond memories you have of them growing up
- Boast about some accomplishments of theirs that have made you proud, one of which might be meeting their new spouse
- Compliment your child’s new spouse
- Wish them happiness in the future, maybe with some words of wisdom
What the maid of honour or best man could cover
- Introduce yourself
- What you love about the bride or groom
- An anecdote or memory involving the bride or groom
- The love story
- Show the partner some love
- Looking to the future
What the newlyweds could cover
- Thank your guests for coming and remember those who could not be there
- Share your love story from a personal view and how lucky you feel to have found one another
- You might like to share a quirky story about your wedding planning and how pleased you are with how the day has panned out
- Give a shout out to your new spouse and maybe share a little something about what you love most about them
- A toast! To your guests, to your marriage, and to the future.