“For those of you who don’t know me, I am the bride’s sister, Susie.”
It’s the line we have heard a million times in a variety of forms. Chances are if you are standing up to give a speech at a wedding, the majority of the guests know who you are. If you think they don’t, then just introduce yourself! Either way there is no excuse for an awful speech. Follow these easy do’s and dont’s if you want a speech that will WOW the wedding guests!
Do: Write your speech ahead of time
Most people cannot get up in a room full of people and deliver a speech “from the heart.” It is easy to get side tracked and begin rambling. For example:
Luke Wilson starts his best man speech in Old School without any thought and he quickly goes off on an inappropriate tangent. This isn’t the movies, so you won’t have Vince Vaughn to get things back on track!
Don’t: Make it about you
Your toast should be about the bride and groom, not your relationship with just one or the other. The other guests won’t get the 20 inside jokes you tell or find them funny. Your speech should be about the newlyweds and their relationship. No bride or groom wants to witness their sister bring up her rocky past in front of all their friends and family.
Cue Anne Hathaway in Rachel Getting Married.
Do: Keep things appropriate
This means no exes, no crazy party stories, and nothing that you wouldn’t want your grandparents to hear. This is a happy day and all anecdotes should reflect that.
Don’t be Alan from the Hangover 2…
Do: Keep it short and sweet
Many weddings average 4 toasts and your audience is most likely starving or ready to dance! 2-3 minutes should be sufficient to recall your relationship, send well wishes, and still keep your audience’s attention. If you need help keeping it short and sweet don’t hesitate to borrow someone else’s words.
Follow in Cameron Diaz’s footsteps!
Don’t: Take advantage of the open bar until after your speech
Nobody wants to look back on their wedding day to see an overly intoxicated loved one give a terrible speech.
Learn from the movies and do not be this guy!
Overall, you should be flattered that the bride or groom wants you to give a speech on their big day. We urge you to take our advice to create a happy, memorable speech, that won’t leave guests yawning or feeling second-hand embarrassment. If you are still unsure, you can always leave it to the professionals to write one for you.