For those who were born to perform (you know who you are), cracking jokes in front of hundreds of wedding guests is a lifelong dream. Whereas for others, the thought of delivering a speech is the stuff of cold-sweat nightmares.
Regardless of whether you’re a wallflower or an extrovert, it’s important to know how long a wedding speech should be. Otherwise, your guests could end up nodding off before you reach the punchline!
Delivering a wedding toast should be a proud moment, one that touches and delights guests in equal measure. No easy task, sure, but it’s something that with a bit of planning and practice, you’ll be able to master.
Whether you’re a soon-to-be newlywed, parent, wedding party member, or special guest – we’re going to help you craft a perfectly timed wedding speech and put you one step closer to obtaining celebrity status for your toasting abilities!
How Long Should a Wedding Speech Be?
We’re sure you’ve heard plenty of horror stories of those family members who have one or two drinks before their speech and end up sharing their entire life story during the wedding breakfast.
Nobody wants this, least of all the newly married couple. Especially if it’s the best man, and he’s become a little loose-lipped!
Embarrassing stories centered around speeches often all have the length in common.
The father-in-law rambled on for hours. The best man went into a deep dive on this one camping trip he and the groom took. We couldn’t wait for the chief bridesmaid to get to the point!
Nobody wants a long speech, therefore the key to success is keeping yours under 10 minutes, and bear in mind that 10 minutes is the absolute maximum! Also, it should only be that long if there aren’t many others giving toasts.
Is an 8-Minute Speech Too Long?
All the wedding toasts combined should not last longer than 30 minutes. If people are speaking for more than half an hour, your wedding guests will start to get bored, no matter how enthralling your stories are.
An 8-minute speech is ideal if only three people are giving a toast, and assuming you feel like you’ve got enough to say.
This isn’t an exam, you can certainly keep it short if that works for you.
What Is the Optimal Length for a Wedding Speech?
Short and sweet is the name of the game. It’s all too easy to disappear into your head and start thinking these people need to hear everything you’ve got to say about your friend or family member.
Remember, you are one of probably six people giving a speech at the wedding breakfast, so keep it tight, and avoid any rambled thoughts.
With this in mind, we would say the average wedding speech should last between 4-5 minutes. And the amount of time you’re speaking should be about 3.5 minutes.
This is to allow for the rapturous applause you will undoubtedly receive throughout, and all the pauses for laughter. In terms of words, this is around 500.
What To Include in Your Wedding Speech
Start by introducing yourself. You may be known by a large portion of the room, but there will always be a section of the group who have no idea who you are.
Tell people what your role is at the wedding, thank everyone for coming, and generally welcome the wider wedding party.
The specifics of your wedding toast will depend on your role at the celebration, but if you’re looking for a general structure to follow, check out our recent podcast with Katelyn Peterson from WeddingWords.us.
Katelyn shared her secrets to a perfectly structured and beautiful wedding speech. Using her easy-to-follow wedding speech template, you’ll be able to formulate your toast in minutes!
How To Make Your Wedding Speech Funny
Always read the room before opening your mouth. It’s a good rule for life in general and applies heavily to wedding speeches.
Question how appropriate a joke or anecdote is by considering if you’d share it with your grandmother. If not, it’s probably not right for a wedding toast.
It can be hard to tell what is right or wrong, especially if this is all new to you, so be sure to practice your speech with trusted friends or family who you feel will gauge its appropriateness and length.
You’ll never truly know how long your wedding speech is until you read it out loud. So once you’ve recited it in front of the mirror a few times, be sure to practice with as many people as possible.
Reading aloud to others will also help you understand if your cringe-worthy stories are the right side of funny. A little embarrassing is fine, good even, but everyone should come away from your toast smiling.
If you’re struggling to bring the laughs to your speech, you have to check out our recent podcast episode with Geoff Woliner. Geoff founded WinningWit.com, and he specializes in writing funny speeches for weddings.
What that man doesn’t know about making hilarious wedding speech content could be written on the head of a pneumatic drill!