How to Start and End a Wedding Speech

Wedding speeches are surely the highlight of the wedding reception. They have the power to make a room roar with laughter or bring a tear to every eye. 

However, crafting the perfect beginning and ending to your wedding speech can be tricky. The opening is your first impression, and you want it to be memorable for all the right reasons. On the flip side, nailing the conclusion to a speech means guests will remember it for years to come. Nervous about getting it right? Don’t be. We’ve got your back. 

In this post, we discuss the ins and outs of how to start and end a wedding speech. We talk about what you could use to kick off your wedding day toasts and how to end a wedding speech in a genuine and memorable way. Ready to start? Let’s dive in. 

What is a wedding speech?

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A wedding speech, also known as a wedding toast, is a heartfelt dedication to the newlyweds on their big day. Wedding speeches usually follow a specific speech order, and are traditionally made by the father of the bride, the groom, and the best man. However, as it’s your big day, you can ask anyone you’d like to make a speech and have them in any order you prefer!

The wedding speeches usually last around half an hour during the wedding reception. This happens after the main course has been eaten but before dessert is served. Guests usually have a glass of prosecco, champagne, or a non-alcoholic fizzy drink to toast the happy couple. 

How to start a wedding toast or speech?

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The opening of your wedding speech or toast will engage your audience, set the tone for what’s to come, and create an emotional connection between you and the audience. But it can also be the hardest part to write as there’s a lot of pressure to get it right. 

But don’t let that overwhelm you! Remember that your opening should reflect your genuine feelings for the couple and your joy to participate in their special day. Speak from the heart, and you won’t go far wrong. If you’re still feeling unsure about how to open your wedding speech, check out our guidance on great wedding speech openings. 

Introduce yourself

Introducing yourself to the guests is the standard and accepted way to start a speech. It lets everyone know who you are, your relationship to the couple, and sets the stage for the rest of your speech. 

It may feel silly to introduce yourself, especially if a lot of people there know who you are. However, it’s a great way to start a speech and will help you feel more confident, so even if the groom is your brother and you’ve known the bride forever, let everyone know who you are and your role in the big day by introducing yourself. 

Start with a quote or compliment

If you’re feeling stuck about where to go next, a quote about love, a compliment to the beautiful bride, or a comment on the gorgeous venue are all solid options. A well-chosen quote can add depth and wisdom to your speech, while a sincere compliment will bring a smile to the bride’s face or show your appreciation for all the work that went into planning the wedding. Either way, these opening elements will set a positive tone for your speech and make the audience more receptive to your words. 

Use a funny story or anecdote

If you’re feeling confident, a funny story or anecdote about your relationship to the bride or groom is a great way to open your speech. It not only adds a touch of humour and light-heartedness to the atmosphere, but also instantly connects you with the audience through shared laughter.

But remember that humor can be a double-edged sword, so be sure to keep it light, respectful, and in good taste. The goal is to make the audience smile, not cringe. If your joke is a little risqué, consider running it past the bride or groom first to ensure they’re okay with it. 

Say thank you to everyone present

If all else fails, say thank you to everyone present. Thank you to the couple for inviting you to their special day, thank you to the venue staff who have worked so hard to make it all possible, and thank you to everyone else for coming. Everyone likes it when their contributions and efforts are acknowledged, so thanking the  wedding party and staff and guests is a fool-proof speech opener. 

How to end a wedding speech or toast

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Often, the only part of a speech the guests remember is the beginning and end. You’ve nailed the opening, and now it’s time to wrap up on a positive note. Try using the below tips to help you craft a memorable conclusion to your wedding toast.

Recap your key messages

A great way to round up your wedding speech is to recap the message from the body of your speech. This reinforces the central point you wanted to convey and leaves a lasting impression. 

For example, if your speech was all about how perfect the happy couple is for each other, consider rounding off with, “We can all see how happy [couples’ names] make each other, and if I find a love that’s half as perfect as theirs, I’ll be a lucky, lucky person.”

This reiteration brings your speech full circle and highlights the love and happiness that radiates from the newlyweds. This will leave a heartfelt and enduring message to share with everyone.

Share your advice and thoughts

You could also round off your speech by giving your thoughts on love and marriage and any advice you may have for the newlyweds. If you aren’t in a position to offer any advice, a quote about love, a wedding reading, or a line from a song are also great ways to end your speech. 

This approach not only imparts wisdom and reflection, but also serves as a thoughtful and fitting conclusion to your wedding speech. 

End on a positive note

As with any part of a wedding speech, end on a positive note. This could be a final blessing, one last thank you, or even a warm smile. You’ve done the hard part; all that’s left is to seal the speech with a final dose of love and warmth. 

Cheers to the couple

The best part of any speech— it’s time to raise your glasses of fizz to the sky and toast the happy couple. Invite the rest of your guests to join you in a toast to the happy couple’s good fortune and good health. Cheers!

The bottom line on wedding toasts

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Wedding speeches can be tricky to get right, and the beginning and end of a speech are arguably the hardest parts to nail. But with careful planning, heartfelt sentiments, and hearty cheers at the end, you can create a wedding speech that not only engages your audience, but also leaves a lasting impact on the newlyweds and their special day.

Remember, you can never go far wrong with a friendly introduction, plenty of thank-yous, a quick quote about love, and ending with a big smile and a toast. These simple elements will go a long way in creating a wedding speech that truly shines.

If you’re still sitting there wondering how to start your own wedding speech, or how to end it, we’ve got plenty of fabulous wedding speech examples right here on Bridebook. We have brilliant examples of father of the bride, groom, best man and maid of honour speeches that will knock your socks off!

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Happy Planning!