wedding toastOne of the most important duties a best man at a wedding faces is to offer the speech at the wedding reception. It’s a real honor to be asked to make such a speech, but it can nerve-wracking for people who are either shy or not use to speaking in public. Did you know that the fear of public speaking is one of the biggest phobias that most people have? It’s true, but that shouldn’t hold you back from doing your best to honor the happy couple who have asked you to have an important part in their very special day. If you’re one of those people who really doesn’t like speaking in front of large groups, read on for some suggestions that can help make your wedding speech a rousing success with both the bride and groom, and their assembled loved ones.

First, and probably most importantly, don’t try to do an off-the-cuff speech. Proper preparation prevents poor performance. And believe me, when you’re standing in front of a crowd of your best friend’s nearest and dearest, that’s a terrible time to get tongue-tied. Once you know you’re responsible for the making the wedding speech, give yourself lots of time to prepare. The more you think about it and prepare, the better your speech will be. Make notes for yourself and don’t be afraid to rewrite your speech to achieve the best result.

And never forget what Shakespeare said, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” In other words, be brief. Keep your speech to around 750 words. That means it will take about five minutes to deliver if you speak at a normal pace. That seems like a reasonable length for a number of reasons, and it won’t take you that long to write down if you want to write it up beforehand, which is something that I strongly recommend. You really don’t want to go more than five minutes because your audience will probably start to get restless. After all, everyone wants to begin drinking, dancing, and digging into that delicious wedding feast.

Once you’ve gotten the speech down, be sure to practice it, in front of a mirror if you wish. You don’t have to memorize the entire wedding speech, but it’s a good idea to memorize your opening and closing parts. This will ensure that the whole speech proceeds smoothly with no long, awkward pauses. If you just follow these simple suggestions, then you can’t fail to have a successful speech, especially if you speak from the heart.