Since clipping on my first tie as a child, I’ve sat through many a wedding speech. Unfortunately, most memorable speeches and toasts carved out mental real estate in my head for the wrong reasons: they went awry or too long or both.

Those ‘toasts gone bad’ motivated me years ago to draft a four-part wedding speech “recipe.” Since then, I shared it with friends and colleagues to help them settle nerves and organize thoughts before stepping to the microphone. The recipe, like the PREP framework outlined in an earlier post, reduces anxiety by removing the need to figure out how to start, organize, and end a tight and heartfelt toast, especially for last minute preparations.

Brooks’ Four-Part Wedding Speech Recipe

  1. Relationship 1: note how you know or met the person inviting you (easy for siblings; “he’s my baby brother…”).
  2. Entertainment: share one fun or personal story that most folks in the room don’t know that is also appropriate and “easy” to tell (no 12-part sagas or “making” it funny; it’s just a story).
  3. Relationship 2: tell how you met the spouse or when you realized that he or she was “the one” or when you learned the relationship was serious.
  4. Toast: say “raise your glasses” and how happy you are for them and wish them love forever….

An alternative on “Relationship 2” as suggested above is to share a single piece of advice, lesson or story from your own marriage or from your parents. These often resonate and ring with truth (and humor).

One final recommendation: do your drinking AFTER delivering the speech.

Have fun!