When it comes to a wedding toast there are 2 sure fire was to lose the guests
- Be rude, offensive or drunk
- Out stay your welcome
Therefore, it's important to keep your speech the right length - the last thing you want to do is keep talking until the guests have fallen asleep.
How long is too long?
Most wedding sites suggest that you don't talk for more 10 minutes, and this is a good rule of thumb, but it's not the correct answer.
It's far more important to make sure you've said "enough" and not too much, than aim for an arbitrary length of time.
How long is my speech?
The average person reads a speech at about 120 words per minute. So to work out how long your speech is just divide the number of words by 120
How do you know when you've said enough?
So how much is enough? In short, aim to tell 3 different stories, as well as a few nice words before you're done.
The rule of 3 has been the the writers strongest tool for centuries. 3 kings, 3 blind mice, 3 wishes, 3 acts, - the human brain is wired to think in threes. 3 is easy to remember, but enough to create drama and tension. And I have found 3 stories is exactly the right amount for a wedding speech as well. It's enough to be interesting, without giving too much away, and, because the human brain is wired in threes, it subconsciously feels right when the speech draws to an end after the third story.
Sticking to 3 stories also means that only the absolute best stories make the cut, so the guests will enjoy the speech even more.
So how do I make sure my speech is the right length?
- Father of the bride: welcome the guests, do a speech including 3 stories, and then give you advice and final toast
- Groom: thank the guests, tell 3 stories about you and the bride, tying in the thank yous along the way, and then toast the brides maid
- Best man - thank the bride and groom, tell 3 stories about the groom, thoroughly roasting him, then end with a sweet moment and a toast to the happy couple
Stick to the rule of 3, and keep your stories short, and you're guaranteed to have a speech that's the right length, without having to worry about stopwatches, droning on, or your wifes disappointed face.