You’re about to start writing your wedding speech, and realize you have no idea how much to write. How long should a wedding speech be?
The Experts Say Between 1-2 Minutes
If we refer to wedding experts like Emily Post and The Knot, we’re told that speeches should be short, which makes sense in most situations.
In Emily Post’s etiquette guide, it’s stated that a wedding speech should be short and sweet between “1 to 2 minutes, 3 at the most” (Post, 2011). Whereas the Knot’s Complete Guide to Weddings, says a wedding speech should be “no more than 2 minutes long to leave enough time for other activities” (Roney, 2012).
What if I Have More to Say?
In my experience, clients who are siblings or who share a close friendship often want to say more. So, can a wedding speech be longer than 2 minutes?
While a wedding speech can technically be as long as you want (or, until you get ushered away from the microphone), there are things to consider:
- Can what you’re sharing be said in fewer words? Brevity is a beautiful skill and can help keep your speech focused! So, can you tighten up a long, wordy speech into a more concise, shorter speech?
- Does everyone need to hear what you’re sharing? You might have a lot of beautiful things that you want to share with your loved one, but does the whole audience need to hear these things? Or would they be better suited for a one-on-one conversation or even a special letter you can gift your loved one?
- Why are you saying all these things? What I mean about this is, have you taken the time to consider why you’re saying what you’re sharing? Is it really necessary, or do you just feel like you’re supposed to say all of these things?
- Is it heartfelt? There’s so much pressure to make people laugh or cry in wedding speeches (this is NOT a real requirement, despite what the media will try to tell you), but when it comes down to it, you should be most focused on staying true to your personality and sharing from your heart.
Not sure what goes in a wedding speech? Read the blog!
First and Foremost, Speeches Should be from the Heart
As I mentioned above, there’s often so much pressure to give the “perfect” speech, but we need to remember that speeches are not meant to be a performance—they are a heartfelt congratulations to our loved ones and sometimes the most heartfelt speeches are really short and simple and that’s ok!
So, How Long Should a Wedding Speech Be?
From my experience, the average speech should be between 1-3 minutes, but for people whose heartfelt congratulations are a little longer (or are giving a joint speech), a 5-minute speech is the absolute maximum. Remember that there are often many timed events at weddings, so to keep things on schedule, you want to be respectful of everyone’s time.
How Many Words are in These Wedding Speeches?
Ok, so now we know how many minutes, but how many words is that?
- 1-1.5 minutes is roughly 150 (ish) – 200 (ish) words
- 2-3 minutes is roughly 250 (ish) – 400 (ish) words
- 4-5 minutes is roughly 500 (ish) – 650 (ish) words
*Remember: how quickly you speak will affect these times–these are general estimates and are not precise.
Questions? Let me know in the comments below!
Until next time,
Post, P., & Post, E. (2011). Making a Good Toast. In Emily Post’s Etiquette. New York: W. Morrow.
Roney, C. & The Editors of TheKnot.com. (2012). The Knot Complete Guide to Weddings: The Ultimate Source of Ideas, Advice, and Relief for the Bride and Groom and Those Who Love Them (2nd Revised, Updated ed.). Potter Style.