Do I Have to Memorize my Wedding Speech?

Text "Memorizing your wedding speech. Does it have to be memorized or can you read it off your paper?" with purple wedding flowers in the background

If this is your first time giving a Maid of Honor speech, Best Man speech, parent speech or any other wedding speech, you may wonder “Do I have to memorize my wedding speech?”

This is a question I often get as a professional wedding speech writer and today we’ll break it down!

Wedding speeches can be stressful

Before we answer our question, I’d like to remind you that wedding speeches can be a stressful experience for most people:

  • Many people have a fear of public speaking
  • People feel stressed about writing their speech
  • Some people fear their speech won’t be as good as other’s
  • Some fear their speech won’t be heartfelt enough, funny enough or interesting enough
  • Many worry they won’t deliver their speech well

Do you have a fear of public speaking? Check out the 5 Maid of Honor speech tips for people who hate public speaking

WEDDING SPEECH PREPARATION: Wedding speech tips to help relieve stress

  • Start early, so you have lots of time to prepare and practice
  • Consider hiring a professional wedding speech writer
  • Don’t worry about what other people are doing with their speeches—focus on writing and delivering a speech that’s representative of you and your feelings for the couple
  • Keep your speech tone consistent with your personality—don’t feel like you have to deliver something overly funny or heartfelt—keep it true to who you are, but ground it in kindness
  • Practice a lot to help your delivery (if possible, in front of a few people to give you practice with an audience)
  • Be kind to yourself throughout this process. You’re doing your best, and that’s enough

Are you giving a Maid of Honor speech? Check out my blog on How to Write a Maid of Honor Speech

So, “Do I need to memorize my wedding speech?”

If you have practice delivering speeches or monologues to an audience and feel more comfortable memorizing your speech, then, sure, go for it!

However, for most people, memorizing a speech is just another unnecessary stressor! No one is expecting you to memorize your speech. It is entirely acceptable to go up and read off of a piece of paper.

So, my answer to “Do I have to memorize my wedding speech” is simple–it’s a solid nope!

BEFORE THE WEDDING: Wedding speech delivery tips

While you don’t have to memorize your speech, there are a few things you can do to help you prepare for your speech:

  • Print your speech out on paper in larger font so that it’s easier to read
  • Split your paragraphs up into small sentences, so it’s easy to find your place if you get lost
  • As mentioned earlier, practice a lot before the wedding day, so you’re familiar with the words. While you don’t have to have them memorized, practice will help you feel more comfortable
  • Have an extra copy with a friend who will be at the wedding (or, at least on your phone) in case something happens to your original copy

DURING YOUR SPEECH: Wedding speech delivery tips:

  • Bring up a glass of water to sip if you need a moment to breath (or if you get a dry mouth)
  • Take your time. Try not to fly through the words too quickly
  • Look up from your paper every now and then to engage with the couple and the audience (if possible)
  • Bring up a glass for the toast at the end of your speech

Final thoughts: Be kind to yourself

There can be many expectations around weddings and wedding planning, and sometimes we get consumed by it all. So, remember to be kind to yourself and do the best you can through this process.

Wishing you all the best,


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