wedding thank you speech

In the middle of wedding season, I was at a good friend's wedding and after the toasts, the bride and groom stood up, snatched the microphone and launched into the sweetest and most gracious thank you speech. It was kind and heartfelt and I remember sitting there and thinking, why didn't I do that at my wedding? We wrote thank you letters and gave thank you gifts to the people who'd been so helpful to us throughout our planning — but a wedding thank you speech? Would have been the icing on the gratitude and acknowledgment cake.

A wedding thank you speech is the perfect way for the happy couple to not only thank the individuals who put their own time and effort into helping plan the wedding, but also thank the guests for getting on airplanes or loading up cars and taking time out of their weekends to celebrate. Basically, it's one small but very meaningful addition to any reception agenda. Here are five wedding speech tips to express your gratitude to all those who helped.

1. Keep it short and sweet. It's highly likely that your speech will not be the only one your guests listen to at your wedding, so it's a good idea to keep yours (as well as others) short. A good rule of thumb is to keep all your speeches less than three minutes.

2. Make a list. The last thing you want to do is stand up and start thanking people by name only to accidentally leave out, say, your best man. We've seen it happen, and our best recommendation is simple: write down everyone you want to thank ahead of time and make sure you've got your list handy when you start talking. Either that, or opt to thank your guests without naming anyone in particular.

3. Make them laugh. One of the best ways to get your guests' attention (although this shouldn't be too difficult. You are wearing a white dress and/or fancy tux, after all) is by starting your speech out with a little bit of humor. Take note of the sports game that everyone is missing to attend your wedding, for example. After that you can launch straight into your sincerest gratitude.

4. Speak as one. Unless you both have a burning desire to speak, it's perfectly acceptable for you to stand up together but have one person speak for you as a couple. It doesn't really matter who does the talking — by taking the time to stand up together and say a short thanks you'll make it clear that the sentiment is coming from both of you.

5. Practice makes perfect. You don't have to memorize your speech word for word, but running through it with your significant other once or twice will help you both make sure that you're comfortable with what you're saying and that you'll be able to look out at the people you're thanking instead of stressing out about forgetting the details, especially if public speaking isn't necessarily your strong suit.

Once you've got that wedding speech etiquette down, check out these 5 tips to writing thank you notes like a pro.

Photo credit: Emily Blake Photography