14/08/2014 12:42 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 06:12 BST

How To Write A Wedding Speech: Five Tips That REALLY Help

Being asked to give a speech at a wedding is one part complete honour, one part total curse. You obsess over how to be funny. Put off writing it as much as possible. Talk it up outrageously to the bride and groom.

Even if you're a confident public speaker, it's a tall order - but it needn't be so stressful. Follow these five tips and you'll have every guest crying, laughing and singing your praises...

wedding speech

1. Don't think of the speech as an essay - it doesn't need to be written in long form. Why not take inspiration from the list-style features everyone loves and write your speech in this format? "10 reasons why I'm glad X met Y" will always be a winner and immediately solves the problem of how to structure what you're going to say.

2. Don't over-complicate it. A wedding speech needs to have: a) a sentimental section showing your closeness with the bride or groom, b) a touching way of wishing the couple well and c) at least one toast. For a) reference a story showing the happy couple in the best possible light and for b) don't worry if you're not entirely comfortable spouting schmaltz. Borrow a quote from a film the couple love or a person of note - believe it or not, Albert Einstein came out with some super wedding appropriate crackers.

3. Remember it's not your job to shock. So, the bride has had a zillion boyfriends. So, the groom thinks his life is an extended version of Jackass. Those things are for jokey chats later after too much free wine - airing a couple's dirty laundry on their wedding day is the ultimate dick move. Your speech should be entertaining enough to hold guests' attention but reserved enough that you can still look the bride and groom's parents in the eye.

4. It doesn't have to be super long. Don't tell yourself you've got to fill 10 minutes - write what comes naturally and finish at a point that makes sense. One minute of charm is better than five of zzzzzzzzs....

5. It's okay if it's not hilarious. Heartfelt stories and sentiment are a million times better and more memorable than crap jokes. Be honest with yourself on this point - if you wouldn't laugh at something you've written obviously intended to be a funny, the chances are others won't either. And no one wants uncomfortable pity titters.

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