I saw on lots of forums and online communities people asking this question quite often and I thought I share my opinion on this. I’m not an expert in wedding speeches, but I’ve given 2 speeches as both the father of the groom and the bride (that was a while ago, when my son Jacob and my lovely daughter Mona had their weddings), plus I’ve attended more than a dozen other weddings in my life, so I’ve heard quite a lot of speeches.
In my opinion and I noticed the general consensus is this, your speech should be around 5 minute long. Sometimes you may go up to 7 minutes, if you have a few more things to share, or if you know the wedding guests pretty well and you can do this because of the familiarity between you, but anyway, you should never-ever make it longer than 7 minutes.
Imagine there would be at least 5 speeches on a typical wedding, in some cases there are even up to 8 speeches if each parent of the bride or the groom decides to give an individual speech, if the maid of honor also gives a speech and if the newlyweds also want to share a few things. Now, 8 speeches multiplied by 7 minutes each, that’s almost an hour, and honestly, that’s way too much for a wedding reception.
Doesn’t matter how entertaining the best man speech will be, or how personal and touching will be the mother of the bride’s speech or even how funny and full of nice memories will be the speech of the father of the groom, almost no one will want to spend an hour listening to all these speeches. I guess that’s why in many wedding receptions, there are usually 4-5 speeches maximum, and if the parents of the newlyweds want to give a speech, they sometimes do it together and each shares 1-2 things.
Now, without any doubts, 5-7 minutes is more than enough for you to express all your feelings or everything you want to share. The intro will be very short typically, probably less than a minute, the ending will also be short, a quote or a toast to the happy couple will do it. And all the time left is spent on the body of your speech.
And here’s where you can get creative. Now, I won’t get into too many details about what you should include in your speech, how you should structure it or how you should present it, because this article would get pretty long and honestly, there are quite a few good sites out there where you can find all these tips.
Just keep this in mind: keep it short, don’t get over 7 minutes, make sure you include in your speech all the “mandatory” elements, and by this I mean the ones that everyone expects to, like welcoming the guests, congratulating the happy couple (especially complimenting the bride), thanking everyone involved in the wedding prep and except this, in the body of your speech feel free to talk about anything you want to share about the newlyweds, depending on your relationship to them (if you’re the father of the groom, you will probably talk more about your son and also, again, compliment the bride some more), if you’re the best man, for example, you would probably share some funny and nice memories you experienced together (but make sure they’re not embarrassing for the groom, it’s ok to be funny in general, but it shouldn’t make him or the bride feel awkward), etc.
Good luck with your speech!