If you are the father of the bride, the father of the groom, the best man, the maid of honor or other person close to the bridal couple, chances are very good that you will either be expected or asked to offer some words at the reception. While the order and number of speeches requested/programmed for the reception are planned, not many of the invited speakers are likely to feel comfortable making that presentation.
Here are some guidelines offered from professionals.
1. Make your speech personal - if not related, be sure to say how you met the bride or the groom.
2. A touch of humor (note touch) is a good thing. Don't make tasteless jokes or launch into a litany of "Have you heard this one?"
3. Be sure to thank everyone - who deserves it. Don't make this list so long your audience drifts off.
4. You need a strong opening (attention getter) and a strong but memorable closing. Look for quotes you can use, an Irish or other ethnic toast is appropriate. Likewise - a strong closing is enhanced by a quote or catch phrase from a poem or a song.
5. Watch out for "mike hogging". The Ideal length of the speech is 2-3 minutes. Too many participants who may have had a drink or two prior to their turn at the microphone get up to speak and fall in love with their own voice.
6. Prepare and practice what you plan to say before the day. Don't plan to wing it.
7. Never make racist remarks, make fun of the family tree or culture. Listeners will have zero tolerance for the use of profanities, sexual innuendos or remarks that may hurt the feelings of others. Your goal is to make people feel good about themselves, their choices and their families.