One of the first questions everyone asks me is “How long should my speech be.”
It seems to one of the biggest worries. Talk for too long and people will get bored. Talk for too little and they’ll probably be offended.
So what’s the right length for a wedding speech. The short answer is about 5- 10 minutes. But of course it’s slightly more complicated than that.
So here are some things to think about when writing the perfect speech.
Firstly, it will take a lot longer to read your speech than you may expect.
When you’re reading your speech in your head, you get through it in 3 minutes. When you read it out loud it takes maybe 5 minutes. It’s no way near long enough right!
When you read it on the day, I guarantee you it will take at least 7.
To get an idea why, see what happens when you take the laugh tracks out of american sit coms
Firstly, yes, it all gets very awkward. But secondly everything goes a lot slower! Laughing take time And wedding speeches almost always get cheers, hollers, whoops and even the occasional friendly heckle.
All of which means that if your speech is 15 minutes in the comfort of your bedroom it will be getting on for 20 when you stand up on the day.
Speaking more slowly helps your guests understand you
It has been proven time and time again by confident public speakers:- if you really want to get something across you need.. to talk… more…. slowly.
Talking slowly gives your guests time to absorb what you saying. You should especially pause before each key point, and before every punchline. That way your guests will be ready for the joke when it hits.
Short is sweet
If in doubt keep the speech short. 5 minutes is perfect and as long as you hit the key points no one will be left offended. People will remember a well written short speech much more than they remember a mediocre long one.
So how long should my speech be?
The perfect speech is 5-10 minutes long. At a pace of about 100 words a minute (allowing time for laughs) that’s 500- 1,000 words.
Keep this word count in mind and you won’t go wrong.