Whether you’re the maid-of-honor, best man, or a sibling, you want to make a wonderful speech to the newly married couple that really strikes a cord with the bride and groom, touches the guests, and leaves a lasting impression. That being said, you want to make sure you hit all the right points for what makes a good speech so you can avoid anything that might tarnish it even a little bit. Follow these tips for making the perfect wedding toast and deliver a message that is memorable for all the right reasons.

Know the Audience

Chances are you’ve heard to keep toasts and speeches short and to the point, because you can easily bore an audience to death if you let things drag on. But you should also take into consideration the kind of people that are in the audience, other than the bride and groom. Inside jokes maybe funny to you and the bride or groom, but they will go over the heads of everyone else at the wedding. A truly great toast is one that gets everyone oohing and ahhing and teary eyed, not just the two most important people of the day.

Don’t Second Guess Yourself

There’s something so cringingly uncomfortable about seeing someone stand up in front of a group and it being so obvious how nervous and uncomfortable they are. We aren’t saying that you have to be a toast-giving expert, but the saying ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ applies here. Pretend like you’re totally confident and avoid starting out your toast by saying “I don’t really know what to say” or, “I’m not really good at making speeches.” If you would feel more comfortable reading off of your notes, no problem. Just remember to look up at everyone and the bride and groom every few seconds.

Keep it Brief

Yep, we’ve all heard it before: keep all speeches and toasts short and sweet. But it’s sometimes a different story when it’s your turn to write a heart-filled speech and this logic flies out the window. When you want to showcase your love for someone, it can be hard reeling in everything you want to say because it all seems important! But trust us, everyone will thank you, including the bride and groom, if you keep things short, don’t dive into intimate details of your past, and don’t repeat things over and over again. Anything else you might want to say, why not write it down in a letter and give it to the bride or groom later?

Practice Practice Practice

Just like you would if you were preparing for a speech at school or another important event, practice your toast before the wedding. Once the big day rolls around and you’re about to stand up with the mic, you’ll feel much more comfortable having rehearsed everything—from what you’re going to say to how you’ll address everyone, as well as how you’ll make eye contact around the room and use your hands during the toast. Even though it may be rehearsed, it’ll come off as natural and confident.

Think of Ways to Make It Personal

Rather than just googling good toasts online, think of ways you can personalize the toast (without turning to school-day memories and inside jokes). Consider playing a favorite song between the two of you, or bring in a photo of you two to show the audience your special relationship with each other.

End with Purpose

This means ending your speech on a high note, rather than just anti-climatically saying “okay, that’s it…” or nervously putting down the mic and sitting down to show your speech has ended. Speak from your heart and end with purpose, like asking everyone to raise their glass of champagne and celebrate the bride and groom. You can also think of something totally sweet or funny to say to end your speech and leave everyone in tears or laughing out loud.

Everyone has been to a wedding where there was an amazing speech that made you either laugh, cry or both. Be that person at the next wedding you have to speak at by following our tips and everyone will be touched by your words, eloquence, and confidence.