2. 5 sample engagement speeches
  3. Write an engagement speech

Engagement party speeches

How to prepare a heartfelt engagement toast

By: Susan Dugdale | Last modified: 11-03-2023

Engagement party speeches celebrate the happy couple. And the not-so secret ingredients behind giving a good one are: planning, preparation, and practice.

So, let's get down to it. The sooner you start, the more likely you are to be happy with what you say and do. ☺

What's on this page:

Image: Young woman, wearing an engagement ring holding a mug with text: Does this ring make me look engaged?

How to prepare a perfect engagement party toast

Before you begin, remember these are NOT the wedding speeches. They are ahead you!

What is needed now is a sincere, short speech marking and celebrating the newly engaged couple and their commitment to marry.

Engagement Party Speeches - Who Speaks?

Who delivers an engagement party speech depends on the people organizing the event.

Is it formal? Or informal?
Who is hosting the party?

Traditionally engagement parties are held by the bride's family and the father of the bride gives the opening speech.

However, things are not always traditional.

The speech, or first toast, could also be delivered by the groom, the bride, the mother of the bride or groom, a close friend of either of them, or a much-respected senior family member.

In addition, a speech in reply and/or other speeches may be given depending on the circumstances.

If you know you're going to be one of several speakers, and not the first, it's a good idea to see if you can find out what aspects of the couple's journey others intend to talk about before you get too heavily involved in preparing what you want to say. Either that, or be prepared to adapt or skip bits speakers who've spoken ahead of you have already covered!

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What to say - the content of your speech

To make your speech flow easily from idea to the next, and to include all you want to say, it's essential to plan.

You'll need an opening, a speech body where you give your main ideas or thoughts about the engagement, and a conclusion. This is the standard three-part speech format.

An outline of the key points to include in each part is below. 

'Love is just a word' quotation

In the opening:

  • introduce yourself. There may be guests who don't know you and your relationship to the new couple.
  • welcome everybody. If there are very special guests or people who have gone to extraordinary lengths to be present mention them by name.
  • give thanks to everybody for coming together to share and celebrate the occasion.

In the body (middle) of your speech:

  • share personal stories or anecdotes about the engaged couple, your daughter, son, best friend, fiancée, or perfect partner
  • share the pleasure you feel as a result of the engagement.

In the conclusion:

  • express your hopes/best wishes for the couple's future
  • and finish with a toast.

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Preparing your engagement party speech

Give yourself unrushed time to prepare

Give yourself unrushed time to prepare. Please, don't skimp on this step! It really does underpin your success.

Ideally you want to go through the entire speech planning, writing and rehearsal process with time to spare. A last-minute rush to cobble something together is stressful. It increases the possibility of leaving out things you wanted to say, or saying things you later wish you hadn't!

An engagement is a milestone event - a special occasion. Choosing your words with care acknowledges and honors its importance.

Use the timeline below as an indication of how long you need to allow for each step in the process.

Timeline for preparing a speech

Think about your audience.

Before you begin, consider your audience and the purpose of the speech. Leave out references to potentially embarrassing stories or humiliating incidents, vulgarity, sensitive topics and jokes which only a few understand.

The goal here is inclusively celebrating the commitment to marry. You want all the guests: everybody from grandparents, close friends and relations, to children, to enjoy what you say. The best thing is to keep the toast positive - upbeat and light!

Michael Leunig quotation: Love one another and you will be happy. It's as simple and as difficult as that.

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From writing to delivery in 4 steps 

Step 1 - Brainstorm to generate content

The first step is to pull together ideas covering what you think you'd like to say. This is easiest done through brainstorming*.

Either open a new document on your computer or get yourself a large sheet of paper.

Then use any of these content headings as starting points:

  1. interests/hobbies/sports etc. the couple share
  2. their meeting - where and how they met
  3. how you knew the relationship was serious - a snippet from their love story
  4. a quotation, song fragment or poem that expresses an aspect of the couple's relationship you admire
  5. childhood hopes of the either of the couple: their dreams 
  6. your hopes and good wishes for their future and a successful marriage  - an idea for a toast

Put down as much as you can under each heading. If my headings don't work for you go with the first ideas that pop into your mind. Don't worry about spelling or writing full sentences. Let your mind run free. Write until you can think of no more.

Then over the next few days, add to what you've got as new ideas arrive. (You'll finish with something similar to the brainstorm example in the image below.)

Image: a collection of handwritten brainstorm notes for an engagement party speech

* Brainstorming - for more about brainstorming and links to examples that were used as the basis for a maid of honor, farewell, and a fiftieth wedding anniversary speech.

5 engagement speech samples

Girl, with a sparkling engagement ring, wearing a colorful flowery skirt holding a piece of burlap with the word 'Happy' on it.

Read these 5 example engagement toasts written from the point of view of a father, mother, friend, groom and bride-to-be. They're short, sincere and a useful starting point to get the flow of ideas going for your own speech.

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Step 2 - Select your material

Pick the best of your material from your brainstorm notes to form the body or middle of your speech.  Then add the opening (self-introduction, greetings and thanks for coming) and conclusion (hopes, wishes for the future and a toast).

A one-to-three-minute speech is approximately between 150 words to 600 words long depending on how slowly or quickly you talk. You'll want to bear that in mind as you write.  

Step 3 - testing, editing, practicing

Test your speech by reading it aloud. Is it too long? Too short? Does it make sense? Does it flow from one idea to the next easily?
Revise it if necessary.

Once you think you have your speech more or less how you want it, get a peer review. Give it a trial run in front of friends or family.

Ask them to listen to make sure you're covering everything you wanted to appropriately and that you've left nothing really important out.

The goal is an honest heartfelt speech; one that shares your true feelings as naturally as possible.

Edit if needed, and then start practicing!

Step 4 - delivering your engagement party speech

The key to great delivery is simple: practice. The more you do, the easier it will be to give your speech effortlessly and effectively. The starting point is to know it thoroughly so that you are not relying on reading it word for word from a piece of paper.

Use cue cards to be safe

If you need help remembering what you want to say, consider using cue cards.

Reading your text word-for-word doesn't have the same audience impact as using note or cue cards, or no notes at all.  When you read, your head is down, and your eyes are focused on following the words.

Using cue cards enables you to look at your audience, to interact more freely with them, to smile and make eye contact.

Click the link to find out how to make and use cue cards.

How to rehearse/practice your speech

Image: Man presenting. Text: How to rehearse a speech - Say it aloud a lot!

Once you know the flow of your material, (and have made your cue cards if you are going to use them), practice your speech by saying it aloud, as if you had an audience in front of you, wherever possible.

Say it as you prepare dinner. Say it in your car. Say it when you're by yourself out walking. Say it in front of a mirror. Video yourself saying it and as you do imagine your audience. See them responding while they listen to you. 

Pause where you need to. Smile. And speak clearly and slowly enough for everyone to take in what you are saying and loudly enough for them to hear.

Click this link for much more about how to rehearse. These tips will help you fine tune your performance.

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Get more help with preparing your speech from these pages:

Image: banner framed by old-fashioned roses. Text: Our happily ever after begins here. Wedding poems and readings.
  • a large and deliberately eclectic selection of wedding poems and readings - great for finding the perfect reading or toast to add to your engagement party speech.
Image: photo montage of faces. Text: 14 ways to manage public speaking fear
  • how to deal effectively with any nervous apprehension you may feel about delivering your speech: overcoming fear of public speaking -14 ways to calm public speaking anxiety.

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