Content & Ideas For Wedding Speeches

Non English speaking wedding guests

Never translate as you go along.

Having to make a wedding speech can be daunting enough it itself, without learning that some of the guests don't speak English, but this is a not uncommon scenario. Some simple strategies should, however, enable you to make a speech that will engage all of your audience.

The first thing to understand is that it's neither necessary, nor desirable, to translate for your audience as you go along, whether that's achieved by you reading each line twice, or through an interpreter. While this might seem to be the perfect solution, all it is going to do is interrupt the flow of the speech, with people losing the thread when the other language is being spoken. No interpreter will be able to communicate all the nuances of what you are trying to say, your jokes will fall flat when repeated twice, and the audience, whilst probably feeling very sorry for you, will be desperate for you to finish.

The best way of tackling the challenge is to write a relatively short speech, shorter than you normally would, to avoid alienating your audience by going on for too long. If the audience has a basic understanding of English, try a simple joke that includes them whilst making yourself the butt of the joke, for example:

"When Fred asked me to be the Best Man at his Wedding, I was thrilled, especially when he told me that many of the guests would be French. My previous girlfriend was French, so I've spent some time there, although I must say I haven't spoken to her in over a year. I don't like to interrupt."


"When Paul first asked me to be the best man at his wedding it got me thinking that I'd like to settle down. My last girlfriend was a beautiful blonde but it just didn't work out. In fact she was half German so she'd have fitted in well here. Mind you, she was also half shepherd."

Keep the speech simple and to the point, and sign off with a 'thank you' in each language, which shows that you aren't ignoring any of your audience, and will signal to everyone that you have finished.