The two words most people associate with weddings are “I do.” But now it’s time to add another two that you’ll need to be repeating over and over during your engagement and long after your nuptials — THANK YOU! Nope, we’re not just talking about wedding thank you cards here. With all the effort, time and money put into your big day, showing a little heartfelt gratitude to your friends and family in a unique way is definitely necessary. One way to really show how much you appreciate the help and love poured into your wedding is with a super thoughtful thank you speech. Before you get stressed over one *more* thing to do on your big day, don’t! All you need is a quick 2-5 minute wedding speech from you and your new spouse to express your thanks and love for everyone who witnessed your wedding and helped it all come together. Not sure where to start? Here’s how to do it flawlessly.

Rear view shot of a father making a toast at a wedding reception

1. Time it right. The end of toasts is a good time for the thank you speech, since everyone is already gathered with champagne in hand. You can also do it right before the cake cutting for a seamless transition. Try not to wait until the end of the night because many people (like your beloved Gma!) might have already called it a night.

2. Have a cheat sheet. Keep a small list with your wedding coordinator of people to recognize. Try to stay away from iPhones though, since it won’t look great in photos and might feel a little less heartfelt. Include at minimum the people who helped finance the wedding, your bridal party, officiant and anyone who especially helped out. Vendors are always nice to include but totally optional.

3. Take turns. The couple should make the speech together. You don’t want your partner doing all the work! Thank your parents or your spouse’s parents, then move on to your extended families and finally your friends. Building off what each other says will help keep the speech cohesive, so rehearse a few times so you know what beats you both should hit.

4. Recognize the community. It takes a village to make a wedding, so thank yours for standing by you and witnessing the start of your life together. Focus on the fact that a wedding is a day, but a marriage is a lifetime. You appreciate everyone’s support now and in the future. This is also a great time to make shoutouts to any special people who weren’t able to make it to the wedding.

5. Propose a toast. Toast your friends and family. Let them know you wouldn’t be who you are today without them and the wedding wouldn’t have been possible without them. Something simple like “Without you, there would be no us” works well. Then raise a glass together and offer them a round of applause.

6. Keep it short, simple and heartfelt. You don’t need to follow an elaborate script. Just keep it simple and honest — that’s always the best way to thank anyone. Most importantly, just be your happy newlywed selves! And maybe have some tissues handy in case you shed a few (happy) tears.

7. Remember to send thank you notes. The thank you speech is a complement to the hand-written thank you notes, not a substitute. The speech should be more broad than the thank you notes, so make sure to really get personal with each guest when writing these bad boys.

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