My best guide is to make it short and sweet. 3 minutes if you really want a time limit. Unless you are a really good speaker and have a great speech then keep it really short, funny and inspiring and the guests will love you.
If you are the birthday person mostly
- Thank your parents for their help and guidance (and the party)
- Thank your friends for putting up with you for so long and
- Thank your guests for the presents
- The Past. If you have a short funny story about their younger days tell it, then you can get your revenge for their teenage antics and embarrass them (but not too much)
- Thank them for the joy they have brought into your life and marvel at their ability to make it this far
- The Present. Tell them how special they are
- Thank your guests for coming, and
- The Future. Say what you want the future to hold for the Birthday person, and
- Raise your glasses to toast.
- rehearse your speech,
- write it down if you want but try not to just read it out,
- look at your audience,
- if you leave something out or make a mistake just keep going. Chances are the guests have had a few drinks by this stage and after all they are friends and family here. They aren't here to criticise your speech. They are here to celebrate the coming of age of a very special person.
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