Wedding speeches: everything you need to know
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Wedding speeches: everything you need to know

Monica Lorraine

By Monica Lorraine, on 17/08/17

Before the wedding

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On your big day some of your dearest friends and family will want to give speeches. If you're wondering who should give a wedding speech and when are the key speech moments you'll find all the answers in this guide.

When you start planning your wedding you'll probably start with the fun bits, such as thinking of wedding ideas or trying on wedding dresses. However there are big moments in your wedding that you should also start thinking about, such as the wedding speeches. If you are writing your own personal wedding vows then you can imagine how difficult it is to find the right words to say. This is why it's important to give your elected speakers time to prepare their speeches in advance.

Keep your cool when giving the speech

If you are giving a speech and you're not accustomed to giving speeches in public, it's a good idea to think about it beforehand. Once you have your speech written, start practicing it. Make sure to look up every few seconds so that you aren't speaking to the paper in your hand. If you can memorise your speech, that's great. Nonetheless, you might feel more at ease having note cards in your hands with important lines highlighted or underlined just in case. The more prepared you are, the more you'll be able to keep your cool. And if you have trouble ending the speech, it's as easy as toasting to the newlyweds. Raise your glasses!

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Wedding speech running order and who gives speeches

Below you'll find the order in which wedding speeches are usually given. That said, they don't happen one after another, so it's important to pick the right time. You don't have to follow this exact order, but it is helpful to space out the speeches and find the right moment. Your wedding will be one of a kind, so of course you can pick whomever you want to give a speech. Maybe you would prefer your chief bridesmaid to give a speech instead of the shy best man. Or perhaps your father can't be at your wedding so you'd rather ask your mum to give a speech.

When you start thinking about who will give a speech at your wedding, you'll probably give it as much thought as you did when you decided whom to invite your wedding. If you decide follow tradition, it's actually quite simple. Take into account how they may feel about giving a speech in front of possibly hundreds of people. They may feel a lot of pressure to give a great speech or they may have stage fright and not want to tell you no. So take into consideration people's personality and shyness before asking them to give a speech at your wedding.

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Father of the bride or close family friend

The purpose of the father of the bride speech is to welcome the wedding guests and kick off the wedding banquet. Usually this takes place just before the wedding dinner begins. After thanking everyone for coming, he'll say a few words about the bride and groom. He'll share his happiness and give his best wishes to the newlyweds. Often tears are shed.

Since traditionally it was the father of the bride who would pay for the big day, his role was to welcome guests to the wedding, say thank you, etc. Meanwhile, the mother of the bride plays the role of hostess, making sure everyone is having a good time and has their needs taken care of. If the father of the bride isn't able to attend the wedding, then the couple usually put a close family friend or relative in charge of giving the welcome speech or to speak on behalf of the father of the bride.

The groom

After the father of the bride, either directly after or after the dinner, it's time for the groom speech. The groom thanks the father for his speech and starts a speech of his own. It's a great opportunity to thank the best man for all his support along with everyone else that made it to the wedding. And don't forget to mention your new wife! A lot of grooms mention everyone from the florist to his new in-laws, but forgets to mention the bride. These days it is very common for the couple to host their own wedding. It used to be the father of the bride who hosted the wedding, so he was the one to give to first welcome speech welcoming all the guests. However, now it is also common for the groom to give the welcome speech.

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The bride

The bride can also give a speech, although not traditional. Times are changing and every wedding is unique. You'll be standing for a while, so make sure to wear some comfortable wedding shoes, or even flat wedding shoes so that you aren't distracted by discomfort. Take the opportunity to thank everyone for coming or to share some funny or interesting anecdotes about how you two met, this is your moment. While it's not common for the bride to give a speech at her wedding, why shouldn't you?

Pick the right moment. Your wedding planner can help you pick the perfect time to give your speech. Like with all the other speeches, remember to thank everyone who made your dream wedding come true.

The best man

At the end of the wedding dinner, it's time for your best man to get the party started. While it's common to ask the best man to give a speech, consider if he would feel comfortable speaking in front of everyone or if he would say inappropriate things (this happens). This is the case when you consider anyone to give a speech at your wedding. If you really want him to give a speech, but he's shy, you could help him out by giving him some best man speech ideas. Usually it's the best man who breaks the ice and gets everyone laughing and in a party mood.

The best man speech usually consists of jokes and funny anecdotes. He'll tell everyone funny stories about the groom and mention some nice things about the bride. Just make sure he is aware that you're grandparents might be at the wedding.

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The chief bridesmaid (or matron of honour)

The chief bridesmaid, like the best man, is tasked with the role of breaking the ice with the guests. A good moment for her speech is before or after the best man. She should share stories (albeit not embarrassing ones please!) and talk about the newlyweds. Of course, if your chief bridesmaid isn't a fan of public speaking you might prefer to let her off the hook. She's done her part, sharing all her unique wedding ideas with you and going with you to all the dress fittings. With her blessing you could ask another good friend or one of your siblings to give the speech.

At the end of the day your task is to make sure everyone feels comfortable with the role they'll play at your wedding. Then you want to find the right moment for everything. You'll find that planning your wedding is a delicate balance. It's not so different from picking the bridesmaid dresses that everyone likes and which match your wedding flowers. It's all about balance. So, once you've picked the right people to give speeches at your wedding, you can find personalised wedding favours to thank them.

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