It is time to organise the speeches for your wedding. You would like to make a speech, but are not sure you should, your best man is nervous and your mother is making a speech and isn’t sure what she should be saying.
Speeches can be a wonderful opportunity for your closest family and friends to share a little with everybody about the bride & the groom and their love for each other, or they can be a long and awkward process leaving your guests squirming in their seats.
Here are all the Ins and Outs of Wedding Speeches, designed to untangle the web of tradition and ensure that your speeches are poignant, dignified, and out of the way quickly so you can move on to bourbon & dancing.
Who Should Make a Speech
Traditionally, speeches were made by the Father of the Bride, The Groom and The Best Man, however these days many couples are moving away from tradition and including speeches from The Bride, The Mother of The Bride and The Maid of Honour as well as inviting the Parents of The Groom or another close friend or relative to speak.
These days most couples have moved away from tradition and some of the traditional speakers may not be able to be with you on your special day or there may be members of your family or friends who are not traditionally included but it is important to you that they are given an opportunity to share their feelings. At the end of the day it is important that the people who you would like to hear from and are comfortable speaking are invited to do so.
When you have decided who you would like to speak at your wedding, it is polite to ask them if they would like to prepare a few words and let them know in what order you will be having the speeches (for example, let them know if they are first, or who they will follow, in order to help them both prepare their speech, and be ready for it on the day.)
I always advise against opening the floor to your guests as you run the risk of having a number of unprepared and lengthy or inappropriate speeches from guests who may be intoxicated, or not particularly well liked by either the bride or the groom, and once you give someone a microphone, it can be sometimes be very difficult to get it back. Besides, if anyone really feels that they have something of value to say to the Bride and Groom and their guests, they will most likely approach you prior to the wedding with something prepared.
While telegrams are a fairly outdated tradition, often, we have emails and messages from friends and relatives who are unable to attend; these are usually read by the Best Man. If your Best Man will be accepting well wishes from your guests on the evening to be read out, it is advisable to have him read through them prior to the reading of the telegrams just to ensure that the content is appropriate and acceptable to the Bride and Groom.
What to Include in Your Speech
While the Father of The Bride, The Groom and The Best Man have traditional responsibilities to be included in their speeches, The Mother of The Bride, The Bride, The Maid of Honour and Parents of The Groom, have not traditionally spoken at Wedding so there are no hard and fast rules about what they should say. Below is just a guide of who you may like to include in your speeches and some points they may like to cover.
Father Of The Bride
- Thank anyone who has contibuted to the cost of the wedding
- Thank the guests for coming (and particularly those who have travelled a long distance)
- Share some stories about your daughter growing up
- Share some warm words about marriage
- Welcome the Groom to your family
- Toast the Bride and Groom
- Thank the Father of the Bride for his kind words
- Thank the guests for coming
- Thank the guests for their wedding gifts
- Talk about how you have enjoyed the day so far
- Share the story of how you and your wife first met nd your life together until this point
- Thank the Bridal Party for doing a great job and propose a toast to them
- Propose a toast to your wife
- Thank the Groom for the honour of being the Best Man
- Respond on behalf of the Bridal Party for his kind words
- Share some stories about th eGroom and your friendship together
- Share some stories about the Groom and your friendship together
- Share how happy you are that they are together
- On behalf of the Wedding Party, give the Bride and Groom your best wishes for the future
- Propose a Toast to the Bride and Groom
Mother Of The Bride
- Talk about your daughter and your relationship with her
- Share any special memories of your daughter as a child
- Share some kind advice with the Bride and Groom
- Welcome the Groom into your family
- Wish them both a happy and healthy future together
- Thank the people who have helped you prepare for the day
- If your father or mother has spoken, thank them for their kind words
- Share how you feel about your parents and all their help
- It may be nice to include the Grooms parents/family, and how they have welcomed you into their family
- Thank the guests and toast them on bhealf of the Bridal Party
Maid Of Honour
- Discuss your relationship with the Bride and share a little bit about her as a person
- Share any stories about the Bride and Groom together, and how happy they make each other
- If you are maried, you may like to share some marriage advice
- Wish the Bride and Groom a happy future together
Mother/Father Of The Groom
- Talk about your son and tell him how you feel about him
- Welcome the Bride into the family
- Discuss the impression the Bride has had on you and the effect she has had on your son
- Wish the couple a wonderful life together
Even the greatest written and delivered speech will fall flat if your guests can not comfortably listen to you. Your DJ or the venue should control the microphone levels ensuring that all your guests are able to hear you clearly, however there is only so much they can do if the microphone is not being used properly. While you don’t want to have your microphone too close to your mouth, muffling all your words, it is important to hold it within a few inches of your mouth as it can only amplify sounds that are within it’s range.
If you are unsure as to where you should be holding your microphone, discuss it with your dj prior to your speech.
Last Pieces of Advise
• Write your speech well in advance
• Do your best to memorise it (but don’t worry if you can’t, no one cares if you need to use your notes)
• Prepare palm cards with the main points on them to prompt you in case you forget were you are up to
• Short and Sweet is always best
• Try not to digress too much as the short and succinct speech you prepared could be ruined if you begin to ramble
• Practice before the day so that you are comfortable with your tone and pace, it will make you less likely to rush through it if your nerves kick in
• Be aware of how you hold your microphone
• Most of all, remember, if the Bride and Groom have asked you to speak they know you and what to expect from you. You don’t need to prepare the worlds greatest speech, they could hire a professional to do that; as long as you speak from the heart you can not go wrong.