Wedding speeches can be as nerve-wracking for the bride and groom as for those delivering them – What if the best person says something inappropriate? Is Dad feeling nervous? What on earth does my Person of Honour have planned?
However, this doesn’t mean she can’t try to prepare herself for what is to come, nor can she be stopped from lending a helping hand to those preparing speeches…
If this screams you and you can’t wait to offer out some advice to those writing their speeches, then you might like to take a look at the below information which details what each person traditionally says in his or her speech and when.
The traditional order of speeches and what they should say
Father of the bride/groom
Most speeches will kick off right at the beginning of the wedding reception, when the Father of the Bride will traditionally welcome the guests and introduce the married couple (if the toastmaster hasn’t already done so). It has long been customary for the bride’s father to give the first speech as it was often the bride’s family who paid for or contributed the most financially towards the wedding.
During his speech, the father (representative) of the bride will ordinarily welcome the groom into his family, compliment his daughter and tell heartfelt stories about her life before marriage. He will then explain why she and his new son-in-law are such a great match and will end his speech with a toast to the newlyweds.
During his speech, the groom will no doubt gush over his amazing new bride/groom but he’ll also take the time to pay tribute to the bridesmaids and both sets of parents. He may thank his own Mum and Dad (where relevant) for raising him and giving him all the opportunities in life which led him to this happy moment in time, while also thanking his in-laws for raising such a wonderful daughter and accepting him into their family.
Best Man/Best Person
The Best Man, who normally gives the final speech of the day, will praise the bridesmaids once again and compliment the beautiful bride. But then, when all the niceties are over and he has tried his best not to embarrass his best friend’s wife too much, his attention will quickly turn to roasting the groom himself.
Funny anecdotes will definitely be on the cards, as might a few tales from the stag do.
Before raising a glass for the bride and groom for the last time, he may be asked to read out messages from – or ask everyone in the room to remember – absent guests.
The best time for wedding speeches to take place
At the start of the wedding reception
As previously mentioned, most speeches will get underway at the start of the reception, however this does not have to be the way.
The benefit of having the speeches out of the way early on is that those nervously awaiting their turn can get theirs off their chest relatively early on and enjoy the rest of the day!
During the wedding reception
Some couples, particularly if they have a large wedding and want to ensure their guests have distractions at various points throughout the day, may choose to stagger the speeches or hold all of the dialogue in between courses. Not only does this help to keep the room entertained when waiting on their next dish, it usually means that the guests – and more importantly the speech givers – will have had a glass of bubbly to calm their nerves by then!
That being said, not everyone settles their nerves with an alcoholic beverage so you might simply be putting your loved one through more torture as he sits waiting for his big moment.
After wedding reception
Depending on the structure of your day, your order of service might flow differently from the above and it may call for speeches later in the day, possibly even after the wedding breakfast. It’s important to make sure the timing works for you and your plans for the day!
Alternative wedding speeches
Maid of honour/Person of honour
Of course, it doesn’t have to fall to the Best Man to give a speech. Or perhaps you want your girl to give a killer Maid of Honour speech to rival his! Either way, a Maid of Honour speech is a really nice way to bring more of your personality to the speeches, enabling her to share stories about you as an individual as well as your partnership.
A word of warning, though… if your Maid of Honour has a reputation for getting overly emotional then tell her to keep it light-hearted and leave the tears for your father and the groom!
Though quite rare, brides will sometimes take the microphone at their own wedding, as a way of showing their appreciation to all of those involved. And, come to think of it, if a bride is heavily involved in the planning of her wedding then it seems only fair that she should be the one to welcome her guests and thank those around her for the support offered. Not only that but it is nice to hear loving words from the bride’s perspective as well as from her hubby’s.
We know, of course, that not all families are ‘traditional’. If, for instance, you are one of a same sex couple, then you may choose a different path entirely for your speeches and opt for both fathers (and/or mothers) to give a speech, in addition to the two of you.
Similarly, we acknowledge that not all couples have both sets of parents and therefore it might fall upon the mother of the bride, a sibling or even a dear friend, to give a heartfelt speech and represent the family.
Tips to make your speeches go smoothly
As much as it makes you uncomfortable to think about what could be said during the speeches, it’s important to remind yourself that the people at your wedding love you and have nothing but respect for you both.
But to ensure that the speeches go without a hitch, we suggest that you keep chasing up those who have been asked to deliver a speech (to ensure they are prepared rather than to be nosy). It’s also a good idea to task your husband-to-be with checking in on the Best Man before the big day to ensure that his speech is suitable (because, let’s face it, he’s the one to watch!).
And, lastly, we recommend telling your father, Best Man or whoever is due to be addressing the crowd that there is no pressure to write an essay. A few simple and sincere words from those you simply and sincerely love is all you need.