Public speaking is a nerve-wracking experience at the best of times, but to speak at one’s own wedding can be even more so, especially as one is surrounded by the people who know you best! I chose not to do the bride’s speech as I was stressed enough without adding a soliloquy to my pre-wedding trauma! Wedding ceremonies have been around for centuries, and believe it or not, those involved have lived to tell the tale. There are ways to look spontaneous, fluent and, to all appearances, a great orator – it’s all in the preparation!

Who traditionally says the speeches

  • Father of the bride
  • Groom
  • Best Man

Who says the speeches today

Today’s weddings tend to be less traditional and can include whatever speeches you deem important – such as the maid of honour, the parents of the groom and the bride herself.

The order of the speeches

Speeches are, thankfully, made before the meal:

  • The master of ceremonies controls the order of events and will call for the guests’ attention, possibly introducing each speaker in turn
  • The father of the bride’s speech usually includes a toast to the bride and groom
  • The bridegroom’s speech responds to the father of the bride’s speech, and includes a toast to the bridesmaids
  • The bride may give a speech or say a few words
  • The best man’s speech responds on behalf of the bridesmaids,
  • and is usually the most light-hearted and humorous of the three
  • Any other speeches are usually presented now

Basic outlines of the speeches

  • Toasting the newlywed couple
  • Just how proud he is of his daughter – telling her she looks beautiful would be good here too
  • Welcoming his new son-in-law and the groom’s parents
  • Words of wisdom and well wishes to the couple
  • Toasting the couple again at the end of his speech
  • Introducing the groom – if the master of ceremonies doesn’t do so

The groom – this is the speech everyone is here for. Your speech will include:

  • Thanking the guests for being there, particularly those from far away
  • Thanking the bride’s parents for giving him their daughter in marriage
  • Complimenting the bride & thanking her for marrying you
  • Paying tribute to his parents
  • Acknowledging help with wedding arrangements – hosts, bridegroom and anyone else who has contributed
  • Propose a toast to the bridesmaids
  • Thanks to everyone for their kind wishes, gifts and cards
  • Introduce the best man, if there is one
  • Thanks to the best man

The best man – you need to cut a fine balance between amusing and sober – try not to continue in the same vein as the bachelor’s party, and include the following:

  • Wishing the bride and groom well for their future
  • Regaling your audience with tales about the groom
  • Saying a little about the bride and her appearance
  • Thanking the bride on behalf of the bridesmaids
  • Thanking the hosts on behalf of the guests
  • Toasting the parents
  • Reading any cards or emails from absent relatives or close friends

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