Here is an overview of the basic and traditional content of the speeches by the father of the bride, the bridegroom, the best man and the bride:
Father of the Bride
- Thanks the guests for coming and sharing in the special day.
- Thanks everyone who contributed to the cost of the wedding.
- Compliments and praises his daughter and welcomes her new husband into the family.
- Toasts the bride and groom.
- Thanks the father of the bride for his toast.
- Thanks the guests for attending and for their gifts.
- Thanks both sets of parents.
- Compliments his bride.
- Thanks his best man.
- Thanks and toasts the bridesmaids.
- Thanks the groom for his toast to the bridesmaids.
- Comments on the bride and particularly the groom.
- Reads any messages from absent friends.
- Toasts the bride and groom.
- Thanks the guests for coming.
- Thanks her parents and bridesmaids.
- Compliments the groom.
- Proposes a toast.
Planning your speech
The delivery style of your speech is the first thing to think about. Decide if you think you’d like to write your speech out in full and read it or whether you’d prefer to write a few notes for each paragraph. Whichever style you prefer, you will probably find it easier to write out the whole speech first, then notate it afterwards as desired. It is possible to memorise your speech. This is only recommended if you have a good memory that lets you remember things with ease and can be relied upon in times of stress.
You are unlikely to be able to write your completed speech in its entirety in one go. Try a few attempts at preliminary planning and drafting before you try to write the speech itself. A good starting point is writing some headings suitable for your speech, then filling out the spaces between the headings to produce an entire speech. The headings will help you to focus on the subject of your speech, and the important elements in it.
The golden rule to remember is that all speeches at wedding receptions are just elongated toasts, as speakers are either proposing or replying to a toast, or both. The variable in the matter is the amount of elongation you choose to write. Even if your speech is really only a toast with a few heartfelt tributes, you will still produce an adequate speech.
As well as the points mentioned in Prepare your ground above, there are some points to remember about making speeches that apply to all the speech makers.
- Don’t just speak to your side of the family, or just the friends of the bride and groom.
- Remember that your speech needs to be relevant to all parties present, some of whom may not know the couple very well.
- Keep your speech quite brief; around five to six minutes is a good average, but don’t be afraid to speak for less time than this if you feel more comfortable.
- Remember that you are writing your speech to be read aloud. The spoken word is different to the written word; a formal document may contain “cannot” or “do not” but the spoken form would be “can’t” and “don’t”.
It is usual for most speeches to end with a toast. Ask your guests to charge their glasses and/or stand for a toast – then begin your toast. Remember that a toast should have something clearly defined at the end that you wish your guests to repeat together. This will make sure that your speech ends on a high note. Something as simple as, for example, “Ladies and gentlemen, I now invite you to be upstanding and drink a toast to… the bride and groom.”
Do you have any other tips for great wedding speeches? Let us know in the comments below!