Traditionally, wedding speeches have been strictly reserved for just three people – the father of the bride, the groom, and the best man. In more recent years, it has become popular for other members of the wedding party, including the bride, to take the floor. So, for a wedding in keeping with modern times, how can a bride and groom be sure that they’re following the correct wedding speech protocol? In this guide, we break down a few simple etiquette rules to follow when it comes time to make your toasts.
For the bride
The father of the bride is generally the person to kick off the speeches. Usually, he will open by welcoming the guests, and giving thanks to all the people who had a hand in making the wedding happen. He should then go on to share something sweet and meaningful about the
bride, while welcoming the groom into the family, and talking about all the reasons that his
daughter and new son-in-law make a wonderful couple. Of course, he should finish his
speech by raising a glass to the bride and groom.
While the father of the bride has traditionally been the only person to make a speech from
the bride’s side of the wedding party, some couples may choose other family members or
friends to say a few words, too. There’s no rules against the bride making a speech, either.
She may choose to share anecdotes from her experience leading up to the wedding, as well
as any romantic stories that the guests wouldn’t get to hear about otherwise. Similarly,
bridesmaids can take the opportunity to share happy memories they’ve shared with the bride
For the groom
When it comes to the groom’s speech there can be some pressure to get it right, as
traditionally, he would be the one to speak on behalf of both of the newlyweds. His speech
will come right after his father in law’s, so he should begin by thanking him for his kind
words, and after, his guests for attending. Most grooms will also want to thank parents, the
maid of honour, and the bridesmaids for their support throughout – as well as anyone else
who has helped along the way. It’s very important for the groom to devote the bulk of his
speech to his new wife, and he should make this as sentimental and moving as he so
wishes. It’s then recommended that he makes a meaningful toast to his partner.
The best man’s speech comes last, and tends to be one of the most anticipated for its
wittiness and entertaining quips. As with the others, this speech should include all the usual
thank yous, as well as compliments to the bride and bridal party, and the final toast to the
happy couple. While it’s generally the best man’s job to get the audience laughing, it’s best
to make sure ahead of time that he knows his audience!
Wedding speech final tip
It’s okay if you want to include some of these speeches in your wedding day and not others
– after all, every wedding party is different. While following tried and true etiquette is
recommended, the most important thing to remember is that each speech should be
respectful and in good faith.
You might want to get a general idea of what each person is going to say during the planning
stage, particularly if there may be subject crossovers – but ultimately, it’s best to save what
you can for your big day, and trust that each of your closest people will have something
special to say when it comes time for them to take the mic.