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  • Tracy Fink

A Bride and Groom’s Guide to Wedding Speech Etiquette

Guests toasting at a wedding reception
Wedding reception speech

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

and groom.

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.

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