Making A Mother of The Bride Speech? How To Make It Witty, Warm And Wonderful!
More mums are grabbing hold of the wedding mic, but there’s no etiquette book to follow and very little advice on how to give a great mother of the bride speech. Summing up a lifetime of love and knowing how to entertain an audience is daunting – we asked the wedding speech experts at Speechy to give us their tips.
Seems obvious but the first step is not to panic. Mothers of the bride are often the most nervous speakers, feeling a bit of an oddity and wanting to make their daughter’s proud.
The truth is, you could stand up purely to raise a toast and everyone would love it. Whether you’re standing in for an absent father or your daughter just wants to hear from you on the day, giving a speech is an honour and not one to be shy of.
Just follow our tips and you’ll be absolutely fine.
The etiquette bit…
This is what gets so many mums in a muddle. Just because you’re giving a speech it doesn’t suddenly turn you into a UN ambassador. You don’t need to go overly formal (in fact it’s better not to) and it’s not your job to sort out the family politics (there’s always some complication these days).
Your speech should follow the same structure as a father of the bride speech. Of course if your daughter’s dad is also giving a speech then try to avoid doubling up on the thanks or repeating the same toast.
Here’s what you need to do…
- Welcome your guests – thank everyone for coming and give a special mention to those who has contributed to organising the wedding or travelled far
- Pay a heartfelt tribute to your daughter – ensuring there are humorous anecdotes throughout
- Welcome the groom to the family – and convey your happiness in getting to know his family too (doesn’t matter how sincere this is!).
- You might want to offer some advice to the newlyweds – though keep this light-hearted
- Conclude your speech with a toast to the bride and groom – traditionally it was to their ‘health and happiness’ but feel free to create something more meaningful to the couple
One thing mums seem to struggle with is thinking they need to thank everyone. Actually that’s the groom’s job. Even if Auntie Joan travelled 400 miles to attend, just reference her efforts with a thank you ‘to everyone’s who’s travelled far’. Guests won’t appreciate sitting through two long thank you lists before they get a slice of cake!
Tribute to your daughter
This is obviously the heart of the speech but where do you start? How about with a glass of wine and a brainstorm. Rope in other family members if you fancy. Remember you’re the only speaker who gets to tell the childhood stories and divulge the gory secrets of your daughter’s dreaded teenage years!
Get out the old photos and ask yourself lots of questions. What did she love doing as a child? How did she make you laugh? Who was her first teenage crush (always good to compare the groom)?
Rather than resorting to clichés about her being a ‘wonderful, funny child’, find the insights and anecdotes that really paint a picture.
Of course as well as the childhood years, talk about the woman your daughter has become. Again, rather than rely on platitudes, think about what makes your daughter unique. Is she a social-media fiend, a tech-head, or a glam girl? Does she love exotic adventures or does she secretly love to knit? Make sure you cherish your daughter exactly for who – even if she is slightly crazy and still addicted to Monster Munch despite being in her thirties.
Tribute to your son in law
Yes, it’s definitely worth mentioning the groom too! And try to make this more than a few cursory sentences at the end.
Think about why the groom is suited to your daughter. What quirks of hers is he good at tolerating? What does he now help her with? What guilty pleasures do they share?
Also, have a think about how you two have bonded. What do you like about the groom? Again try to make this tribute to him filled with honest insights (without alluding to any reservation you may or may not have!)
Yes, this is perhaps the most intimidating piece of advice but just because you’re the bride’s mum, it doesn’t mean you can ignore this important speech rule. All wedding speeches should be funny. Yes, they can be sentimental but they need to be humorous too.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to start Googling wedding gags. What it means is try to make witty observations about the bride and her relationship with her groom. Imagine she was a character in a sit-com – what sort of character would she play? The high powered business woman who can’t work the remote control? The fitness fanatic addicted to Haribos?
Remember, things are generally funny because they are true.
Keep it short
Your speech can be as short as you like but don’t make it much longer than five minutes. That’s long enough to make an impact but short enough for people to love it.
Once you start writing your speech you may feel you have lots to say but you need to be ruthless. Don’t waffle on. Look at what sections of your speech feel like a deviation and try to edit your first draft to half the length it was. We promise it will make the speech much punchier.
If you’re speaking on behalf of a father who’s passed away, then you’ll obviously want to pay a tribute to him. Be careful though; you don’t want to turn your speech into a eulogy.
Think of a loving way of acknowledging his absence, rather than a sombre one. Would he have been first on the dance floor is he was here today? Would he have been asking for a second helping of the sticky toffee pudding or trying to get the quartet to play some ceilidh music? Make everyone remember him with a smile on their faces.
Of course, it’s worth keeping any mention of absent loved ones towards the end of the speech. Even if you feel quite comfortable with it, your emotions may get the better of you on the day.
Make sure your daughter has tested the acoustics of the venue and got a mic if necessary (so many speeches are spoiled simply because people can’t hear them!)
Be familiar with your speech but don’t feel you need to memorise it – cue cards are fine (though, if you have a mic to deal with, an i-pad might actually be better).
Try not to rush the speech, talk slower than feels natural and you’ll come across as more confident. Make sure you leave pauses where you expect laughter and it will come (sometimes people need a moment to get the joke).
Make eye contact with everyone, and remember to smile. You’ll find it’s infectious.
Whatever you say you’ll make your daughter proud. Make sure it’s a moment to remember.
Speechy is the one-stop-shop for all your wedding speech needs. Whether it’s a template or a bespoke speech you’re after, Speechy can help you craft an awesome speech that will add a special moment to your daughter’s day. Visit Speechy.co.uk