Planning to deliver a mother of the bride speech? Here’s how to make it witty, warm and wonderful…
Good news – more mothers are grabbing hold of the mic at weddings! However, without any etiquette book to follow and so little advice out there, it’s hard to know what works and what doesn’t.
Summing up a lifetime of love and knowing how to entertain an audience is incredibly. daunting.
So, we asked the wedding speech experts at Speechy to give us their tips – here’s what they came up with…
It seems obvious, but the first step is not to worry too much. Mothers of the bride can sometimes be 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 shied away from.
Know what you want to say
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, try to avoid doubling up on the thanks or repeating the same toast.
Start by welcoming your guests – thank everyone for coming and give a special mention to those who contributed to organising the wedding or travelled far.
Pay a heartfelt tribute to your daughter, ensuring there are humorous anecdotes throughout, and you may also want to offer some advice to the newlyweds – though keep this light-hearted.
Welcome the groom to the family, and convey your happiness in getting to know his family, too (regardless of whether you mean it!).
Finally, conclude your speech with a toast to the bride and groom. Traditionally it should be to their ‘health and happiness’, but feel free to create something more meaningful and personal to the couple.
There’s no need to thank absolutely everyone – that’s technically the bride or the groom’s job.
Pay tribute to your daughter
This should be at the heart of the speech, but where do you start?
Begin by having a glass of wine and a brainstorm, roping in other family members to help if you want to.
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?
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. 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 she is.
Pay tribute to your new son-in-law
Yes, it’s definitely worth mentioning the groom, too! And you should 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?
Have a think about how you two have bonded. What do you like about the groom? Fill this tribute to him with honest insights (without alluding to any reservations you may or may not have!)
Make your speech funny
This perhaps the most intimidating piece of advice, but just because you’re the bride’s mother, it doesn’t mean you get away with fulfilling this very important wedding speech rule.
All wedding speeches should be sentimental, but it’s important that they’re pepped with bits of humour, too.
This doesn’t mean you need to start Googling wedding gags, but instead try to make witty observations about the bride and her relationship with her groom.
Imagine she’s a character in a sitcom – 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 your speech 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 the parts of your speech that feel like a deviation, and try to edit your first draft to half the length it was – this should make your speech much punchier.
Pay tribute to those who are absent
If you’re speaking on behalf of a family member who’s passed away, pay tribute to them but be careful that your speech doesn’t become a eulogy.
Think of a loving way of acknowledging their absence, rather than a sombre one. Would they have been first on the dance floor where they here today?
Would they 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 remembers them 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.
Practice and prepare your speech before the big day
Make sure the bride and groom have 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 iPad 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.
Enjoy making your speech
Make sure it’s a moment to remember and cherish every moment. Whatever you say, you’re sure to make your daughter proud.