Raise the roof when you raise a glass with these secrets to success. This ultimate guide to wedding speeches will help you through every speech scenario!
Traditional wedding speeches
Who gives wedding speeches and what should they say?
Wedding etiquette places the responsibility of speeches squarely on the shoulders of the boys. It’s tradition that the father of the bride will speak first, followed by the groom and the best man. They are each also responsible for raising specific toasts and thanking certain people.
The father of the bride keeps it simple with a toast to the newlyweds. It’s the job of the groom to toast to the bridesmaids, thank your parents on both sides, your guests for joining you and, of course, to say something special about you, their bride. It’s also nice to thank the best man, who has played a big role in the day. In turn, his speech should then bring things full circle, toasting to you, the happy couple, after a quite possibly, but not always, joke-filled interlude.
Want to get specific? Check out the guide that was made for you:
- How to write a flawless father of the bride speech
- The six types of best man speech and what to expect
- What to mention in your groom’s speech
- How to be funny without resorting to Googled gags
Alternative ideas for people to give wedding speeches
But why should the boys get all the fun? If you, your maid of honour or perhaps even your mum would like your chance to say a few words, then go for it!
Speeches are a prime opportunity to make your wedding different from the rest, through what you say, who says it and how. So, if your bridesmaid has known you forever and been there through it all, perhaps she’s best placed to give a speech that balances heart-warming moments with hilarious tales of your time together?
Here’s how to nail the bridesmaid speech – share it with your best girls!
When do the wedding speeches take place?
Tradition has it that the speeches take place either in succession after the wedding breakfast or are interspersed between the courses. That being said, we’re advocates for getting them out of the way before the wedding breakfast even begins – with the speeches finished and the pressure off, everyone can relax and enjoy their meal, rather than being too nervous to eat. You did fork out upwards of £50 a head for it, after all…
If you do wait until after dinner, don’t be tempted to have a few too many during the meal. One can be argued to be for Dutch courage, but three is getting into dangerous territory. Be wary of glasses that never seem to empty too, and perhaps ask the waiter not to top yours up more than once until you’ve given your speech.
Alternative wedding speech ideas if you’re nervous about giving a speech
Speechless. If anyone in the room is going to feel this way, it has to be for all the best reasons, and it certainly shouldn’t be the speakers themselves! Perhaps your bridesmaid blew everyone away rocking a personalised rap, or your husband had guests tearing up at his thoughtful words.
Any which way, if you really want to make an impression – the good kind – then ditch the clichés and jokes with punch lines that don’t improve, no matter how many weddings they’re told at, and go for something a little more unique instead. These can still be low-key. Writing a poem is just as impressive as belting out a song.
Write your speech down
We once featured a groom who came up with a sensational solution to the speech he was so anxious about giving. Rather than waiting nervously until the big day, he put pen to paper beforehand to make sure his speech conveyed everything he wanted it to. The couple then had the speech printed to match their stationery suite and presented each guest with a copy.
You might worry that written speeches could lack the impact of their spoken counterparts, but we have it on good authority that when the rustling of turning pages died down, the room was awash with smiles and happy tears.
Still feeling nervous about giving a wedding speech? We’re here to help:
- This guide to overcoming speech nerves will have you relaxed and ready in no time.
- Check out these 14 tips to deliver a brilliant speech (they’re super simple, we promise!).
- Still think you don’t want to give a speech? Here are four options for you.
Host a Mr & Mrs quiz speech
And if your best man is struggling with the thought that all eyes will be on him, why not encourage him to transform his speech into a Mr and Mrs-style quiz?
He’ll have the chance to slip in some tongue-in-cheek moments and expose some embarrassing memories, while the interactivity keeps your guests’ attention and takes the spotlight off your best man. The quiz-style speech gets everyone involved, making it the perfect point at which to kick off your evening party, too.
Love the idea of Mr & Mrs wedding speeches? Then use these guides to get yours just right:
- How to write an amazing Mr & Mrs wedding speech together
- The Mr & Mrs couple’s quiz
- Be inspired by these three real couples, whose speeches include an awards ceremony and a Mr & Mrs speech!
Fast facts for a winning wedding speech
10 minutes is widely agreed to be the optimum speech length.
When it comes to the traditional line-up of speeches, 3 isn’t a crowd.
57% of couples prefer to ditch tradition and hold the speeches before dinner.
Grooms should dedicate at least 3 minutes of their speech to their bride.
1 toast will round off each speech perfectly, so long as it’s addressed to the right people!
Only 28% of people love the new tradition for brides to give a speech.
Jokes from the best man could fall flat, with 36% of people voting that the speech should only include one!
Just 1 mention of an ex-partner is considered too many.