Wedding & Function
Wedding & Function

Wedding Speeches

While most people dread making wedding speeches, a wedding speech usually adds to the overall entertainment and enjoyment of the wedding ceremony. Traditionally, wedding speeches were made by the Father-of-the-Bride, the Groom and the Best Man but today, it is becoming increasingly popular for many other people to say something – even Brides are making their own wedding speeches. 

Although the order of wedding speeches at a wedding is not cast in stone, it is generally as follows:

Master of Ceremony (MC)

·        Ensures the smooth running of the reception by controlling the order of events.

·        Introduces him / herself and calls for the guests’ attention.

·        Announces the entrance of the Bride and Groom.

·       Ensures guests know how the meal will be served, any particular information about the venue and when the wedding speeches will be delivered.

·        Introduces each speaker in turn.

·        Toasts to the Bride and Groom or introduces the person who will do this.

·        Announces the cutting of the cake, the first dance, throwing of bouquet and garter as well as when guests will leave the wedding reception.

Father-of-the-Bride (may delegate a close family friend or relation)

·      Welcomes guests and thanks them for attending his daughter’s wedding.

·      Toasts to the newlywed couple.

·   Shares some memories about his daughter and just how proud he is of his daughter.

·      Welcomes his new son-in-law and the groom’s parents into his family.

·      Shares words of wisdom and well wishes to the couple.

·      Toasts to the couple again at the end of his wedding speech.

·      Introduces the groom – if the master of ceremonies doesn’t do so.

Groom (often the speech everyone is waiting for)

·      Traditionally, speaks after the Father-of-the-Bride. (Nowadays, Best Man usually delivers his speech first and the Groom will give a final say).

·      Thanks the Father-of-the-Bride for his kind words and toast.

·      Thanks the guests for attending the wedding, particularly those from far away and the elderly who made a great effort to be there.

·      Thanks the Bride’s parents for giving him their daughter in marriage.

·      Compliments his lovely Bride and thanks her for marrying him.

·      Pays tribute to his parents for any financial contributions and support during the wedding preparations.

·      Acknowledges the wedding decor and everyone who helped beautify the venue – hosts, the Mother-of-the-Bride and anyone else who contributed.

·      Thanks his Best Man and the groomsmen.

·      Thanks the Maid of Honour and bridesmaids and proposes a toast to them.

·      Thanks everyone for their kind wishes, gifts and cards.

·      Most modern grooms end their wedding speech by toasting to their Bride.

·       Introduce the best man, if there is one.

Bride (may delegate Maid of Honour)

·    Nowadays, it is not unusual for Brides to say a few words of thanks after the Groom.

·        Must be brief so as not to shadow the Groom’s speech.

Best Man (everyone looks forward to this speech as it often humorously sketches the Groom’s character)

·        Thanks the Groom for his toast.

·        Thanks the Bride’s family for hosting the wedding reception.

·        Wishes the newlyweds well for their future.

·      Entertains the guests with tales about the Groom (without mentioning ex-girlfriends or other things that may offend guests).

·        Talks briefly about the Bride and her appearance.

·        Thanks the bridesmaids.

·        Toasts to the parents of the newlyweds.

·        Reads any cards or emails from absent relatives or close friends.

·        Toasts to the new happy couple.

Getting your wedding speeches right

Making a wedding speech to a hall full of people can be a daunting task to anyone who is unaccustomed to public speaking. Fortunately, at a wedding ceremony, your audience will have been warmed up by the happiness of the special occasion and nobody will be expecting a lengthy, formal address.

You just need to give them a few well-chosen, genuine and entertaining words – often not longer than five to ten minutes. Besides being sincere - and not pretentious or demeaning, here is how to get the audience on your side:

·        Practice, Practice … Practice. It can never be overemphasised that practicing your wedding speech will make it perfect.

·        Timing. Keep your wedding speech brief – longest should be 15 minutes. Refuse the temptation of breaking into a long, boring recitation of your family’s previous achievements.

·        Be audible. It is important to speak up - nervousness often makes a speaker inaudible.

·        Pace yourself. Remember to pause and breathe properly - try not to deliver your wedding speech at a hundred kilometres an hour.

·        It is usually advisable to tell only one joke and stick with it. Remember to keep it clean so as not to offend anyone in your audience.

·        Structure your wedding speech. Remember the basic structure of story-telling i.e. your wedding speech must have a beginning, middle and an end!

·        Stand up and confidently say, “Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen, it is an honour to be celebrating love with [names of bride and groom] on their wedding …” or “Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen, I’ll start by saying our bride, Amber, is looking absolutely beautiful today and I’m sure gentlemen you’ll agree with me that today is a sad day for all single men, as another beauty has been snatched off the ‘available list’…”

·        Research online, or anywhere you can, for wedding speech ideas.