Who speaks for the Wedding Speeches?
Typically, the order of the speeches is Father of the Bride, Best Man followed by the Groom. (sometimes the Groom will follow the father of the Bride). However… We say – have who you really want speaking! If the Maid of Honor wants to say a few words then fantastic! Some brides would also like to make a speech, so it’s really down to you as a family and as individuals.
Who should toast at the Wedding?
Again, typically, the Father of the bride toasts to the happy couple and often the best man will toast to the bridesmaids and the newly married couple. It’s probably a good idea to limit the number of toasts though; If guests have to raise their glasses for the 4th time, it gets a little tedious and less special. Remember to let your venue know when the speeches and the toast will be happening so they can serve the champagne or wine in time.
How long should the speeches be?
We have endured quite lengthy speeches in our time. Sorry to say it, but it gets terribly boring for the guests to listen to an hour’s worth of speeches. Even at the 30 minute mark the grandparents are falling asleep and the kids are going crazy. Of course, we know some fantastic speeches can last a good 20 minutes – but generally, we would advise the total duration of the speeches to be between 15 and 30 minutes altogether.
The father of the bride might want to speak for 3-4 minutes, the best man speak for 10 minutes and the groom for another 5 minutes. Even if the best man has the funniest story to tell everyone… if it takes 15 minutes to get to the good bit people are going to be getting fidgety.
When do the speeches happen?
This is your choice. After dessert is always appropriate or, as soon as everyone has sat down with a glass of bubbly. But you might want to split the speeches up between a main course and dessert if there are quite a few people speaking. Of course, you might not want to have them at dinner at all. For an outdoor wedding you might choose a nice little spot during the drinks reception.
Our top tips for Making a Great Speech
While we may be truly inspired when we are alone in our bedrooms, and love ‘comes from the heart’, don’t count on it while standing in front of 150 guests at your brother’s wedding. There’s no shame in using notecards and don’t be afraid to practice it with someone before hand.
2. Natural but Interesting:
Try and balance out your natural tone of voice with ensuring your speech has colour and personality. Giving a good speech is all about engaging with the audience but you still need to come across as yourself – and not a presenter of a TV show.
If you are nervous, a drink or two might help – but there is no excuse for ANYONE giving a speech whilst being drunk. It might seem like a fun idea at the time to keep up with the big drinkers at the wedding, but it isn’t a pretty sight when the best man can’t even read his notes or can’t even stand up. It will be embarrassing and a huge let down.
4. Don’t thank absolutely EVERYONE:
Try not to thank half the wedding guests individually. Speak with your fiance beforehand about the VIPS who should be mentioned in the speech.
5. Mentioning loved ones who have passed:
You may want to mention a special someone who has passed and can’t be there with you today – often, we want to express in a speech how often we think of them and it how lovely it would have been for them to be there – but DON’T FEEL OBLIGED TO. If it is going to be too painful and it will upset you during your speech, leave it out. You can always have a photograph of the person you lost somewhere in the hall.
6. Organise & Practice:
It might be nice to have a quick discussion with the other speakers to discuss who is saying what and when. Organise who will be introducing the speeches (whether it be the band or the master of ceremonies – or you might just want to clink your glass to get everyone’s attention). Remember to practice your speech before the wedding day. It won’t be any use trying to practice during the drinks reception.
7. Use a mic:
As much as some people despise microphones, they are essential for most wedding speeches. Unless you have an intimate wedding in a small venue where everyone can hear you, it’s best to have a microphone organised which is usually provided by the band or production company, and in some cases the venue. Gone were the days when mics were awkward and squeaky so don’t be afraid to use one. Remember to hold it just under your mouth and don’t forget to pass it to the next person speaking.
8. Ensure the videographer/ photographer know the itinerary:
Your wedding pla
nner or venue coordinator should ensure the videographer and photographer are ready and in position for the speeches as it would be a real shame if they were having their break at this time! They need to ensure they have enough space to set up their equipment so it is really important they know what’s going on. Before the wedding day, you should have a final discussion with them about the itinerary of the day anyway, so they should be ready without anyone having to ask them.
If you want to use a TV screen or projector for your speech, ensure you have this planned several weeks in advance. Don’t assume there will be a projector waiting for you at the venue; you may have to hire one in. You will need to test this in advance so make a trip to the equipment company or venue and ensure you know how to operate it. Instead of using a screen, you could always print out your photos and have someone hand one out per table.
Take a deep breath, look up and smile :) Don’t forget to stand up tall and straight, you want to look good in the wedding photos. Oh – and have a few tissues at the ready !
BEST MAN’S SPEECH:
What’s in a best man’s speech?
– Introduce yourself
-Talk about the groom – do this humorously but not destructively. Tell a short story that will interest the audience.
– Give an outsiders perspective on the couple’s relationship and why they are such a good match. You might want to mention how beautiful the bride looks.
– Toast the bride and groom
How to begin writing your speech:
You already have a couple of stories about the groom which will be perfect for the speech. Write these down and then move on to do more research. Make a list of those nearest and dearest to the groom and get in contact for more stories – it’s important your audience gets a real feel for his life and journey to date. You can go back to his childhood and teenage years through to adult life. Good questions to ask these people are: what classic stories can you tell me about him? How would you sum up the groom? Has he ever said anything particularly funny? What is he well-known for? What makes him angry? This structure never fails and always engages an audience as it connects with the entire theme of the day. How did our groom get to this incredible moment? Speak to old friends from those various chapters of his life and remember, a touching tale can work just as well as humorous one.
If you aren’t completely sure about mentioning something, check with the bride and groom. At all costs, avoid ex-girlfriend stories and keep it rated PG for kids and grandmothers in the room! Most of all, if you are sincere about what you are saying, and your words come from the heart, it’s hard to go wrong.
Best Man Tips:
Speak to both the bride & groom:
In some cases, the best man might not know the bride that well or maid of honor might not know much about the groom. Nevertheless, during your speech try to speak to both of them and mention them as a couple, not just about the person you know.
It’s a great ice breaker and of course laughter makes people happy. Share a joke that isn’t too gross or sexist. The groom’s grandmother won’t appreciate you telling the world that her grandson slept with 100 women before meeting the bride and the bride will be ready to kill you.
How to recover:
If a joke flops and you have a difficult audience – you can recover by saying, “Well, that was supposed to be funny.” You’ll get the sympathy laugh as no one wants you to screw up! If you can’t be funny, be nice
What’s in a groom’s speech?
– Welcoming everyone and thanking them all for being there.
– Mention VIP thank you’s such as the bride’s parents and your own parents.
– The bride!
Try not to mention too many other people name by name as it does get boring. You might want to mention the best man and the bridesmaids as they are usually very close friends of the bride and they would have helped her with her planning.
However …. It would be nice if a Groom talked less about thanking ‘Sarah’ for the flowers and cut the 15 minute story about him and his best man…(that’s the best man’s job!) The groom has one role: to speak about his wife. Try to be specific too!
What your speech is about:
Now that the thanks are out of the way it is time to get a little bit more sentimental. Change the tone and talk more seriously and lovingly about your new wife. A lot of Grooms will talk about where they first met and how they fell in love at first site. It is really important to give this part of your Groom speech some real thought as it is something that your wife will remember forever. Make a toast to her and your new life together.
FATHER OF THE BRIDE’S SPEECH:
– Your speech should be about the bond you have with your daughter and how she has blossomed into a beautiful, intelligent (hopefully) woman.
– Tell some stories about what makes her special, what she used to be like as a child, perhaps a humorous story about her growing up. Try not to embarrass her too much though!
– Speak well of the Groom. He is likely to get a grilling from the best man so say a few kind words about him instead.
– Perhaps offer your advice to the couple which they can take forward into the new chapter of their lives.
Example Best Man Speech
Ladies and gentlemen, if there’s anybody here this afternoon who’s feeling nervous, apprehensive and queasy at the thought of what lies ahead…… it’s probably because you have just married James Rank.
To those of you who don’t know me yet. My name is Stu and I would like to thank James for finally confirming that I am actually the BEST man!
I’ve actually looked forward to this moment for a long time. It will be the first time I’ve been able to speak for five minutes in James’ presence without being interrupted!
Now it’s not that I’m saying that James is loud but he does seem to break a fundamental law of physics that light travels faster than sound…. because with James, you very definitely hear him before you see him.
It’s great to see that everyone is enjoying the wedding today, but I have to say that being best man you get to see behind the scenes – and let me tell you it isn’t pretty. Tears, hissy fits, chucking lipstick and mascara all over the place… luckily, I’ve heard that Sam was better behaved than the groom.
Quite clearly, no expense has been spared in creating this wonderful occasion for us all to enjoy. And by the way, please don’t worry if you have heard any unusual noises during the speeches….. it’s only James’ wallet groaning in agony.
Looking around this packed room, it’s surprising just how far some people are prepared to travel for a free lunch. It’s a good job James didn’t choose the menu, otherwise you would have been very disappointed to have come all this way for cheese sandwiches washed down with ALDI lager.
Now I am supposed to use this opportunity to recall embarrassing moments to ridicule James. But I’ve been put under strict instructions not to mention the time James’ fiesta door changed colour, the time that we had the winner’s podium from Northwood stadium on our heads or the time that James’ Nova started smelling of fish.
Of course… James….. I won’t say a thing. My lips are sealed. The theme of my speech is this: why marry James Rank? What is so special about him?
Over the last few months I’ve made extensive investigations and I think I’ve found the answer. One reason to marry James is that he’s exceptionally thoughtful – he’s always thinking about friends and family. In fact, he starts thinking from the moment he gets up…… and doesn’t stop until he opens his mouth!
I’ve been told that at School, his sporting prowess was legendary. In fact, when he graduated he was recognised as having made a major contribution to the Schools football first team..… by sticking to swimming
He’s academically bright. I once visited him when he was at Imperial College. “I’m done here,” he told me, confidently, “They can’t teach me any more.” Now, initially, I put that down to his inflated ego. But, curiously enough, One of his Uni mates knew the Dean of the University at the time and when he asked him about James’s leaving his words were exactly the same,….. ‘we simply couldn’t teach him any more’. Another reason to marry James is that he’s very caring – especially about his appearance. It’s easy to see from today that James, impeccably dressed, has always been an image-conscious sort of guy. You know, he once admitted to me that his favourite forms of entertainment were TV, Football and mirrors …. In reverse order.
He is most known however for his care of money. As he has often told me: ‘The safest way to double your money is to fold it over once and put it back in your pocket’.
But marriage changes a man and his approach to spending is shifting. Just yesterday, while mulling over a purchase, he blurted out,
‘Well, if you’ve got it why not spend it! I’m not extravagant enough!
It’s a lot of money, but hey, you only live once!
I’m going to buy this right now! I don’t care how much it costs!’
I was really impressed by this. And dramatically James threw the packet of Jaffa cakes in the shopping trolley and marched off.
Now I’m not saying James is a skin flint but it’s a well known fact that when he suggested getting married at Alton Towers it was because he thought he could pay using his Merlin Pass and his family’s local residents tickets. I can only assume that the reason for Sam choosing James was that opposites attract. I mean, one of my fondest memories is walking into their garden for a party to see James in the kitchen wearing a floral apron making cocktails and Sam in the garden chopping firewood with an Axe…… They certainly are opposites… If the theme of my speech had been: why marry Sam? It would have been straight forward. She is beautiful, intelligent and funny. She can cook like Nigella Lawson and she’s got the patience of a saint. James, I can say with my hand on my heart that you’re one of the luckiest men alive. And she writes a cracking best man speech as well. Joking aside, it’s a wonderful honour being best man today as James is a very special person to me. He is a true friend who never ceases to amaze me with his kindness. He has listened to me through many a crisis. He gives without any thought of reward. He is a super guy and a role model of a friend. And yes, we’ve had our differences… but nothing that two lawyers and a judge couldn’t sort out. I’d like to wish the happy couple well and toast their future happiness. Ladies and gentlemen, to the bride and groom.
Example Groom Speech:
Good afternoon Friends & Family.
It gives me great pleasure, on behalf of my wife and I, to welcome you all here, and to thank you sincerely for sharing our special day with us. Many of you have travelled a long way to be with us today, and Mel and I really appreciate that. It wouldn’t be the same without you all. It would have been a lot cheaper, but definitely not the same!
I read while researching wedding speeches that a good speech has a good beginning and a good ending. But the best speech of all keeps these close together.
Please note, there will be plenty of toasts over the next few minutes so do make sure that your glasses are charged.
Unfortunately, it’s not been possible to have everyone we love here with us today, like Mel’s Dad Mike, Mel’s Grandma Margaret, my parents Ben and Julie, and many other loved ones. However, we know they’re not only in our thoughts today, but more importantly they’re with us in our hearts. Please raise your glass and join me in a toast to absent family & friends. “To Absent family and friends”
Mel and I have a lot to be grateful for, and so many people to thank for making today so special.
Thank you all for your lovely cards and very generous gifts.
Thank you to Gwen for all your help to us over the years – we love and appreciate you. There aren’t many people who would willingly take on the task of looking after all 4 of our children – brave woman! Mind you, I understand that one of the ushers made the mistake of asking Gwen on the way in to the service, “Excuse me madam – Are you a related to the groom”, to which she replied “Bryan, you know that I’m the bride’s mother.”
Please raise your glass and toast Gwen – “To Gwen”
We would like to say big thank you to Mel’s step dad Colin. He has been a massive support to us over the past few years what with babysitting our children, building 2 sheds, and being an all-round handyman. Here’s hoping Motherwell Football Club do well again next season – just not as well as Partick Thistle.
Please raise your glass and toast Colin – “To Colin”
Thank you to bridesmaids Emily and Daisy for looking after Mel so well, and looking fabulous themselves.
Thank you to Chioma and Grace for being great flowergirls, and doing such a good job walking down the aisle with Mel and looking after her dress.
Thank you to Anizoba for being a wonderful pageboy, and doing such a great job looking after the rings. Mind you, I can’t help wondering how the day would have turned out if he had, in fact, played the part of CAGEboy as he and his sister Grace had initially thought?
There is an unwritten rule of wedding etiquette that states that nobody should look more handsome than the groom and I’d like to thank our ushers Bryan, Nnamdi and Chucks for sticking to that rule to the letter. I’m sure you’ll agree that they lent an air of ‘nightclub bouncer respectability’ to their roles and I particularly admired the way they searched the ladies’ handbags and frisked the men as they came in with such discretion and subtlety. I’m not quite sure that saying “You’ll sit where you’re ruddy well put” was really in the spirit of the day, but we’ll let that pass.
Thank you to Catherine for conducting such a warm service and Mel’s brother Elliott for playing the piano so beautifully during the ceremony.
Please raise your glasses and say “Cheers” to the bridesmaids, flowergirls, CAGEboy, ushers, Catherine and Elliott. “CHEERS”
A special thank you goes to the maid of honour, Susie, who has been a valued and trusted friend to Mel since 1st year at University (and I have seen the pictures that prove it!), and has supported Mel greatly over the past few years. Please raise your glasses to Susie – “To SUSIE”.
Last, but not least, I’d like to thank my best man, IJ, who also happens to be my brother. I am indeed fortunate to belong to such a wonderful family, and am grateful that IJ is standing beside me here today. Thanks for everything, dude. Please raise your glasses to IJ – “TO IJ”.
So, what can I say about this beautiful woman sitting beside me? She is beautiful, intelligent, kind … I could go on. Honestly, I would love to, but I’m having difficulty reading her writing.
Mel and I first met through a shared love of dancing, and for many years worked together on stage teaching Ceroc. Although our family have had our fair share of ups and downs over the past few years, we are fortunate that things are looking up for us, and symbolically, today marks the start of a brighter future for us all. For starters , Partick Thistle are still in the Scottish Premier League (just), and the fact that there will be many lumps of disappointment to come on Saturdays around 5pm just proves that every silver lining has a cloud!
I think you’ll agree that she looks absolutely gorgeous today and when she walked up the aisle, she took my breath away.
They say you don’t marry someone you can live with – you marry the person who you can’t live without and I think that sums us up perfectly. Mel has put a huge amount of effort into making today perfect, hand-making the invitations, orders of service etc and I think that she succeeded in achieving that.
Mel, thank you for marrying me and making me the happiest man alive. I can’t wait to grow old with you, and am grateful that you said I should continue give the ongoing World Cup my full attention, while you take care of the house and kids. That’s what you said, right?
May my wallet be empty, but your wardrobe full, May my hands be blistered, but your house upright and true, May my few annoying habits be tolerated, but yours ignored, and may my love keep you warm always!
Ladies and gentlemen, please stand and raise your glasses to my wife, Mel. (To Mel!)
Now, I’m not going to stand here all afternoon and bore you all with a load of stale old jokes. That’s the Best Man’s job! So, without further ado, I’d like to hand over to IJ.
Credits: These pics were taken by the talented Lyndsey Goddard at a White Avenue wedding.