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Written by Paula Jones Last updated: June 6, 2006
Do ushers make wedding speeches? Traditionally, the father of the bride, the groom, and the best man make speeches at a wedding. However, there are sometimes exceptions to this rule.
Circumstances may arise where one of the expected speakers may not be available, whether due to unplanned absence, not being close to the family, or simple fear of public speaking. In these and similar cases, the usher may be asked to give a speech on behalf of the unavailable person, or even in addition to the main speakers if the couple want to honour the usher in such a way.
It shouldn’t be a problem to say a few sincere words if the usher is close to the family, but it may be a bit more of a challenge otherwise. If so, it may be a good time to contact any family members who could help with any anecdotes or courtship stories which may be used in the speech. Logically, if the usher has had plenty of notice about the speech, he will be expected to make it meaningful and a true contribution to the evening’s proceedings. If, however, he’s been asked to stand in at a short notice, nobody will expect him to deliver a eulogy off the cuff – short, simple, and genuine will do just fine. An usher who’s a long distance friend or relative should introduce himself at the start of the speech, so all the guests know who he is.
Traditionally, the best man offers a toast to the newlyweds. If the usher is standing in for the best man, it’s also his duty to offer a simple and sincere toast.
If standing in for someone who has passed away, for example father of the bride, the usher could mention him sincerely, as the guests may be expecting this on such a special day. Many guests may be missing him, and will be pleased if he gets a mention. It’s appropriate to say a few kind words about him and how he would feel if he was present.
On the other hand, mentioning absent parents may not always be appropriate if they are not attending due to family issues, such as divorce or estrangement. In these cases it’s best to check with the bride or groom what their preference is, and what will be the most appropriate thing to do.
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