Traditionally, the speeches come after the wedding breakfast to mark the end of the formalities and the start of the celebration. The bride’s father makes the first speech, followed by the groom and then lastly the best man.
Each speech should last around 10 minutes and end in a toast (a sip of champagne) to the happy couple. If you are having a toastmaster, they will announce each speaker. You don’t have to stick with tradition, and some couples choose to have the speeches before the wedding breakfast so the speakers get to actually enjoy their meals! You don’t have to have a formal toast master to introduce each speech either, it is fine for each speaker to casually just stand up and say a few words.
Writing Your Speech
This is your chance to recount how you first met your new wife and how she has changed your life for the better. It is also an opportunity to thank her and both sets of parents, the best man and bridesmaids, and to give thank you gifts for their help with the wedding planning.
It’s really up to you what you say and how you say it, and many grooms find it useful to start with a template speech that they adapt. If you want to make a truly memorable speech then you could enlist the help of an expert speech writer. If you would rather write your own, then just remember to include some heartfelt words about your bride, your families and the wedding day itself.
If you want to stick with tradition, then this is the order your speech should follow:
1. First the groom thanks the father of the bride (or mother or step-father if the father is not present) on behalf of himself and his new wife for the father of the bride speech that has just been made
2. He should then thank the guests for coming, the bride’s parents (particularly if they are hosting the wedding), his parents for raising him and his best man for unchaining him from the lamp post after the stag do…
3. He should also thank anyone else who has helped or been involved with planning the wedding.
4. The groom presents both mothers (if applicable) with bouquets and then says a few words about his ‘beautiful new wife’.
5. The groom finishes his speech with a toast to ‘the bridesmaids’.
Just try to simply make it a positive and uplifting few words of gratitude, from the heart, and you can’t go wrong.
Groom Speech Examples
Here’s an example of a typical short groom’s speech that can be adapted by changing the names and adding in any other relevant personal details:
“Thank you for all coming here today, especially everyone who has travelled from far afield to share this day with us. And thank you for your generous gifts too.
I must also thank Katy’s parents – Carol and Ray – and my parents – Jane and John, for all their help in the organisation of our lovely day. When I met Katy, I thought she was sincere, kind and caring and when I met her parents, I knew exactly where she got it from. It’s clearly genetic, and I hope our children will inherit it. Carol and Ray, we’d like to give you these little tokens of our love and thanks.
My love and thanks today really have to go to Katy most of all though, for being here, for being so beautiful, kind and brilliant in so many ways, and now for being my wife.
You’ve all met James, my best man. I checked with him that he could organise a stag night, make a speech; even get me to church on time. But I forgot to ask the most important thing: could he tie the knot? I’m not talking about marriage here – I’m talking about the horrendous mess he’s made of my bow tie!
Finally, thank you also to the beautiful bridesmaids. I know they have been a great support to Katy during the last few months and ladies and gentlemen, I would like to please ask you to raise your glasses, as I give you… the bridesmaids!”
Try to keep calm and remember that everyone there wants to hear you speak and cares about you so you have won over your audience before you even stand up. It can help to write down the main points of your speech on handy cue cards you can refer to if your mind should go blank.
Practice what you intend to say, not by reading from a script, but by speaking freely if you can. When you know what you want to say, the words should come naturally. It can help to have a few deep breaths before hand or a glass of wine, but don’t drink too much.
If you will feel more comfortable simply reading a speech you have written that’s fine too. Just try to read slowly so everyone can keep up and speak louder than usual to make sure everyone can hear you. And if you feel anxious about it, don’t do it. Ask your bride if she would like to say a few words on your behalf of both of you instead.
Leave your guests speechless with these creative ideas for unusual wedding speeches and turn your wedding reception from predictable to truly legendary. 1. The song Tom Fletcher (above), the lead singer…
Kate Thompson is Confetti's features editor and wedding expert, and has worked in the wedding industry for 15 years. A widely published lifestyle writer, she has made BBC television and radio appearances discussing wedding trends in the UK.