Sample Speech: Recent bereavement

Written by    Last updated: June 6, 2006

Wedding speech material for you to adapt, for when loved ones have passed on

By the father of bride

‘A wedding is a time for joy and fun, with friends and family gathered to see the happy couple off as they embark on a new, shared life. But it is a time, too, when our thoughts inevitably turn to those people who cannot be with us today, and especially those who have left this life. And it is an especially poignant time for those whose own partners have passed on too. So let’s just take a moment to remember (gives name of bereaved). We remember them with love and pride, and we ask for their blessing.’

By the uncle of the bride

‘The speech I’m making now should really be made by my brother Hal, Janine’s father, but sadly he cannot be with us. Janine is his only daughter, and she meant the absolute world to him. He would have loved today’s big occasion, I’m sure you’ll agree. I can picture him swanning around in the loudest tie he could get his hands on, sneaking out for a swift drink before the service, and holding the floor with those risque jokes of his that somehow only he seemed to be able to get away with. I know too that he would have gone around all day with the biggest, stupidest, proudest grin on his face. I am honoured to have been asked to fill Bob’s place, even as I am saddened by the circumstances. We all miss him. But I know that he would want you all to enjoy the day and give all your best wishes to the happy couple.’ 

By the groom

‘As many of you will know, our family has recently suffered a terrible blow with the unexpected and tragic death of my father Brian. For some time we even wondered whether it would be appropriate to postpone the wedding, as a mark of respect. But when we talked it over, everyone was in agreement that the occasion would provide a great opportunity to share our thoughts and feelings about Brian ‐ and that where we were all gathered, there Brian would be in spirit with us too. So perhaps you will understand if I do not describe today as the very happiest day of my life ‐‐ though in marrying Caitlin, I am the luckiest man alive. But I and all my family draw great comfort from the fact that we are surrounded by people who knew him and loved him and remember him, and I know that this day ‐‐ which he was so looking to ‐ will be all the richer as a result.’

‘Now if my Mum could be here today, I know what she’d say: “Nice spread, son, but for goodness’ sake stand up straight and get your hair cut!”’  

By the best man

‘I am honoured to be standing up here as best man for Tom, though I am mindful that this place belonged by rights to Gary, who tragically cannot be with us. Perhaps in choosing me Tom thought he would be getting off lightly because, of course, I didn’t go to school or spend my childhood with Tom, as Gary did. On the other hand, the telephone is a wonderful thing, and many people have been kind enough to come forward with their reminiscences. So I don’t think we’ll be too short on suitable material ‐‐ and before I go any further, I’d like to say a special thank you for her candour (and her Polaroids) to Sally the goat.’ 

By the bride

‘It is a great sadness that my parents cannot be here to day to see Graham and me finally making it down the aisle today. They both knew and loved Graham, and though neither Mum nor Dad ever put any pressure on us, I know it was their fondest wish that the two of us should get married in church, as we have done here today. So I’d like to dedicate this day to their memory, and to say an enormous thank you to them both for all the love and patience they showed to me and my brothers and sisters while we were growing up. And if I ever have children, and if I can do half as good a job as a parent, then I’ll have done very well…’ 

‘My mum and I were always very close, and I know that we would have spent the months leading up to this wedding busily making plans and drawing up lists and traipsing round all the dress shops comparing fabrics. So when she died last year, I thought it would be a great sadness to go through all these preparations without her. Of course, I missed her wisdom and her wit at every turn, but I had a strong sense that her presence was guiding me the whole time. So thanks for your help Mum. Anything that goes well today is down to you ‐‐ I’ll take credit for the mistakes!’

By the chief bridesmaid

‘A wedding is a time to remember the people who are important in your life. And so let us all pause for a moment and say a silent prayer for all those here today who are missing loved ones, especially (give names if appropriate).’

‘I was going to share the job of chief bridesmaid with Claire’s childhood friend Alice. Alice had been seriously ill for some time, however, and sadly she passed away last month. Everyone who knew her, however, will remember always her incredible zest for life and her boundless energy. And I know that right now, she’s looking down and saying: “Just get on with it girl, and make sure you grab the last bottle of champagne!”’

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