Wedding speeches are a big part of most weddings, often taking place before or after dinner. There are no hard and fast rules, but if you’re following tradition there is a set order in which the speakers are introduced, so here’s a guide to the traditional wedding speech order.
Usually, the toastmaster or the master of ceremonies will introduce the speeches at the end of the meal, however couples are increasingly choosing to mix this up. For example, some couples decide to have the speeches before the wedding breakfast so that the speech-givers can relax and enjoy the meal free of nerves (here’s how to cope with nerves when delivering a wedding speech), and others have a speech between each course so that guests don’t have to listen to a solid block of speeches.
Our Guide to the Traditional Wedding Speech Order
The formal order of speakers is:
The Father of the Bride’s Speech
Traditionally the father of the bride is the first to speak in the wedding speech order, especially if he, as one of the bride’s parents, has provided money toward the wedding. The father of the bride:
- Welcomes the guests and thanks them for coming to and participating in the wedding day.
- Thanks everyone who has contributed to the cost.
- Compliments and praises the bride, telling some lovely stories. (If you’re planning your father of the bride speech, make sure you check out these heartfelt and witty quotes to make your daughter smile).
- Welcomes the bride’s new husband into the family, often commenting on how they are such a wonderful couple.
- Toasts the new couple
However, sometimes the father of the bride can’t make it to the wedding day and the role of this first speech will be taken by a close family member such as the mother of the bride, sibling, or other, or a close friend. Here’s what to do if your dad’s not at your wedding.
Featured above: Islington Assembly Hall
The Groom’s Speech
Next in the wedding speech order is the groom’s speech. And often he begins by responding to the father-of-the-bride’s speech. The groom:
- Thanks the father of the bride for his toast.
- Thanks the guests for attending, and for their gifts.
- Thanks both sets of parents, either for hosting the wedding, contributing to the wedding, or for simply being fantastic parents. This involves thanking the bride’s parents for welcoming him into their family.
- Compliments his bride and perhaps shares the story of how they met.
- Thanks and toasts the key members of the wedding party, including his best man, his groomsmen/ushers, the chief bridesmaid/maid of honour, and the bridesmaids.
- May give out thank you gifts to the key members of the wedding party (best man, groomsmen/ushers, chief bridesmaid/maid of honour, bridesmaids, and parents).
- Thanks the wedding suppliers such as the venue, photographer, caterers, etc.
- May also toast the hosts.
Featured above: Rosanna & Andy’s Georgian Manor Wedding
The Best Man’s Speech
A wedding speech is just one of the best man’s many responsibilities, and these days it comes with a lot of pressure too. It’s traditionally the last wedding speech, and people generally expect it to be funny. The best man’s speech usually includes:
- Thanking the groom for his toasts.
- Commenting on the new couple. This often includes some playful jokes, anecdotes, or funny stories at the expense of the groom. Just make sure you don’t confuse, alienate, or bore the audience—here’s what not to do in your best man speech.
- Commenting on the bride, usually saying how happy she makes the groom.
- Reading any messages from absent friends and relatives.
- Ending with a final toast to the bride and groom.
Other Wedding Speeches
While these are the traditional wedding speeches, it’s more and more common these days to find other members of the wedding party giving a wedding speech too. For example, many weddings are seeing a bride’s speech, maid of honour speech, and father of the groom speech—and even ushers may need to make a wedding speech if a speaker is suddenly unavailable. Usually these speeches fall after the groom’s speech and after the best man’s speech in the wedding speech order, but it’s entirely up to you.
The Bride’s Speech
While brides’ speeches haven’t been a thing for as long as a groom’s speech or father of the bride speech in the wedding speech order, more and more brides like to say a few words at their wedding. This can include, much like the groom’s speech:
- Thanking her father for his toast, and thanking both sets of parents for their presence and any contributions to the wedding. She may also thank her partner’s family for welcoming her into the fold.
- Complimenting her partner, perhaps complete with a romantic love quote.
- Thanking the guests for coming, and for any gifts.
- Thanking her bridesmaids and giving out any thank you gifts.
- Thanking the wedding suppliers.
- Proposing a toast.
Find some great sample brides speeches here.
Featured above: Lisa & Ben’s Colourful Beach Real Wedding
The Maid of Honour’s Speech
Like brides’ speeches, maid of honour/chief bridesmaid wedding speeches are on the rise. Like the best man speech they are a great opportunity for fun and laughter, often including:
- Thanking the bride for her toast and any thank you gifts.
- Commenting on the happy couple, and sharing memories of her time with the bride.
- Complimenting the groomsmen/the ushers.
- Proposing a toast.
There have been some pretty epic bridesmaid/maid of honour speeches in the last few years, from heartfelt and funny chief bridesmaid speeches to this bridesmaid who rapped her speech to Ice Ice Baby:
We shared this amazing video of a maid of honour rapping her speech last year and have just been sent the professional copy by the bride (Thank you Hayley) Obviously we had to share it with you guys – enjoy!
Posted by Confetti on Thursday, February 4, 2016
3 Top Tips For Organising Your Wedding Speeches
1) Speeches can be short and sweet or more detailed and lengthy, and this can sometimes make it hard to know when it’s your turn to speak. While most speeches end with a toast and/or the speaker sitting down, the most hard and fast way of knowing when it’s your turn is to ask the person speaking before you to introduce you once they’re done. This would mean speaking with everyone beforehand to arrange each person introducing the next, but it makes for a much cleaner, more organised chain of wedding speeches.
2) Wedding speeches are often prepared well in advance of the big moment, so one of the best things to do is ask everyone who’s giving a speech to share what they will be saying, be that jokes, toasts, or funny stories about the bride and/or groom. The last thing you want is everyone repeating the same or similar thing, and the chance of this grows with the more speakers you have.
3) Don’t feel pressured to try and memorise your wedding speech off by heart. Especially if you’re a nervous speaker, notes for your wedding speech (or a full write up of your wedding speech) written on prompt cards or in a stylish note book can be all the difference. One of the worst things would be your mind going completely blank and having nothing to refer to.