Most of us have attended a wedding where the speeches were a complete disaster. Either too long or too short, too rude, inappropriate or outrageous, or the speech-giver has had far too much to drink to stand up, never mind talk sense.
Here are our top tips for writing a thoughtful, appropriate and enjoyable speech, one you’ll enjoy delivering and one your audience will love to hear. Whether you’re the father of the bride, groom, best man or plan to deliver a joint Mr and Mrs speech, here’s how to get it right.
What to say in a ‘father of the bride’ speech
Whoever you are, whatever the speech, keep it short and sweet. Less than ten minutes is cool, any longer gets a bit much.
Traditionally, the bride’s father is the first one to make a speech, and luckily there’s a simple template to follow.
- Introduce yourself in a relaxed manner – a mild joke at this stage often helps you relax
- Welcome everyone formally and thank them for attending
- Mention the bride’s mother and the groom’s parents
- Tell everyone how proud you are of your daughter, and why
- Welcome your new son in law warmly, making it clear you’re glad he’s around
- Before the toast, give a few tips from the wise to the young, about how to stay happy and have a great marriage. Gentle jokes are de rigueur here, too
- End with a toast to the happy couple, the traditional way to end the fathers’ speech
What to say in a groom’s speech
The father of the bride usually speaks before the groom, which means grooms can always give their own take on what’s already been said, adding wit and sparkle without going over the top.
- If the bride’s parents paid for the wedding, this is time to thank them warmly
- Thank the bride’s family, and the other guests, for making your day so special, adding anecdotes about how they’ve made you feel welcome
- Thank your own parents for their love and support
- Thank the bridesmaids
- Thank your ushers, but steer clear of private ‘in’ jokes nobody else will understand
- Thank your best man for his support and loyalty
- Thank everyone else who helped make your day so special
- Thank your guests
- Last but not least, thank your lovely bride! And make it very clear that this has been the best day of your life
What to say in a best man’s speech
Two thirds of us get terribly nervous speaking in public. By this time two speeches have gone successfully and everyone’s a whole lot more relaxed. Make sure you’re not too ‘relaxed’ by alcohol before you speak! And remember that while you might feel nervous, it won’t show as much as you think. It rarely does.
- Leave out laddish or rude private jokes between you and the groom – it will alienate everyone else, and this day isn’t about your relationship. It’s about the bride and groom
- If you’re stuck for subject matter, focus on one idea or incident and base your entire speech around it, keeping things tidy
- Include a story or two about the couple to show what a great match they are
- Speak from your heart
- Don’t worry about getting emotional. It’s an emotional day and the wedding guests will love it!
What to say in a ‘Mr and Mrs’ speech
It’s a new-ish thing, but joint Mr and Mrs Speeches are the current big thing. In a traditional wedding the bride isn’t given the chance to make a speech. This new trend redresses the balance and makes things equal.
- This is a joint speech, a double act. Rehearse carefully so you’re fluent on the day no matter how nervous you are
- Base your speech around a subject close to both your hearts
- Decide whether you want to mirror each other and agree on every point or do the opposite for dramatic effect
- Be funny, be charming, be cheeky, be romantic – it’s entirely up to you
- Make sure you thank everyone present for their love and support
- End up saying, in your own unique way, how you can’t live without each other, can’t imagine spending your lives with anyone else
Checking your speech with others before making it
If you have any doubts or niggles about your speech, perform it in front of someone you trust well before the wedding so they can give you feedback. Follow our tips and you’ll be set for wedding speech perfection!
Photography Credits: Joel Skingle Photography, Lawson Studios
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