Wedding Speech Etiquette

Regarding wedding speech etiquette. I’m asked regularly:

a) who speaks when at a wedding; and
b) who needs to say what in their wedding speech?

Wedding speech etiquette

As you’ll read elsewhere on the site, I suggest planning your speech around the ‘must haves’ and the ‘might haves’.  The list below focuses solely on the ‘must haves’.

Many wedding speeches fall foul of ‘listing’, where you subject the audience to a never-ending barrage of sincere thankyous.  The best speeches weave these ‘must haves’ around their more creative elements and so you hardly realise that they are running through a list at all.

Here’s a quick reminder of the things that you will probably need to include if it’s a standard wedding with an orthodox set of speeches.

The Father of the Bride Speech

(creative input focuses mainly on the Bride and her new husband)
1. Welcome the guests
2. Welcome your new family
3. Mention your wife
4. Mention guests who cannot be there
5. Toast the Bride and Groom
You may also want to mention your other children, the vicar or equivalent, any friends who have helped with the organisation (including the flowers) and people who have travelled a long way.

The Groom Speech

(creative input focuses mainly on the Bride)
1. Thank the Father of the Bride
2. Thank the guests
3. Mention the new-in-laws
4. Mention your own family
5. Mention any particularly elderly or ‘special’ guests
6. Thank the Best Man and ushers
7. Toast the Bridesmaids
Your thankyous may overlap with the Father of the Bride and so it is worth trying to share them between you.  You may also want to mention guests who can’t be there and thank anyone from the wedding planner to the flower arranger (although I suggest that you restrict your thankyous to volunteers)

The Best Man Speech

(creative input focuses mainly on the Groom)
1. Read any telegrams
2. Respond to toast on behalf of bridesmaids
3. Thank your hosts
4. Toast the Bride and Groom
This list is short and sweet and yours is the speech with most room for creativity and fun.  However, it is still worth checking with the groom that he doesn’t want you to take any of the ‘must haves’ off his plate.

That’s the high level summary.  Please don’t assume anything and always check with the others that you are not going to cover the same ground.  Good luck, and please feel free to call me at any time if you’d like more detailed advice or help putting it all together.


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