Talk to us here at Rochford Life : 0786 342 7294 or E-mail us. For other numbers see individual pages.
Make a point of visiting us weekly!        Tell a friend about us.
Public Speaking
Wedding Speeches
This Paper’s Contents:

PAPER FIVE : Wedding Speeches

1. Introduction

Over the last twenty years there has been a revolution in respect of weddings. Once upon a time it was the bride’s parents who paid for the wedding day and arranged how everything would happen. In more recent years, it is frequently the couple themselves who set up the wedding day and then squeeze money from whichever parents have money to spare!

Despite this there is still often a conformity to tradition – expensive white dress for the bride (my big day!), hired car, wedding service, professional photographs taken (less so, now everyone has a digital camera, it seems), celebratory meal with invited guests, speeches and cutting the cake (for the photographers, all eighty of them!), and whatever may follow afterwards.  

So yes, speeches are still on the agenda. Having attended quite a lot of weddings, been a best man four times, a groom once, and a bride’s father once, the part where it often falls down, seems to be the speeches.

At the worst end of the spectrum is the father/groom/best man who has decided they aren’t public speakers and so go out of their way to prove it! At the worst end they haven’t even checked to see what is usually done and so chaos ensues, and a great opportunity is missed.

Ultimately everything that takes place around the speeches is designed to be polite and thankful – but it frequently isn’t – so if you are reading this page and you’ve got a wedding coming up, here’s your chance to do it well and so make people feel good. Whichever one of the three key players (four if the bride decides she wants to join in) it is, you have the opportunity to make people go away feeling really good.

So here’s the challenge: you can either go through the formalities and everyone is grateful when it’s over, or you can really think about this and, at the end of it, there will be a whole bunch of people who are really feeling good because you made it so!

2. Traditional Order of Play

The following tends to be the traditional order:
-  Sit down meal or buffet, followed by
-  Speeches, followed by
-  Cutting the cake

The Speeches tend to take the following order:
-  The Bride’s father, who concludes by toasting the Bride and Groom,
-  The Bridegroom, who concludes by toasting the bridesmaids,
-  The Best Man, who may conclude by toasting the health of the parents.

So let’s take them in that order

3. The Father of the Bride

His role traditionally is to:
-  Welcome all the guests to the wedding, on behalf of his wife and himself. (i.e. he acts as the host of the meal).
-  Thank all the guests for coming.
-  Perhaps say something about his daughter - skills, abilities, achievements, character, reminiscences, perhaps with some gentle teasing.
-  Perhaps say something about his new son-in-law, welcoming him to their family - skills, abilities, achievements, character, reminiscences, perhaps with some more gentle teasing.
-  Offer a toast to the Bride and Groom with words like, “So, ladies and gentlemen, family and friends, let us raise our glasses and join together in wishing them every happiness. I give you the toast of the Bride and Groom, and may God bless them," (whereby everyone raises their glasses and repeat, “The Bride and Groom” and drink.)

4. The Bridegroom

His role traditionally is to:
-  Thank the Bride's father for proposing the toast.
-  Thank him for the meal (if appropriate). Thank him for his kindness and friendship.
-  Thank him for his daughter.
-  Thank the guests for their good wishes, and for coming.
-  Thank everyone for their gifts.
-  Thank his 'new' wife for marrying him!
-  Thank the Bridesmaids who have helped his wife through the day.
-  Comment on their charm & beauty, but not too much!
-  Perhaps add a few words about how he met his wife, activities they share, etc. and gentle teasing is allowable.
-  Offer a toast to the Bridesmaids with words like, "Ladies and gentlemen, will you join me in drinking the toast of 'The Bridesmaids' - thank you." (whereby everyone raises their glasses and repeat, “The Bridesmaids” and drink.)

5. The Best Man

His role traditionally is to:
-  Speak on behalf of the Bridesmaids (and other helpers - ushers, etc.), and
-  Thank the Groom for his toast.
-  Toast the Parents with such words as "I should like to add our thanks to the parents which (Bridegroom) has already expressed on this wonderful occasion. I ask you to join me in drinking the toast of 'The Parents'".(whereby everyone raises their glasses and repeat, “The Parents” and drink.)
-  Usually share various anecdotes about the Bride and Groom, more especially the Groom, again often for there to be gentle teasing.
-  To read out telegrams, cards and emails from people who were not able to attend. (but this is becoming less common)