Mention the word “wedding speeches”. Immediately a look of worry will come over the faces of those who are expected to make wedding speeches. Some couples decide to buck tradition and have the speeches made before the wedding breakfast to ‘get it over with. Others suffer and sweat their way through a lavish wedding breakfast which they can’t eat due to nerves. Wedding speeches are an important part of a wedding though. They bring together groups of people who may be strangers to each other, but each have their own thread to the couple. They are intimate, emotional, funny and often informative. So who says what and when?
MASTER OF CEREMONIES
Having an MC is like having a personal assistant. An MC is amazing in overseeing suppliers. They also make sure everything is set up correctly and moving along at the right pace. The MC may be the duty manager at your venue, a toastmaster, DJ (because they already have a microphone) or a guest who may be willing to step up to the role. If it is a guest, choose carefully. They will need to be calm and not afraid of speaking up with a loud voice and assertive presence. If you are going to hire a toastmaster (some venues provide them), meet up a few weeks before the day to go through the schedule. A Toastmaster will announce the speeches, organise the cutting of the cake and calm any pre-wedding speech nerves.
THE MAIN SPEECHES
The protocol for the order of speeches starts with the father of the bride. The Father of the bride welcomes the guests, and gets emotional over his daughter getting married. Finally finishing with a toast to the Bride and Groom. Usually causing a few tears along the day. It is then the groom’s turn to speak on behalf of himself and his new wife. To thank both sets of parents and guests. He must not forget to say that his wife looks beautiful. The next step is to thank his groomsmen and propose a toast to the bridesmaids. Lastly, it is the turn of the best man. The best man’s prime task is to talk about the groom, how the bride and groom met and add a few embarrassing things the guests didn’t know. It is supposed to be entertaining rather than cringe-making. It is quite common now for the bride to add a speech and the best woman too. With each toast, guests should be standing.
Father of the Bride Speech
The father of the bride usually makes the first speech. He is speaking on behalf of himself and his wife as the hosts. the father should welcome the guests to the wedding and then say a few words about the daughter he has ‘given away’. Usually this includes a few funny anecdotes of her childhood and teenage years. This speech will typically have your guests moved from laughing to tears. It is always a nice touch to welcome the groom and his parents into the family before finally proposing a toast to the bride and groom.
As if the day isn’t already stressful enough! On top of having to say your vows you are also expected to make a speech. However, the groom’s speech is probably the easiest to execute, and there are a few things that you must say! Stand Up. Firstly, don’t forget to say how beautiful your new wife looks, how proud you are and anything else lovey-dovey that you wish to say. I actually attended a wedding where the speeches went on for 2 hours and no-one, I repeat no-one, told the bride how beautiful she looked. Secondly, thank the father and mother of the bride on behalf of “my wife and I” (usually gets a few woops!) and the rest of the parents. Don’t forget to welcome them into the family. You should thank the guests for sharing your day. If you have presents for the bridal party now is the time to thank them for their support and distribute them. Lastly you propose a toast to the wonderful bridesmaids and attendants. Sit down and relax – your job is done.
The Best Man’s Speech
This is the hardest speech to execute and a lot of pressure is placed on the BM to get it right. I know of one BM who had several sessions of hypnotherapy because he was terrified. I don’t know of many best men who find it a breeze and some share the speech with the ushers. It does remove some of the pressure. There are lots of books and articles on how to make a Best Man’s Speech, but it usually follows the same pattern. The BM needs to introduce himself and how he came to be appointed to the role of BM. He then usually adds some funny and sometimes embarrassing tales about the groom (keep it clean), what happened at the stag do and then move onto the couple. Say a bit of sentimental stuff about how they met, how wonderful they are and what a fantastic life they will have and finally propose a total to the bride and groom. Don’t humiliate the bride and groom in any way, keep the jokes and language clean (as there are often children present), and don’t mention religion or politics.
Practice, practice, practice. In front of a mirror or to anyone who is willing to listen and give you feedback. Remember to pace your speech and not speak too fast – it keeps the nerves at bay to b-r-e-a-t-h-e.
Write your speech down – and when you have practiced it you may be able to get away with just a card and bullet points – making it more natural.
Speak conversationaly, it sounds better and is good at calming nerves. Don’t be put off if your audience do not laugh in the right places – sometimes gaffs make the funniest speeches.
Be yourself, don’t be afraid to show emotion – if your eyes are welling up, let it happen.
There are some brilliant wedding speeches and wedding planning books available on Amazon.co.uk.
The following sites may help: