Wedding Speech Guide 101 — Everything you need to know about making a wedding speech.

The big day is approaching and it’s time to turn your attention to one of the most important parts of the day — the speeches. Here’s our guide to the running order of the wedding speeches, how to write them and when to have them.

Whether you’re a bride, a groom, the father of the bride or best man, it’s important to know what order the speeches run in and what you should include in yours. Traditionally, only the father of the bride, the groom and the best man make a speech, but today it’s quite common for the bride and even the bridesmaids to get involved in the action too. 

 

But how do you make sure your speeches aren’t all covering the same ground and which order should the speeches go in? Our handy guide will help. 

 

The Running Order

 

Traditionally, the running order is:

  1. Father of the bride

  2. Groom

  3. Bride

  4. Bridesmaids or Maid of Honour

  5. Best man

 

This is just a guide and if tradition isn’t for you, then you should do your speeches your way, in whichever order you prefer. Some weddings have two best men, two grooms, or two fathers of the bride, so follow your heart and run the speeches in a way that works for your day. 

When Should the Speeches Take Place? 

Your venue should be able to help you with this, and here at the Manor House Hotel, we’re always happy to accommodate our couples, whether they would prefer the speeches, before, during or after the wedding breakfast. 

 

When deciding, think about how you’d like the day to run. If you’re having an early ceremony, then your guests may be more than happy to listen to the speeches, drink in hand before eating. This is a good option for nervous speakers as it means the wedding party can relax and enjoy the rest of the day. 

 

If you’re having a later ceremony and are all happy to do so,  you may want to consider doing your speeches after guests have eaten their starter and main course. With full bellies and a drink or two inside them, your guests will be relaxed and ready to give you some big laughs.  

 

It’s wise to offer your guests a drink to toast with. A glass of something sparkling usually goes down well, or an orange juice as an alternative for the non-drinkers. If you have thirsty guests, you may already have wine on the tables, an open bar or give your guests the opportunity to get an additional drink for themselves, so they can save their fizz, just for the toasts. 

 

The Father Of the Bride Speech 

This is likely to be a heartwarming speech, perhaps with one or two embarrassing childhood tales thrown in for good measure. A real dad to daughter moment, reminiscing about when she was just a tot and a wedding seemed a million miles away.  

A few important things for the father of the bride to include are:

  • Break the ice by saying hello to everyone and complementing what a great day it’s been already. You may hear a few cheers of agreement.  

  • Say how proud you are of the Bride, now that she’s all grown up. 

  • Make a joke or tell a funny story about the Bride as a child. 

  • Share some wisdom about married life, or just about life in general. 

  • Thank the groom, for making your little girl so happy. 

  • Make a heartfelt toast to the bride and groom. 

 

The Groom’s Speech

The groom’s speech is perhaps the easiest one of all. It should be kept short and sweet as it’s an opportunity to do some thank yous and pay tribute to your beautiful wife. A nervous groom can keep it as simple as that but remember to keep it lighthearted. 

Here’s what the groom should include; 

  • Thank the staff, your guests, the members of your wedding party and of course your beautiful new wife. 

  • You may wish to thank your best man individually, for organising your stag and helping with the wedding preparations. 

  • A top tip is to thank the guests that have travelled far to come to your wedding. Mention a few locations by name, you’re sure to get a few cheers from the crowd when they hear their home town mentioned. 

  • After the thanks and any additional jokes, make a special mention of the bride, how stunning she looks and how much effort she’s put into making the day special. 

  • If you have gifts for people, don’t worry about handing them out during your speech. At this point, your guests will be keen to continue the party. Give them out later when you can thank individual people more privately. 

  • Finish your speech with a toast to your new wife! An exciting moment indeed. 

 

The Bride’s Speech

A bride making a speech is rapidly becoming more popular, and for good reason. Why should the men have all the fun? Brides can traditionally take on much of the organising of the wedding and if this does sound like you, then it’s a good chance to thank the people who helped you get there. 

Here’s our advice for things for the Bride to include:

  • Keep it short and heartfelt. If there have been rocky moments during the wedding planning, and there often are, now’s the perfect moment to thank those who were there for you or who saved the day.

  • If you have guests who contributed special touches to the day, like handmade button-holes, a playlist or table decorations, thanking them by name will really make their evening. 

  • Thank your bridesmaids for their help and for what we’re sure was a memorable hen party. 

  • Finally, tell a funny or romantic story about your new husband and thank him for all his help with the wedding. 

  • Top it all off with a toast to him. 

 

The Bridesmaids’ Speech

If you have lots of bridesmaids, you might want to ask your maid of honour to do a short speech on everyone’s behalf. Or a neat way to break it up is for each of the bridesmaids to tell a short story about the time of life when you first became friends. 

Here are a few other things for the bridesmaids to include:

  • Introduce yourself and how you know the couple. 

  • Unless you know the groom just as well, this speech is mainly about the Bride. So if she’s okay with it, tell an embarrassing story that her new husband might be amused by. But keep it safe for gran to hear! 

  • Mention the moment the bride met her husband to be, how did she react when she first met him and what were your first impressions? 

  • Finish off with how happy he has made her so far and make a toast to the happy couple. 

 

The Best Man’s Speech

Some might say that this speech is the main event and that’s because usually the best man’s speech is full of riotous jokes made at the groom’s expense. And if your groom is happy with that, then there’s no need to break with tradition. Have fun with it and end the speeches on a high. Here are some things the best man might want to include:

  • Your focus is initially on the groom, how do you know him, how did you meet? 

  • Throw in some funny stories, but make sure it’s not a private joke or something that would hurt the bride. Ideally, the whole room should be able to enjoy your hilarious anecdote, just as much as the groom will. 

  • Give your perspective on the bride and them as a couple. Where were you when they met? How did the groom first react when he met the love of his life? How are they together now? 

  • Be sure to end on a sweet note about how great the couple are together, throw in a toast to the happy couple and tell the room to have a great time. Not that they’ll need much convincing! 

 

Some top tips for all speeches

There are a few tips that are true of all speeches, so we’ve left them until the end. Some of these are just good sense but it’s worth letting everyone know who’s making a speech to bear in mind these few things. 

  1. Keep it short. Whilst everyone loves a good speech, if there are three, four or five speeches to get through, it won’t be possible for everyone to speak for 30 minutes. Guests will be getting hungry and impatient to party. Limit each speech to around 5 to 10 minutes each. 

  2. Keep it light. A few heartfelt or romantic moments are a must, but the majority of the speech should be upbeat and amusing. If you want to mention someone who wasn’t able to make it, remember them happily.

  3. Avoid long lists where possible. Rather than thanking the wedding planner, the photographer, the florist etc- simply say ‘all the team that made today possible’ they’ll know who you mean. Likewise, no need to mention all the bridesmaids and groomsmen by name, you’ll have plenty of chance to thank them properly, in person after the speeches. 

  4. Keep it family friendly. No one wants to hear about what the bride got up to on a girls holiday 15 years ago and any ex girlfriends or boyfriends should be kept firmly out of jokes. This day is about the bride and groom, so make sure that jokes are appropriate and if you’re not sure, test them out beforehand. 

  5. Have fun! If you’re having fun, the room will have fun with you. Remember that all of your guests want you to succeed and are there to celebrate you and your day. If you forget your words, or make a mistake, make a joke of it. These things only add to the fun. 

 

If you have questions about the running order of your day or would like to chat to our wedding planner about having your wedding at our charming farmhouse wedding venue, get in touch. We’d love to hear all about what you have planned for your big day. 

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