Wedding speeches are such a fun part of the reception festivities. Whether you are getting married yourself, giving the speech or just a regular guest, the speeches can be very enjoyable, enlightening, sentimental or just plain funny.
Depending on your role in the wedding, there are different basic requirements or at least general expectations of what should be said or covered by whom during the speeches. Traditionally, there used to be a few less speeches and now more and more people are being asked to make them. While they are enjoyable, some tend to go on too long for the guests, even though the wedding couple may be having a great time, remember to be courteous to your guests. Don't forget, once the speeches are done, the dancing and partying begins.
There is no preset order that the speeches have to go in, but some thought towards order should be considered. A balanced option is to alternate sides of the family. Make sure that all your speakers and your emcee are all aware of the order they are going to say their speeches to help minimize the confusion and keep everything running smoothly.
If any of the speeches are planning to use multimedia, with projectors and music, make sure to set up and test all the stuff beforehand.
Parents of bride (Traditional)
This speech can be done by just the bride's father or both of her parents and is typically the most sentimental speech of the evening. The parents of the bride should usually thank all the guests for coming and sharing in this beautiful day. They can feel free to express their thoughts on the day so far, their thoughts on the marriage official, the food, the servers and all others that have help make the wedding such a beautiful day.
The next part of the speech is what is going to come naturally to a proud, happy father or mother. Speaking complimentary to how beautiful the bride looks and of course of other fond memories of her growing up. This is typically where things get very sentimental and some tears might even be shed.
At this point in time be sure to compliment the groom and welcome him into your family. Then you can offer any words of wisdom to the newlyweds. This can be done through any means that is close and true to your heart.
The conclusion of this speech should include the toasting of the newlywed couple.
Parents of groom (Optional)
This is a speech that is a new addition to the speech roster and is totally up to the bride and groom whether or not to include it. If the decision to have the parents of the groom make a speech they should start by acknowledging the speech preceding their own. They can also be sure to thank all the guests for coming to share in this special day.
Like the parents of the bride, they should be sure to express their views on the day so far. This is also when speaking to the happiness of uniting two families together would be appropriate. Continuing down the same line off complimenting the new family member it is at this time that making praise and compliment their wonderful new daughter-in-law.
Now is the groom's side of the families turn to share their love and joy of their son. Including congratulating him on his new, beautiful bride, some fond memories of his childhood or any other happy stories. This might also be a time where a few tears are shed.
Like the bride's parents, it is at this time that words of wisdom can be passed along through any anecdotes, stories or quotes. Then a toast is made to the new couple.
Groom speech (Traditional)
The groom typically introduces everyone in the wedding party and can tell a little story of the relation and why they were asked to be apart of the wedding party. Be sure to remember to thank them all for their contributions and efforts in making today possible.
At this time if the bride's parents welcomed him into their family the groom should be sure to thank them and show his happiness for now being part of their family too. The groom can share his thoughts towards the new half of his family and for approving of their daughter's selection in a husband.
After that, the groom should continue expressing his gratitude by thanking his family. Not only for their support for the wedding, but all the support over the years and the years to come. It is always nice for parents to hear this type of public admiration from their sons and will also likely prove to be a sentimental crowd pleaser.
The groom with or without his new bride should also be sure to thank all your guests for coming and also make sure to focus on calling out your out of town guests.
The groom should always make sure to toast the bridesmaids. When you do toast the bridesmaids, be sure to mention how great they look today too and remember to actually raise your glass for the toast.
Bride speech (Optional)
Typically the groom handled this in the past. But it is growing in popularity for the bride to join the groom during the thanking of all the guests. The bride's speech would often cover a lot of what the groom's did. Including thanking being welcomed into a new family, thanking her parents, the wedding party and all the other friends and family who helped make today possible.
The bride can also join the groom during the end of his speech when he is thanking all the guests.
Maid of Honor or Groomsman/Bridesmaids/Brothers/Sisters (Optional)
These are others of the newly added speeches to the reception repertoire. Due to be being a relatively recent addition, there are not really any typical expectations surrounding this speech. Pretty much all other speakers have already thanked everyone, so see if you can maybe put a slight twist on this and thank some others that might not have been thanked yet. Maybe those who helped with more behind the scenes stuff, such as helping with decorations, and people who helped with picking up things like cakes, flowers or anything else.
At this time the maid of honor can choose to poke a little fun at the bride, by telling stories or other memorable events. These stories, like the best man's, should remember to keep it family safe. Once the joking has been made it is time for the open, honest, sentimental words. Sharing your fond memories and any adventures you have taken together that helped bond your friendship.
Don't forget to say some kind words about the groom too. Let him know that you think the bride has made a wise selection and can do this through a cute anecdote or story.
Many people, especially brothers and sisters, nowadays are opting to present a slideshow of pictures from the bride or groom at all stages of life from a baby, a young child up until they met their life partner. This can be very touching for everyone and is also a great way to mix up the speeches. Everyone likes to see cute pictures of kids and other funny photographs that have happened over the years.
Remember to end your speech with a toast to the bride and groom.
Best man (Traditional)
Traditionally, this is the last speech of the evening and is expected to be the most entertaining and humorous speech. Often including some embarrassing and or funny stories, but remember that the speech needs to be family friendly, so all those knocks you want to make at your buddy, be sure to make it subtle or still classy, people of all ages will be in attendance and do not necessarily want to hear crazy college or other inappropriate stories.
The best man can acknowledge the groom's kind words towards him and the others in the wedding party. He can then get into his compliments on how great the bride looks and how lucky the groom is to have found her as well his thoughts on the success of the day.
At this time, the best man can get into the part of the speech where he can tease, expose and embarrass the groom. Be sure to not give away too much information that does not need to be said just to get a laugh though. The best man's speech does not need to be all jokes, and should be sure to offer kind stories that show what a standup, honorable man the groom is. It is also very kind of the best man to show his gratitude and share his kind thoughts towards the bride.
At the end of the speech he can offer what is likely the final toast of the evening towards the newlyweds.
Length of speech
When you are asking your friends and family to make a speech at your wedding reception, be sure to specify how long you would like them to speak for. If you have been asked to make a speech and you are unsure of how long you need to speak for and what your expectations are, don't be afraid to ask the wedding couple how long you should speak for.
- be open and honest – speak from the heart, be sincere and don't be afraid to express your gratitude
- keep it relevant – make sure to keep the focus on the bride and the groom
- keep it clean – remember friends and family of all ages are there
- be balanced – try not to focus on just person or side of the family
- relationship advise – any words to wisdom to pass along to the newlyweds will be much appreciated
- cheers – feel free to say a toast to the bride and groom too, or to anyone else at the wedding ceremony festivities
- be complimentary – it is really nice to say how great everyone looks, what a fun/exciting day it has been so far
If you are asked to make a speech and don't want too, you do not have too. The bride and groom might be a little insulted of disappointed but will probably understand and get over it. You should remember though, that it is all close friends and family, so they will not judge you. See if you can maybe practice public speaking or attend toastmasters or something to get more comfortable with public speaking. Another option is to see if you can be joined at the microphone/podium with your spouse or another member of the wedding party.
Typically the Best Man has handled the role of emcee to move along the wedding reception, calling out person to say grace if you are doing that, notifying everyone of what to do to get the newlyweds to kiss and calls upon everyone to make their speeches. It is growing more popular to ask another friend to take on this role in order to get more close friends directly involved in the wedding. Plus some people are just great at that sort of thing who may not have been your ideal best man.
Things to keep in mind
If you need to do some translations, either other languages or for the hearing impaired it is best to go over your speech beforehand with the translators, so they have a better idea of what they are going to need to say.
Don't force people to make a speech, but offer them the chance too, some people get nervous and really do not like public speaking.
For those of you making a speech, don't drink too much to make you less nervous or funnier, as it will certainly not help. And remember, take your time and enjoy yourself when making your speech.