Wedding Speech Etiquette
We're not always 'play by the rules' kind of people, in fact, we'd go as far as to say that there really shouldn't be any rules for your wedding day! It really is your celebration to do what you like with, regardless of convention! If, however, you're looking for a few guidelines on what to include in the various traditional wedding speeches, here's a brief round-up!
Speeches are traditionally made following the 'wedding breakfast' (not actually breakfast - the name hails from times when the Bride and Groom would have fasted before the wedding as it would take place at Mass - though a full English at a wedding is a genius idea!) and before the cutting of the cake. The order is usually Father of the Bride, then the Groom, then the Best Man.
You want to aim for no more than 1000 words, and should take ideally around 5 minutes. If you're having more than the traditional 3 speakers (i.e adding the chief bridesmaid, or groom's parents) we recommend splitting the speeches through the courses so people aren't sitting listening to speeches for over half an hour in total. Snooze!!
The Father of the Bride
- Traditionally seen as the host, he would usually welcome all the guests to the wedding, and thank them for coming
- He often will recall a few fond memories of his daughter, and welcome the groom into the family
- He will then propose a toast of health and happiness to the Bride and Groom
- In answer to the Father of the Bride the groom will thank him on behalf of himself and his new wife, and also his own parents for their love and support in his upbringing.
- The Groom also takes this opportunity to thank guests for wedding gifts
- Any family members or friends unable to attend due to illness will often be given a mention here and wished a speedy recovery.
- The Groom will very likely want to slip in a few kind words about his Bride - usually saying how beautiful she looks!
- This is also often the time that gifts are presented to those who've helped with the wedding day, and finally, a toast is made to thank the beautiful bridesmaids.
The Best Man
- The Best Man would now answer on behalf of the bridesmaids (since women can't possibly speak for themselves!!) before beginning his, usually comic and light-hearted speech.
- The usual format for the speech entails a few anecdotes of mischief or misfortune from the Grooms past (carefully chosen!) which then culminate in him meeting the bride and changing for the better.
- Any messages of good luck from absent guests are often read by the Best Man
- Whilst it's not entirely necessary, the speech often ends with another toast to the Bride and Groom.
What to avoid...
- What happens on the stag, stays on the stag!
- Don't milk it, don't go for a laugh a second, a few strong jokes are better than 20 weak ones.
- No ex-girlfriend references, ever!
- Mind the language - there are grandparents present!
- Please, please, don't be drunk! Dutch courage is one thing,but slurring your words is not a good look.
- Beware of the bride - only truly nice things may be said about her today
- Have a little dig at the groom, but don't bury him in it, you're his best man not his arch nemesis.
- Don't improvise! You may regret it.