Wedding speeches

Groom, best man, father of the bride and even the bride? Here's the low-down on what you should be saying, and when, at your reception.

The traditional time for wedding speeches is after the meal has been served. Although these days more and more couples are having the speeches before sitting down to eat - it's a nerve-wracking business and getting them out of the way appeals to many couples.

The traditional order for your wedding speeches starts with the father of the bride who thanks all the guests for coming. He then normally says a few words about his daughter, with an anecdote from her childhood, before proposing a toast to the happy couple. After he has sat down it's the groom's turn.

The groom's speech

  • To thank the father of the bride for his speech and his toast
  • Say something about how happy he is today and something about his fantastic new wife
  • Give out thank-you gifts to the best man and ushers, as well as the bridesmaids, the mothers of the bride and groom and anyone else who may have helped out
  • Finish by toasting the bridesmaids

The bride's speech

It's not unusual for the bride to want to say a few words, after all, it's her wedding too. There's no set format for when and how she does this. Most commonly the bride and groom will stand up together and give a joint speech so she can share in thanking all the attendants etc. Alternatively, she may want to follow her father's speech so she can thank him for all his kind words.

Occasionally the chief bridesmaid will also stand up to say a few words. This can be fitted into the order wherever it seems the most appropriate. The best man's is always the most anticipated speech so it's generally saved until last, with perhaps the chief bridesmaid speaking just before him.

The best man's speech

The job of giving the final - and hopefully most memorable - speech goes to the best man. His role is to thank the groom for his toast to the bridesmaids, on their behalf, and also offer thanks from any other attendants. After that he's expected to launch into a humorous speech about the groom but finding a tone that will appeal to both your lewdest mates and your grandma, plus he has to manage not to offend anyone whilst still being entertaining. Finally he has to say something nice about the groom before proposing a toast to the happy couple - it's a tall order.

Top Tips

We asked Chris Tait, managing director of for his top tips on how to deliver the perfect wedding speech:

  • Try to say everything you need to say in less than 1000 words or seven minutes worth of speech.
  • Don't include more than one anecdote or reminiscence.
  • The speech should be sincere, but it should also be entertaining and contain a liberal number of humorous remarks.
  • Consign the opening line and the next two lines of your speech to memory. Then, if necessary, read the rest word for word, but try to raise your head and speak to the audience as much as you can.
  • Speak loudly and slowly, and use pauses between sections of your speech.


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