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A Guide to Wedding Speeches

Planning ideas, timings and tips on how to make and present the best wedding speech on the big day

Weddings traditionally have a time, usually during or after the wedding breakfast, dedicated to speeches congratulating the couple and reminiscing on memories together. Whilst they are not a part of everyone’s celebrations, they certainly do add an element of entertainment to the day. If speeches are a must for your big day, we’re sharing everything you need to know about planning and delivering the perfect wedding speech!

Why are wedding speeches important?

A round of entertaining speeches can go a long way to make a reception more personal to you and your loved ones. It’s a point of reflection of your time together through the eyes of you and your nearest and dearest and what memories have stuck with them through the years. Speeches can be sentimental, nostalgic and sure to make your guests roar with laughter. They are also the perfect time to thank everyone for being with you, and to guests who may have travelled from around the world to celebrate your special day.

It’s also a time to recognise the work people have put into making your big day happen. A place to address the bridesmaids, groomsmen, parents, flower girls and page boys to let them know that they are appreciated not only for their wedding planning help but for the years of support, love and guidance they have given to you both.

Wedding speeches can be a way for your friends and family to wish you and your other half good health, luck and happiness for your future together as a couple. It’s a rare opportunity to have all your loved ones together in one room, and they’re all there to celebrate you.

When should the wedding speeches happen?

The easiest and most effective time to host speeches is usually after your sit-down meal when everyone is in one space, and they can give their full undivided attention to the speaker. Whilst most people will tend to stick to this, there are no hard and fast rules as to how you should do this. The day is all yours and your wedding venue will understand that every wedding is unique. Here are a few alternative timings to have your speeches:

  • Before the meal so that speakers get to enjoy eating
  • Broken up throughout the meal
  • In the evening when the party is in full swing
  • Throughout the day, e.g at the ceremony, drinks reception, sit-down meal etc…

It’s always important to remember that tradition is not for everyone, some like to have a more classic wedding style however breaking convention and making your own rules is more suited to a lot of couples.

Who gives the wedding speeches?

Below is a list of people who traditionally give a speech and the general running order. This is just a guideline and by no means do you have to stick to this:

  1. Father of the bride or groom
  2. Groom
  3. Best man

Some alternative people to give speeches are the bride, the mother of the bride, maid of honour, mother of the groom and a sibling. It’s completely down to you who takes the microphone on your big day.

How long should individual wedding speeches last?

There is no set time on how long the speeches should be, because you know if your father is a talker and one to go on a tangent or if your best man is one to crack all the jokes which keeps your guests in fits of laughter.

Your wedding venue will just ask that you overcompensate when considering timings as this leaves room for any extra surprises they may not have let you in on!

Typically, and from our experience, speeches tend to follow the below time frame:
Father of the Bride – 5 minutes
Groom – 5-10 minutes
Best Man – 10-15 minutes

A quick guide for individual wedding speeches

Father of the bride/groom:

  • Opens the speeches and thanks the guests for coming
  • Says a few heart-warming words about his daughter/son and welcomes the groom/bride into the family
  • Proposes a toast to the happy couple

The groom:

  • Thanks his other half’s father for his speech (and the parents for the wedding if appropriate) and the toast
  • Explains how happy he is to be married to his beautiful new partner (toast to the partner)
  • Proposes a toast to the bridesmaids and thanks groomsmen etc. Gives out any thank you bouquets or presents

The best man/woman:

  • Says a few words about the Groom (not always the most flattering)
  • Talk about the couple and memories they have shared
  • Congratulate and toast the happy couple on behalf of everyone
  • Announces what happens next

4 top tips on how to ace your wedding speech

You can't prepare too much

The last thing anybody wants is for you to get on stage and forget what you’re saying, there’s no shame in having cue cards and prompts, it will keep you confident and the rest will come naturally.

Get personal

Speeches are a perfect time to tug on those heartstrings, use small anecdotes to let people know you really care and listen. If you write about a time that has meaning to you, you are sure to talk with passion.

Look up!

This sounds like a given but you would be surprised. Eye contact is key for any public speech, this allows you and your guests to have a connection and will, in turn, make you both remember that moment.

Enjoy it!

This part is obvious, everyone has come to see you happy so give them what the people want. This could be considered the best part of a wedding, when else do you get to share all of your love, memories, and jokes with your family and friends in one space?

botleys speech
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