A Guide to Wedding Speeches

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

Wedding speeches captured at Cain Manor in Surrey

The majority of wedding celebrations have time in the day dedicated for formal wedding speeches to take place. Whether you like public speaking or not, there isn't really an option not to make a speech on the big day, for more reasons than one. As a couple, you can decide how and when you want this part of the day to happen - and providing the team at your wedding venue are fully aware of the timings, there shouldn't be an issue regardless of when and how your wedding speeches are carried out. Below, we share everything you need to know about planning and delivering wedding speeches.

Why are Wedding Speeches Important?

A round of entertaining wedding speeches can go a long way to make a wedding 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. You probably won't ever have everyone you love in life, in the same room at the same time, ever again. 

Speeches are also a time to thank those closest to you for helping with the colour schemes, decorations, and not shying at those possible bridezillas moments there may have been along the journey (Grooms this applies to you too!). It’s a place to address those bridesmaids, groomsmen and flower girls or page boys by presenting them a small token of your gratitude letting them know that they are appreciated for the years of friendship and support they have given 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 all the days, months and years you’ll spend together.

Who Should Make a Speech at a Wedding and When?

The easiest and most effective time to host speeches is either just before or after your sit-down meal when everyone is in one space and their full undivided attention can be on the most important people, you two. Whilst most people will tend to stick to this, there are no hard and fast rules as to what you should do as the day is bespoke to you and any wedding venue will understand the day should be unique. 

Alternative Timings to Wedding Speech 

  • Having speeches before the meal so that speakers get to enjoy eating
  • Broken up through the meal so that guests don’t have one long slug of listening
  • Brides Mum wants to say a few words
  • Bride wants to be heard too.
  • Other guests (American-style) stand up to make their contribution
  • Scandinavian guests bring presents and personally give them to the couple at this juncture

It’s always important to remember that regardless of whether it’s “tradition” or not, your wedding day is exactly what everybody knows – that its YOUR DAY.

There is a rough outline of what order these speeches should take place, but this is a complete guideline by no means do you have to stick to this

1.    Father of the bride or groom – To give thanks to everyone who made it on your special day and to wish you well on any future endeavours 
2.    Groom – To thank the father of his other half and to the gorgeous bridesmaids and dapper groomsmen. And not to forget but for him to make everybody coo at how he talks about you.
3.    Best man – The joker, the man who brings the laughter to the table and helps transition the wedding from three-course dining to a buzzing party.

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 giggles.

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!

Here at Bijou Wedding Venues we usually allow for at least 10 minutes per speech. Don’t panic this sounds like a lot of time but once everyone gets into the swing of public speaking, you’ll be surprised at how much they have to say about you and your other half. 

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

Quick-Guide for Individual Wedding Speeches

Father of the Bride

  • Thanks the guests for coming
  • Says a few heartwarming words about his daughter and welcomes the groom into the family
  • Proposes a toast to the happy couple

The Groom

  • Thanks the father of the Bride 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 wife (toast to the bride)
  • Proposes a toast to the ‘beautiful bridesmaids’ and thanks groomsmen etc. Gives out any thank you bouquets or presents.

The Best Man (or woman)

  • Responds on behalf of the Bridesmaids
  • Says a few words about the Groom (not always the most flattering)
  • Congratulate and toast the happy couple on behalf of everyone
  • Announces what happens next.

5 Ways to Ace your Wedding Speech

  1. 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 
  2. ​Get personal. Speeches are a perfect time to tug on those heart strings, use small anecdotes to let people know you really care and listen. If you write about a time that has touched you, you are sure to talk with passion.
  3. Look up! This sounds like a given but you would be surprised. Eye contact is key for any public speeches, this allows you and your guests to have a connection and will, in turn, make you both remember that moment.
  4. Stay off the booze…. a little. Who wants to be listening to someone slurring their words, nobody. Making sure you are cool calm and collected is a guaranteed way to grab people’s attention.
  5. 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 you love, memories and jokes with your family and friends in one space.