Wedding Speeches – who speaks and in what order

by | 12 May

May heralds the start of the wedding season, although 2022 has seen it begin slightly earlier.  Up and down the country plans and preparations are well under way and the subject of speeches included in those plans.  It can of course be very nerve wracking for those getting up on their feet.  I always say to any nervous grooms, “don’t worry everyone will be on your side”.

Who traditionally speaks and are we breaking those traditions?

Traditionally there are three speeches given in a set order as follow:

  • Father of the bride
  • Groom
  • Best Man

The first speech given by the father of the bride welcomes and thanks all the guests for coming to the wedding.  He will thank those involved in organising and contributing to the wedding.  He will also tell a few affectional tales about his daughter, and give a brief resume of her achievements to date.  He will welcome the groom to the family and finish off by a toast to the ‘bride and groom.’  It is a very proud but also an emotional moment for the father of the bride.

Next on is the groom who thanks his new father-in-law for his speech and toast on behalf of himself and his new wife, or the new Mrs. …..  He will thank the bride’s parents if they have hosted the wedding, although it is not uncommon for the bride and groom to pay for most of the wedding now.  He will also thank his parents for bringing him up (a nod to the groom’s parents who often play a lesser role).  He will then talk lovingly about his new wife before ending the speech by giving a toast to the bridesmaids.

Last but not least, the Best Man gets to his feet for his speech.  This could be when the groom gets a bit nervous just in case there are any embarrassing stories.  He will start off by responding and thank the groom for his toast to the bridesmaids.  He will then recount a few stories about the groom.  These should be light hearted and funny and not risqué and embarrassing.  He will also talk a bit about the new couple and will finish his speech by proposing a toast to the new ‘bride and groom’.

It is not uncommon now for a bride to say a few words.  I feel that although it is breaking away from tradition, if a bride wishes to speak, then she should be able to give a speech, or sometimes a friend of the brides who is not a bridesmaid.  After all new traditions are made.

When are the speeches made?

Traditionally the speeches are made at the end of the wedding breakfast and all the guests are given a glass of champagne for the toasts. It is becoming more popular to space them out, rather than having them all in one go.  Quite often the father of the bride will make his speech right at the start of the wedding breakfast, saving the groom and best man’s speech for either before or after dessert.

Top Tips for a nervous speaker

  • Ask to speak before the wedding breakfast starts, as you will not have to sit through the whole meal getting more and more nervous.
  • Practise by yourself in front of a mirror and then a small group
  • Speak slowly and at your own pace.  If you slow down you breath properly and are in control of the situation.
  • Do look at your audience and smile.
  • Don’t drink too much before you speak
  • Keep the speech, short and sweet

Wishing you all the best


Photograph: Suzy Elizabeth Photography