The exact timing of wedding speeches can vary depending on custom and religion, but the normal time for the speeches is towards the end of the meal. This often means after the dessert has been served but before the bridal waltz. The cutting of the wedding cake can occur either before or after the speeches, although it is more common to occur afterwards.
There is a traditional order for speeches at a wedding - but it is important to remember that it is your wedding so the format is really up to you. It is useful to consider the traditional format so that you can decide which elements you wish to include and which you would like to vary.
The short version of the traditional order of speeches
- The toast to the bride and groom - given by the bride's father or a close family friend.
- The bridegroom's reply on behalf of his wife and himself. He then proposes a toast to the bridesmaids.
- The best man's speech on behalf of the bridesmaids. He then reads any emails or messages.
The longer version of the traditional order of speeches
- Welcome by the Master of Ceremonies.
- Introduction of the person proposing a toast to the bride and groom.
- Response from the groom and a toast to the bridesmaids.
- Response by the best man.
- Toast to the parents of the bride.
- Response by the father of the bride.
- Toast to the parents of the groom.
- Response by the father of the groom.
- Reading of important messages.
- Any other comments by those who wish to be acknowledged.
- M.C. thanks the musicians, caterers and any others.
You don't have to stick to this format. If anyone is very shy, why spoil the happy day by torturing them? There is no reason whatsoever why the girls can't have their say! If the bride wishes to speak, she may want to do so after the groom. She can toast the groomsmen as well as the bridesmaids and then the chief bridesmaid, or the Best Man could respond. A lot depends on who is good at making speeches. As long as the people who count are thanked, and someone wishes the happy couple well, speeches are simply a tool for livening up the party atmosphere, and making sure the room is filled with joy and laughter.