Traditional wedding speeches tend to follow a set order and the content of each speech is largely predetermined.
Toast to the Bride and Groom.
This speech is usually given by the bride's father or a close family friend. This speech sets the tone for the other speeches and is the main opportunity for someone to say a few words about the bride. (The best man usually says a few words about the groom). Ideally this speech should be warm and affectionate in tone. This speech would normally include:-
- A welcome to the assembled guests and special mention of anyone who has travelled a great distance to be there.
- Comments about the happiness the bride has created over her life. This could be a brief story about something amusing she did when she was little. The point of the story is to illustrate an adorable characteristic of the bride and not to embarrass her on her wedding day!
- A welcome to his new son-in-law and his parents on becoming part of the family - usually expressed in terms of how lucky the bride is to have found the perfect groom and vice versa.
- An expression of confidence in the bride and groom's future together as man and wife. This is often in the form of a quotation or saying about marriage and, if possible, should be humorous.
- Wishing the couple well for their future together.
- The toast to the health and happiness of the bride and groom.
The Groom's Speech.
Traditionally the groom replies on behalf of the bride and groom and the main point of his speech is to say "thank you" to everyone who has helped make the wedding day so perfect:-
- Thank you to the first speaker for his kind words, best wishes and for the toast.
- Thank you to the bride's parents for producing such a beautiful daughter and for bringing her up so well.
- Thank you to his parents for their love, kindness and support in bringing him up.
- Thank you to the bride for agreeing to marry him - maybe followed by an amusing story about something that happened when they were dating.
- A declaration of his love for the bride and a promise to do all he can to ensure her future happiness.
- Thank you to anyone who had done something special for the wedding, for example Aunty Betty for making the wedding cake.
- Thank you to the guests for attending and for all the presents they have given the happy couple.
- Thank you to the best man and the ushers for their help - and perhaps a pre-emptive comment about the best man before he says some very amusing things about the groom.
- Thank you to the bridesmaids for assisting the bride and a comment on how beautiful they look.
- The toast to the bridesmaids.
The Best Man's Speech
The best man replies on behalf of the bridesmaids, and many people regard this speech as the highlight of all the speeches. The best man has the opportunity to tell some funny stories about the groom. A typical best mans speech will include:-
- Athank you to the groom for the kind comments he made about the bridesmaids.
- A story about the difficulty of being the best man and getting the groom to the ceremony on time.
- An amusing story about the groom and his past - provided this does not refer to past girlfriends, the honeymoon, or other dangerous topics.
- His personal congratulations to the groom on his choice of bride and best wishes for the couples future happiness.
The best man concludes his speech by reading emails, faxes or other messages of good luck. This does not mean reading out every card - just the important ones from people overseas or unable to attend the wedding.
If the longer format of speeches is used, then the speeches might continue with:-
The toast to the parents of the bride
Any friend of the family could propose this toast and it may include compliments on the bride and a short story about the parents.
Response by the father of the bride
Either the father or someone on his behalf could then respond by thanking the proposer, commenting on his daughter and new son, and wishing the couple future happiness.
Toast to the parents of the groom
This may include a thank you to the previous speaker, and a story about the groom's parents.
Response by the parents of the groom
The father of the groom or someone on his behalf may thank the previous speaker, comment about their son and new daughter, and make a wish for the couple's future together.
Finally the Master of Ceremonies winds up the speeches by thanking all those who made a special contribution to the wedding.