When my husband-to-be chose his best man we had no idea of the anxiety we had inflicted upon him. It wasn’t the suit he was worried about, or losing the rings; arranging the stag do or being a witness, no what was keeping him awake night after night was the thought of writing the speech.
The poor man approached us a few days before the wedding and begged to be released from that particular Best Man duty. One look at his sleep ravaged face and anxious, pleading eyes told us that no man should be put through such an agony so to his immense relief we let him off the hook!
He certainly is not alone in spending nights awake with worry about what to put in the speech. Wedding speeches are major causes of stress and anxiety in those asked to do them. Father of the Bride, Best Man, Groom and even Chief Bridesmaid are all expected to say a few words to a room full of people about those closest to them.
Make a hash of it and you may never be forgiven, but if it goes down well then you’ll be a hero and will have the whole room eating out of the palm of your hand.
Traditionally, speeches are made after the wedding breakfast is finished and the cutting of the cake ceremony has been performed. The toastmaster will serve the drinks and the first of the nervous party will get to their feet ready to make one of the most important speeches of their lives (no pressure then!).
Here then, are a few tips about the order of the wedding speeches, who is thanked, subjects that should be touched upon and who you should traditionally propose a toast to:
The Father of the Bride Speech
- Thank those for coming to share in your daughter’s big day.
- Reminisce about her as a child, but steer clear from embarrassing tales and personal details.
- A few witty puns or amusing stories featuring both the bride and groom go down well.
- Compliment her husband.
- Propose a toast to the happy couple.
The Groom’s Speech
The Groom is next in line and usually thanks his new father in law for his kind words (assuming the father of the bride has read the above book and all has gone smoothly!).
- Thank the Best Man and the bridesmaids for their support.
- A few words about his new wife, possibly an amusing anecdote about the marriage proposal.
- A proposed toast to the bridesmaids and Best Man.
The Best Man’s Speech
Possibly the most eagerly awaited speech of them all!
- Recount how you were asked to be Best Man, about your friendship with the groom etc.
- Witty puns and jokes about the groom, but keep them appropriate, the bride doesn’t want to hear about ex-girlfriends or what you all got up to on the stag night.
- Some compliments for the bride.
- A toast to the parents of the bride and groom.
The Chief Bridesmaid’s Speech
This is a totally optional speech, it’s not tradition for the chief bridesmaid to make a speech or a toast at all, but if she wants to say a few words she can.
- Share details of your friendship with the bride and likewise as the Best Man will have done, recount a few amusing tales that won’t cause her to hold her head in her hands with embarrassment.
- Thank the bride and groom on behalf of all the bridesmaids for asking them to share their special day.
- Propose a toast to the good health of all the guests who have travelled far and wide to be there.
Keep it Short!
It is said that the best speeches are the ones that leave the audience wanting more. So keep it short and sweet. I’ll never forget one Best Man who, at my sister’s wedding, went through every single card for the bride and groom, reading each one out whilst the rest of us crawled under the tables for a nap. So even if you just thank everyone for coming, wish the happy couple luck and propose a toast – it’s much better than mumbling a nervously prepared essay.
And just one last tip – don’t be tempted to get slaughtered before your speech, it’s not big, it’s not clever and will not make you any more attractive to the bridesmaids!