Toasts and speeches are both a formality at a wedding, as well as a highlight of the day – a time when all your nearest and dearest guests comes together.
There is no set rule about when to have the speeches. To dispel nervous speakers and encourage them to enjoy the evening, some couples choose to have the speeches early on before eating. Other couples choose to follow tradition and have speeches after dessert.
The caterers should serve the speechmakers’ drinks last. This will mean the speakers are able to start their speeches knowing that all the guests are ready with fully charged champagne flutes.
Traditionally there are three speeches, delivered in a specific order:
- Father of the bride.
- The groom.
- The best man.
FATHER OF THE BRIDE:
Traditionally the father of the bride is the first to speak. This is a big moment for father and daughter, and the rest of the bride’s family.
- He thanks all the guests for coming and those involved with organising the wedding.
- He may then share some affectionate stories about the bride, before welcoming the groom into the family.
- The father of the bride's speech ends with a toast to 'the bride and groom'.
- This role can be filled by the person gave the bride away, whether it is a brother, an uncle or a godfather.
The groom's speech should share some heartfelt words about his new wife, family and the wedding day itself. Tom Fletcher from the band McFly decided to sing his wedding speech when he got married to Giovanna in May 2012. Before launching into song, he said “I don’t have any idea how to write a good speech, but I do know how to write a song, so I hope this isn’t cheating my way out of it too much.”
- The groom should first thank the father of the bride (or equivalent) on behalf of himself and his new wife for their speech.
- Next, he must thank guests for attending, the bride's parents (if they are hosting the wedding), his parents for raising him and the best man for supporting him.
- He is also responsible for thanking anyone who has helped plan the wedding.
- He also traditionally presents both mothers with bouquets.
- He then says a few loving words about his beautiful new wife.
- The groom should finish his speech with a toast to 'the bridesmaids'.
The best man's speech is usually the highlight of the proceedings, sharing a funny account of the groom and a reflection on their close friendship.
- He should begin by reading out messages from friends and relatives that couldn’t attend. These may be in the form of emails, letters or messages.
- He then tells a selection of stories about the groom.
- He is expected to light-heartedly reveal something to embarrass the groom.
- The speech should also include a few stories about the couple, how they met, their relationship and a few compliments for the bride.
- The best man's speech should be amusing rather than shocking so that it appeals to all the guests, including grandparents. Keep jokes funny, rather than rude and tasteless.
- The best man does not need to have a long speech - most successful best man speeches are short, funny and heartfelt with memorable one-liners.
- He finishes with a toast to 'Mr and Mrs [newlyweds' surname]'. He will then announce the cutting of the cake, if applicable.
- Traditions are changing, and brides are starting to add a few words themselves after the groom’s speech. The chief bridesmaid may also wish to say something to the happy couple.
- If your wedding is in a large venue, speeches should be made with a microphone that has been sound checked before guests arrive.
- The photographer should be briefed in advance when the speeches will be made, and the best man should signal when they about to begin on the day.
- An usher should notify any guests not in the vicinity of the speeches – for example, people outside smoking – that the speeches are about to take place.
- Should the bride and groom have different nationalities, it is a good idea to have a screen with a translation, to ensure that all guests feel included.
TOP 10 TIPS FOR TOASTING:
With all the above considerations taken into account, we'd like to share our top 10 tips to ensure your speeches run smoothly.
- Start writing your speech early. Take the time to write something special to show how much you care. This will also help avoid last minute pressure to get a speech written.
- Be yourself. Use your natural sense of humour, which will be received far better and gain more laughs and appreciation.
- Keep it short. Ensure everything being said is relevant to the bride and groom, whilst avoiding lengthy reminiscences which may challenge the audience’s attention span.
- Start strong. Open with who you are and how you know the bride and groom. Grandparents, in particular, will appreciate this.
- Be sincere. Think about why you are happy for the bride and groom, and what you wish for them in their life together. This will mean more to them than tried and tested lines or common quotes.
- When in doubt, leave it out. Mentioning exes is a big no-no! Also, be considerate in how much you embarrass the groom. Be kind and keep it positive.
- Speak to both the bride and groom. Even if you are the bride’s best friend and don’t know the groom that well, speak to and for them both as their wedding day is about them as a couple.
- Tell stories that everyone can relate to. Guests won’t understand or appreciate excessive inside jokes.
- Rehearse. Rehearse. Rehearse. Practice your speech on a variety of audiences, and be sure to read it out loud rather than having them read it on a piece of paper. Also, on the day, speakers are welcome to refer to brief notes, but should avoid reading their entire speech directly off the page.
- Deliver with confidence. Be sensible, and avoid too many drinks before the speeches begin, take deep breaths and remember to smile. Finish by raising your glass and asking guests to join you in wishing the bride and groom a lifetime of happiness.
Feature Image: Easy Weddings