Wedding speeches : 1. What wedding speeches should be included at our wedding?

Part One : How should the wedding speeches be organised?

Wedding speeches usually take place at the end of the wedding breakfast, or sometimes immediately before the meal. Traditionally, each speaker is introduced by the best man, who completes the round of speeches with his own speech at the end.

Wedding speeches should be warm in tone and light-hearted. If there are several speakers lined up, it is a good policy to keep the speeches short.

Who will be expected to make a speech?

In the UK, speeches are usually made by the best man, the father of the bride and the bridegroom. The father of the bride comes first. Traditionally, he welcomes everyone to the party, giving the bridegroom’s family a particularly warm welcome. He praises the groom, embracing him as a new addition to his side of the family and ends with a toast to the future happiness of the bride and groom.

The bridegroom’s speech comes next. He thanks the ushers and the bridesmaids and proposes a toast to them. He thanks his Mum and Dad for a happy childhood and adds a few warm words about the new family he is now joining. A genuinely heartfelt expression of love for the bride, looking forward to many happy years together, completes his speech in style.

The best man is last on the list. He begins his speech by reading out messages from any friends or family who are unable to be present at the celebration. He also thanks the organisers for creating such a brilliant party. Amusing anecdotes about the bride and particularly the groom usually come next. Finally, the best man proposes a toast to the happy couple.

How long should the wedding speeches last?

If you are going to keep the attention of the guests, it is a good idea to keep each speech brief and to the point. As a rule of thumb, each speech should last approximately five minutes.

If you are one of those chosen to make a speech, write notes beforehand and try your speech out in the bedroom to the mirror. Once you have your ideas organised, make brief clear notes of the outline of the speech on small cards that can easily be popped in your pocket, in order to remind yourself of your line of thought on the day.

Should the speech be funny?

Traditionally, it is the best man that gets the jokes! Funny anecdotes from the childhood of the bride and groom often fit the bill here, providing that they are not too embarrassing for those concerned.

Making jokes is all well and good for those who are used to public speaking. If it’s really not your bag, keep to genuine warm endorsements relating to those concerned. If you speak from the heart, your speech will be a success.

What extra speeches might be added?

In these days of equality between the sexes, the bride may well wish to make a speech as well as the groom, whose father may also wish to speak, and the principal bridesmaid might also want to respond to the earlier toast, adding her own funny stories and endorsements to the occasion.

Remember that half an hour or so is well enough time for the speeches in total. If everyone on the above list wants to join in, it is really important to keep the speeches brief and succinct in order to avoid overrunning and boring your guests.

Don’t allow yourself to feel intimidated when making a wedding speech. Remember that you are talking to friends! Wedding speeches should be light-hearted and should avoid too much indulgence in sentimentality. A few warm comments will be much more welcome than a long rambling story.

Rehearse your speech beforehand, keep it short and simple, make notes of the outline on cards that can be conveniently at hand in your pocket or bag on the day in order to keep you on track, and you can’t go wrong. Your speech will be a great success.

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