I’m often asked by clients whether it’s OK to mess with, or change up, the traditional line up for wedding speeches.

Well as far as I am concerned, absolutely if that is what you want.

Let’s look at that…

Traditionally there are three wedding speeches, delivered in a specific order, covering certain core subjects.

Father of The Bride

This can be a Brother, Stepfather, Godfather or other if preferred.

Traditionally he speaks first and his role is to thank guests for coming, thank anyone who’s paid towards the wedding and give a few anecdotes about the Bride, his daughter.

He finishes by toasting the Bride and Groom.

Who's making a speech at your wedding?

The Groom

Next up is the Groom who thanks the Father of the Bride on behalf of the couple. He thanks guests for attending, the Bride’s parents if they are hosting and his parents for bringing him up.

He thanks his Best Man for his support and says some words about his new wife.

He finishes by toasting the bridesmaids.

The Best Man

Classically anticipated as the high point of the speeches and expected to be funny, the Best Man’s speech is predicted to entertain.

He begins by responding to the Groom’s toast on behalf of the bridesmaids.

His traditional role includes reading out messages from absent friends – historically telegrams but these days probably emails.

Anecdotes and a bit of joking at the Groom’s expense is par for the course.

A little about how the couple met and their time together is also an integral part of the speech.

He traditionally finishes toasting “Mr & Mrs X’.

Who's making a speech at your wedding?

Other people making speeches

These days however we are not living in an age where the women cannot speak – hurrah! – so it’s not remotely unusual to have the Bride and possibly the Chief Bridesmaid speak.

The Groom’s parents also sometimes like to say something.

Others will choose to adopt the American approach of having a microphone which any guest may approach during the meal to make a very short tribute.

So frankly, it is entirely acceptable to do whatever you feel comfortable with.

Timings of speeches

Speeches always used to take place at the end of the wedding breakfast, however today many prefer to do them as guests sit down to dinner, before the starter is served.

Either can work but think carefully about who is speaking and whether speaking earlier (ie getting it done) would work better.

Some couples split the speeches up and have one between each course. This is entirely your prerogative, however as a planner I know just how difficult this makes the job of the caterer. You don’t want an overly verbose Best Man to ruin dessert, for example.

So who’s making a speech at your wedding? And when in the proceedings do you plan to have them?

Image Credits: Max Burnett at The Studio M

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