The structure and etiquette of wedding speeches

In this article we offer help with structuring a wedding speech and the required etiquette . We also explore the traditional order that is followed as well as a link to our other example wedding speech pages on the site.

We hope you find these few hints useful for your planning and delivery.

The Father of the Bride

In keeping with tradition, it usually falls to the father of the bride to kick off the speeches.

The father of the bride’s speech should be primarily about his daughter. Times they have shared, memories, when she was younger and how he feels about giving her away. The easiest way to write this speech is to say it from the heart. If you say how you feel you cannot go wrong with this speech.

Key points to include in your speech:

  • You welcome everyone to the wedding and the groom’s parents into the family
  • Say how beautiful the bride looks (you then have the chance to recount a story about when she was younger)
  • Welcome the groom into the family
  • Offer some advice or words of wisdom about married life (often a good place to tell a joke or two)
  • Thank anyone who has made the wedding special (caterers, vicar, etc.)
  • Propose a toast to the bride and groom
  • If you do not have a master of ceremonies you will then need to introduce the groom to speak.

Click on the highlighted text to see some example Father of the Bride speeches

The Groom

The groom’s main objectives in his speech are to talk about the bride and her family.  Start by welcoming everyone groom-100into the family, and it’s often good to make a point of praising people who have come out of their way to be present.  Continue by saying how excited you are to join them and how you love their daughter.  This should be an easy thing to do, all you have to say is that she is the love of your life; you could even say how you met. Keep it real and to the point and you will have a winner every time. Always compliment the bride’s mother, it’s an all round winner. Nothing too heavy, though. Just a simple ‘you look amazing, and thank you for everything’ is all you need to say.

Key points to include in your speech:

  • You thank the bride’s parents for raising such a nice daughter (historically this was to thank them for giving you her hand in marriage)
  • You give some thanks to people who have made the wedding or reception special
  • You say some nice words about the bride
  • You propose a toast to the bridesmaids
  • You also thank the best man for coming and you have the option to say a few brief words about him
  • If you do not have a master of ceremonies you then introduce the best man to speak.

Click on the highlighted text to see some example Groom’s Speeches

The Best Man

best-man-100The best man’s speech should be light hearted and funny. It is the high point of the speeches and often a much-anticipated part of the wedding, so no pressure!

Make sure that you compliment the bride and the bridesmaids. You must also welcome and introduce the parents of the bride and the groom.

After this you should tell a funny story about the groom. Note: do not mention anything hurtful towards the bride or anything she does not know about!!

We would recommend always telling a story that actually happened, they are often funnier and more convincing.

Key points to include in your speech:

  • You start by thanking the groom for asking you to be his best man
  • You tell a few funny stories about the groom
  • If you know the bride, you may be able to tell a few anecdotes about the bride (be extra careful about this)
  • You have the option to read out a couple of cards from people who were not able to attend (be brief on this as it can be a bit boring for the audience)
  • If you like you could propose a final toast to the bride and groom – wishing them happiness in their life together
  • If there is no master of ceremonies you will need to introduce the next speech or cutting of the cake or thank the audience and invite them to carry on with enjoying themselves.

Click on the highlighted text to see some example Best Man Speeches

The above speeches are in the normal order for a wedding. They are the main speeches of any wedding. However, in the last few years and thanks to Americanised television it is now popular for the chief bridesmaid and the bride herself to say a speech. If you are interested in these the layouts are below.

The Bride

bride-100There is no traditional formal structure to a bride’s speech – mainly as in the Victorian past it was only men who were expected to speak. However, as a guide we would recommend the following structure.

The bride mainly thanks people for coming and gives gifts to the bridesmaids, people who helped and flowers to both parents.  She has no need to say a massive speech as this has been done for her.  Just a simple thank you is all you have to do. If you do want to say a few more words we recommend just saying how happy you are and how happy you have been since you met your husband.

Key points to include in your speech:

  • Thank everyone for coming
  • Highlight any people who would like to have come, but were unable to come due to poor health
  • Possibly tell the story of how you met the groom (if appropriate)
  • Tell an amusing story
  • Any special words that you would like to say
  • Since there is no formal structure, you should make sure that you have told the master of ceremonies where you would like to be featured.

Click on the highlighted text to see a sample Bride’s Speech

The Chief Bridesmaid (Maid of Honour)

bridesmaid-2-100This is also a very simple speech. The aim of this speech is just to say a little bit about the bride and how beautiful she looks. Look at it as a female version of the best man’s speech that doesn’t need to be funny. Start by thanking the bride for giving you the honour of being chief bridesmaid, followed by a short story about her and finishing by saying how happy you are for her that she has found someone to spend her life with. It really is as simple as that!

Here is a sample Maid of Honour speech for you

Also we have a page on Cheap Wedding Ideas


Published On: 15th Jul 2012

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  1. joooo voll coooooooool

    me 15 Dec at 12:55 pm
  2. Father of the bride speech, but unfortunately both parents of the groom have passed away, I would like to mention them in the speech

    Rehab 24 Dec at 1:12 am
  3. Apparently the family of the groom is not normally acknowledged or thanked in any way at the wedding? We just spent a fortune, hosted a perfect rehearsal dinner and flew 2000 miles to be at our grandsons wedding. We were so hurt and crushed when we were not mentioned in any way by either the bride or the groom. They never thanked us at the rehearsal dinner either, although the best man did. It was all about the bride’s family. I guess this is normal, but I certainly find it lacking in.even.basic manners. And it hurt like I can’t begin to describe.

    S. Rollins 30 Aug at 9:58 pm