Who Gives Speeches at Weddings?

Story Amour
Written by Story Amour · Posted in Speeches & Toasts Last Updated February 17, 2024 · minute read
In This Article

    No matter which way you look at it, speeches at weddings are heroic. They deliver moments of pure elation, tears of joy and truly special memories for everyone involved. They are, without doubt, one of the most important parts of your wedding day, but who gives speeches at weddings? 

    • Father of the bride
    • Groom
    • Best Man
    • Maid of Honor
    • Anyone you want

    bride and groom laughing during wedding speeche

    Who Gives Speeches at Weddings?

    Over the course of this article we will look at who traditionally gives speeches and how that’s changed in modern times. We will also look into most commonly asked questions about speeches while providing you an order of which we recommend you follow for your wedding day.

    With toasts being such a perfect opportunity for members of the party to share their thoughts on the couple and give advice and guidance for their future, it’s important to make sure that all the important people have a chance to vocalize their love and feelings. 

    Let’s get started and look at who gives speeches at a wedding.

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    What is a wedding speech?

    Before we look ahead to the people that actually give speeches, let’s define what we mean when we use the term wedding speech.

    Well, a wedding speech, or a wedding toast is a brief address given by various members of the wedding party, typically shortly after the wedding breakfast. While there are technical differences between wedding toasts and wedding speeches, the terms are traditionally interchangeable and we aren’t going to change things here. Moreover, a wedding speech often contains a wedding toast anyway. Let’s not fret about pedantics.

    Who gives speeches at weddings in what order?

    Right, so let’s actually get down to it. Who gives wedding speeches?

    As with everything wedding related, the answer is flexible. If your dad has a fear of public speaking, don’t force him into anything he doesn’t want to do. If you feel you need to waffle for 2 hours professing your love for everyone, go ahead, although I don’t think it will make it to the tips section of this article… In all seriousness, it’s your big day (yes, that old chestnut), you do as you please. 

    While the exact rules on who gives wedding speeches may vary, we have broken our order down into two sections. Who traditionally gives wedding speeches and what brides and grooms are doing in the modern age of weddings.

    Traditionally

    In times gone by, there is a specific rule to follow when it comes to who must give a wedding speech. The 3 members of the wedding party that must give a speech are the father of the bride, the groom and the best man. Let’s take a look at each of them.

    Father of the Bride

    It’s tradition for the father of the bride to start the speeches. As one of the hosts of the event, he will usually start by welcoming the guests and thanking them for attending the wedding. He will then switch his attention to the bride, his daughter. He will share his love and admiration for her while discussing memories from times gone by and how much pride he shares in being her father. Finally, he will likely move onto the groom and couple as a whole. He may offer advice and words of wisdom to them in their future lives together. 

    We absolutely love father of the bride speeches. Watching your dad get a little teary eyed just makes the heart flutter. Just make sure your photographer is ready to capture some truly emotional moments. You won’t be able to wait to get your wedding photos back!

    couple laughing during father of the bride speech

    Father of the bride speech

    Groom

    After the father of the bride speech, it’s an opportunity for the groom to reply and declare why he deserves his daughter’s hand in marriage. 

    Generally speaking, the groom will once again start by thanking the guests for coming to the wedding. He will likely then thank members of his family, his best man and his ushers. Finally it’s time to move onto the all important bride. The love of his life!

    Most grooms choose to share a story of how the couple met alongside a few anecdotes about what they have experienced in life together so far. He will then likely express his love and feelings for the bride before sharing how much he is looking forward to sharing his future life with her.

    Groom’s speeches deliver every emotion possible. From funny jokes about his best man, caring thoughts about his parents, to finally, tear jerking stories and love declarations for his new bride. Truly an opportunity for epic moments!

    Best Man

    After all the emotion of the father of the bride speech and toast from the groom, it’s time to lighten the mood. Enter the best man. 

    From crude anecdotes, to gut-wrenching funny stories about the couple. Cover your ears if you are afraid of anything a little blue. 

    Don’t worry, if you are boring, it’s not all jokes and laughter. Joking! He will likely share a few words of wisdom and wish the couple a happy life together. Finally he will raise a glass and toast to the new Mr & Mrs!

    We’ve all seen those youtube video’s of “The Best Best Man Speech Ever”, well sit back, relax, your best man is about to knock it out of the park. No pressure.

    In all seriousness, we love best man speeches, everyone laughing, smiling and enjoying the witty stories he has to tell. Honestly a picture perfect part of the wedding day. 

    groom in fancy dress laughing at best man speech

    Best Man Speech

    Modern Times

    Times have changed and you no longer have to stick to the traditional. Why should the men have all the fun? Get yourself up there and shout from the rooftops. Not for you? No worries, let your maid of honor take the helm. 

    We joke but in truth, anyone can give a wedding speech. Below is a list of what modern brides tend to go for.

    Maid of Honor

    In many ways, the maid of honor speech is very similar to the best man’s speech. It also usually becomes either before or after the best man has said his piece. 

    As with the best man speech, it’s an opportunity for the maid of honor to tell a few funny stories about the bride and the couple. She can then propose a toast to the newly married and offer her congratulations.

    The Maid of Honor speech is a fantastic addition to your speech giver list and the Story Amour team would highly recommend. 

    Both Parents

    There are two ways to look at this. If your Dad isn’t particularly keen on delivering a speech on his own, he can ask your mum to give a joint speech with him. Share the responsibility as it were. 

    However, it may be that your Mum just wants to have her own say… Prepare yourself! The mother of the bride’s speech should take part immediately after the father of the bride, or, most commonly, at the end of the traditional speeches. If it is a joint speech, simply replace the father of the bride speech at the start of the order. 

    Related Reading: When do parents stop paying for daughters’ weddings?

    Bride & Groom

    Nowadays it’s become a very common sight to see both the bride and groom giving a wedding speech together. In general life, responsibilities are becoming shared more and more, and why should your wedding speeches be any different?

    As with a groom only speech, you can still welcome your guests and thank them for coming. You can also thank your parents directly. That being said, one thing we would definitely recommend is taking the time to thank each other personally. Some of the most amazing moments of your wedding day will appear during this specific speech, doing anything to jeopardize this moment may mean you miss out. Trust it, it will be worth it in the end.

    groom toasting during wedding speech

    Bride and Groom joint speech

    Order of speeches at a wedding

    Believe it or not, there is a specific order in which you should announce the speeches. This is because traditionally, the speeches are a response to the previous speech, or have a particular reason for being in that specific order. 

    For example, the father of the bride is seen as the host of the event, therefore it’s up to him to welcome the guests. The groom’s speech usually comes after the father of the bride, an opportunity for the groom to respond and state why he is good enough to marry his daughter. Finally, the best man is there to lighten the mood. A little bit of laughter after a few emotional moments. 

    Typical Speech Order

    • 1. Father of the Bride speech
    • 1a. Mother of the bride speech (if given)
    • 2. Groom’s speech
    • 2a. Brides speech (if given)
    • 3. Best man’s speech
    • 4. Maid of honor’s speech (if given)
    • 5. All other speeches

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    FAQs about wedding speeches

    Do parents give speeches?

    Yes, traditionally the father of the bride always gives a wedding speech. In addition, it’s becoming commonplace for the mother of the bride to either join or give her own speech.

    In our opinion, provided you’ve got time, the more speeches the merrier. Just keep them short and snappy and the guests should avoid boredom.

    Who announces the speeches?

    This tends to depend on your exact wedding. Traditionally, the father of the bride will announce each speech however it’s also very commonplace to hire an emcee for your event. An emcee will usually announce the speeches and each individual speech. Be sure to discuss with them before the event. Finally, the wedding venue itself will usually assign an on-the-day coordinator and, more often than not, they will have a role in announcing the speeches based on the schedule and timeline of the day. 

    Worth A Read: Duties of a wedding coordinator

    How to ask someone to give a speech at your wedding

    Most people will know their responsibility when it comes to giving speeches, if not, have they been living under a rock? That being said, we alway recommend just checking with them to make sure they are aware they have to give a speech.

    Below we have put together a list of tips on how to ask someone to give a speech.

    • Ask in advance –  Make sure you ask in advance and give plenty of time for them to prepare their speech
    • Provide an incentive – One nice touch, especially if asking outside of the traditional group of speech givers, is to send a bottle and card requesting their speech. Think something along the lines of “We hope you will give a toast at our wedding, here is a little bottle of something to get you through it.
    • Give advice – If perhaps you are having quite a few speeches, or stuck to a strict schedule, offering advice on how long the speech should be, will help remove any possibility of long delays. 
    • Prepare for rejection – Public speaking is a bit of a nerve wracking experience for even the most confident of people. With that in mind, you should always offer the person a get out clause. If they really don’t want to give a speech, they shouldnt be made to. 

    Who gives speeches at a rehearsal dinner?

    Should there be speeches at the rehearsal dinner? Who should give them? Well, much like the wedding day itself, the people giving speeches should be quite similar with a few additions. Although they should be much more watered down than the main wedding speech. 

    The speech givers should welcome the guests, thank them coming, and state how much they are looking forward to the actual wedding day.

    Below is a list of suggested rehearsal dinner speeches.

    The Grooms Family

    The rehearsal dinner is traditionally hosted by the groom’s family, rather than the bride’s family. As a result, any speeches given should include the father of the bride, or the groom’s family. 

    While the speech itself should be shorter and more informal than the father of the bride speech, it’s still seen as an opportunity to welcome the guests, congratulate the couple and offer words of advice for their married life together. 

    Groom

    Keep this one simple as you don’t want to repeat what you will be saying during your main speech. 

    See this as an opportunity to thank the attendees and the hosts of the event. Discuss how you are looking forward to the wedding day and married life together. Wish everyone good festivities. 

    Father of the bride & The Best Man

    Both the father of the bride and best man will undoubtedly give a speech at the wedding day itself. With that in mind, it’s important to ensure that any speeches given during the rehearsal dinner are considerably shorter and, truth be told, less emotional all round. A few jokes here and there is a good way to go. 

    Finally, try to direct the speeches towards the hosts, the groom’s parents. Thank them for welcoming you into their family, stating their admiration for the man they have raised, and share how you are looking forward to future experiences together. 

    Toasts All Round

    One final note, in many cultures it’s tradition for anyone who pleases to stand up and give a toast. The floor is opened for any member of the wedding party to start forward to congratulate the couple on their impending marriage. However, it’s important to note that these are very specifically toasts. Glasses raised to the new couple. Not lengthy speeches. 

    How many speeches can I have?

    As many as you want! There is no limit to the number of speeches, and in terms of creating fun and happy moments on your wedding day, there is really no better way than people standing up, sharing funny stories and emotional feelings. Speeches really do rock!

    But what about the average? Most couples will choose to have 3-4 wedding speeches, usually supplementing the traditional speakers with either a reading from the maid of honor or bride herself. 

    Story Amour Tip: While it may seem like a good idea to ask lots of people to give a speech, you should only make that decision on your own personal preferences, and experience/knowledge of the more traditional speech givers. By that we mean, if you know the father of the bride, the groom and the best man are likely to give short speeches, but you want to dedicate a large part of the day to people sharing memories of your time together, then it’s a good idea to ask around and see who wants to give a speech. 

    How long should the speeches last?

    5-10 minutes per speaker. No more, no less. 

    When it comes to wedding speeches, there really is a tried and tested formula to follow. Provided you don’t go too much over 10 minutes, and don’t share much than 5 minutes, you should enjoy a series of speeches that will go a long way to creating an epically enjoyable wedding vibe. Any longer than 10 minutes and your guests may start to get a little bored. Any shorter than 5 minutes and you will leave them wanting more. Don’t waffle but don’t rush. 

    In general we recommend allowing for about 45 minutes to just over 1 hour for the speeches in their entirety. Obviously, the longer the speeches, the longer your wedding reception will be

    Can my parents do a speech together?

    100% yes. As we mentioned previously in the article, joint parent wedding speeches are actually quite common. Make sure they practice the speech together to ensure they aren’t tripping up over themselves during the live version!

    Who should not give a speech?

    Ooo, now this is where it gets juicy? Who is on the banned list? Who should we hide the microphone from? Let’s find out!

    When it comes to banning certain family members/friends from giving speeches, there are no hard and fast rules you need to follow. In fact, only you can really make the decision based on your relationship with those people. 

    If you know that certain members of the family react very badly to public speaking, and they would absolutely be uncomfortable giving a speech, then you should discuss this with them before the wedding day. There is no point in forcing someone into giving a speech that they don’t want to give. A wedding is there to be enjoyed by everyone. You may ask them to give a simple toast during the speeches, rather than reading from a specific script. This could be a great way to include them without pushing worry onto them before your big day. 

    What about controversial wedding guests? Well, it goes without saying that if you have a member of the wedding party that traditionally gives a speech, or for some reason, wants to give a speech on your wedding day. You should discourage them from doing so in a quite strict manner. Don’t upset them, but be firm and let them know your feelings. The last thing you want is a wedding day drama, so get ahead of it. 

    Finally it’s important to assess the situation on the day. If for some reason the best man really has had one too many, we would suggest you have a quiet word and ask them to sit it out. There is a difference between a little bit of Dutch courage, and a slurring best man! The last thing you want is a ruined wedding video. No one wants to watch that! 

    The same can be said about anyone looking particularly “queezie” about standing up on the day. Have a word in private and let them know that you understand if they don’t want to give a speech. Don’t make a big deal out of it. A stress free wedding is an unforgettable wedding for all the right reasons. 

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    Conclusion

    Hopefully that just about clears it up. No matter who gives a speech at the wedding, they are sure to live long in memory. 

    Wedding speeches are a sensational part of the day, one you should go above and beyond to ensure you include as part of your wedding timeline. Filled with people speaking from the heart, perhaps in a way they never have before, you are sure to see a few tears on faces as you look out onto your wedding guests. But fear not, provided there are a few jokes included, any groans will be quickly squashed with cheers of laughter. 

    No matter who you decide to give a speech to, whether following traditional speech giving orders or creating your very own, you will love every moment. Enjoy your wedding speeches!