We are frequently asked what should go into the three traditional wedding speeches, i.e. those of the Father of the Bride, The Groom and The Best Man.
We thought we’d share a simple outline and structure and we hope this helps anyone unsure of where to begin.
Father of The Bride
The Father of the Bride traditionally speaks first, as historically he is the host, thus he welcomes his guests. This is a good opportunity to set a nice, friendly tone for the rest of the wedding speeches and the celebrations and puts guests at their ease. The following is a simple, outline structure.
• Thank Guests and acknowledge new family:
Thank all guests for coming to celebrate the wedding of your daughter, especially if some people have come a long way. Acknowledge the Groom’s parents and welcome your new son in law to the family.
• Remember those who cannot be at the wedding:
Say something warm about any deceased relatives who would love to have attended, or anyone ill or otherwise unable to be there.
• The Bride:
Time for reminiscing about your daughter; one good way to begin is to talk about strong memories of the day she was born, followed by some memorable anecdotes of her as a young child, perhaps when you first noticed she was developing her own personality. Focus on her personality and lovely traits such as strength, how caring or creative she is etc. You might touch on a story or two from her teenage years, again revealing more personality, before moving onto her growing into the woman she is today, possibly with a story about her meeting, and bringing home, the Groom.
• The Groom:
Although as Father of the Bride your focus is your daughter, you should mention the Groom: perhaps their first meeting, your first impression, whether this has changed (if humorous but not in any way mean) and how happy you are for the couple.
• A Few Words of Wisdom:
Possibly using your own marriage as an example, if appropriate, a few fun, well meaning words about marriage, ups and downs, looking after one another etc. You could touch a little on resolving small conflicts, remembering what is important for the future etc.
Toast: The speech should finish with the Father of The Bride proposing a toast to ‘The Bride and Groom’.
The Groom’s speech is traditionally a response to the Father of The Bride/ the traditional host. Your speech is arguably the simplest of the three and should focus on praising your bride and her family, plus thanking everyone. At some point it is usual for you to say, for the first time, ‘My wife and I….’
• Thank the Father of The Bride:
You begin by thanking your father-in-law for his kind words and for helping (if he did) put on the wedding.
• Thank the Bride’s Family:
Move on to thank the rest of your wife’s family for welcoming you in (even if things are not that smooth, you should make it positive). Thank her parents for bringing up such a wonderful girl.
• Thank your own Family:
Thank your parents for their advice and guidance throughout your upbringing, ideally making it funny and remembering humorous events or details. Thank both mothers in particular for their help with the wedding.
• Thank the Bridesmaids:
Thank the Bridesmaids for all their work, on behalf of both you and your wife, and tell them how beautiful they look.
• Thank the Best Man:
Thank your Best Man, possibly explaining to the guests why you chose him.
• Thank All who have Helped:
End all the thanks by naming everyone who has helped in the planning and putting together the wedding.
• Your Bride:
Spend some time talking to and about your new wife and how much you love her, maybe telling the tale of how you met, possibly making a bit of fun of yourself.
• “The Handover”:
Hand over to your Best Man, possibly with a bit of a joke about how the anecdotes he’s likely tell in a minute are likely to be exaggerated etc.
Toast: Traditionally the Groom, on behalf of the couple, will toast ‘The Bridesmaids’.
The Best Man
The Best Man’s Speech is traditionally the final one of three. The speech should be sincere, but light hearted and fun, relaxing the guests, but in no way making them uncomfortable. Guests expect this speech to contain jokes and funny anecdotes, particularly about the Groom. Crowds differ, but a good rule of thumb is to consider the eldest, female guest and say nothing which would really offend her.
The following is a fairly traditional format, but should provide a basic structure …..
• Bridesmaids’ response:
If there are bridesmaids/ flower girls traditionally the Groom will have thanked them for their help and for looking beautiful by toasting them at the end of his speech. You as Best Man traditionally respond on their behalf by saying thank you.
• Ice breaker:
Begin the speech with a funny/light hearted joke or observation, usually about the Groom, to set the scene and relax people.
• Absent Friends:
In the past telegrams were read out here – today there may be some messages/ emails/ texts to convey …. if important guests could not attend, it is traditional to propose a toast to absent friends.
Next comment on the service/ ceremony; lovely decor/ flowers; venue; day so far etc.
• Comment on your role:
It is then usual to allude to say how surprised/ honoured/ pleased etc you were to be asked to be Best Man and to talk a bit about the stag party/ weekend and other duties you have performed/ been responsible for in the run up to the wedding.
• Insight into your relationship with the Groom:
Provide the audience with an idea of how you and the Groom met (ie school/ college/ work/ member of family), the Groom over the years and how things changed when he met his Bride.
• The Romance/ The Bride & Groom’s relationship:
A few sentences about how the relationship between Groom and Bride has developed are normal here, taking care not to offend the Bride.
• Thoughts about Marriage:
This is the Best Man’s opportunity to advise, warn and talk about marriage in general and this one in particular.
Often there will be simple housekeeping messages to give, such as what is happening next (ie move to x room for coffee/ bar then back in an hour for dancing). This is a good time to give this information to guests. A few closing lines, perhaps reiterating something lovely about the couple’s future together, should finish your speech.
Toast: The speech should finish with the Best Man proposing a toast to the ‘Bride & Groom – Mr. & Mrs. X’