Wedding Speeches

The order of speeches is traditionally as follows…

The father of the bride toasts the bride and groom and then goes on to talk about his daughter. As with all speeches, a mixture of affectionate anecdote and humour generally works well.

The groom replies on behalf of himself and his wife (although more and more brides are making their own speeches these days) and then proposes a toast to the bridesmaids. He then goes on to thank those people involved in helping them in the planning of the wedding and distributes gifts to those who are to receive more than a verbal ‘thank you’. The groom then goes on to talk about his new wife.

If the bride is to make a speech it should take place following the groom’s. It may seem obvious, but joint speeches should be co-ordinated well beforehand since both will probably wish to say much the same thing.

The best man’s speech takes place now. He begins by replying on behalf of the bridesmaids and then reads out telegrams, cards, e-mails or other messages from friends and relatives who couldn’t be at the wedding. He will then go on to talk about the groom in what can be the highlight – or in some cases lowlight – of the wedding speeches. Click Here for some Best Man joke ideas.


Since few people are used to speaking in public, relying on memory can be a little risky; the last thing you want is to become tongue-tied, forgetting what to say next. You want to appear relaxed, confident and in control.

Here are some ideas that may help:

  • Jot down ideas for the speech and place them in a logical order.
  • Select only the best and don’t make the speech too long, about 10 minutes is perfect.
  • Avoid bad taste and overused cliches.
  • If you can’t tell jokes well don’t bother – no one will think badly of a sincere affectionate speech rather than one full of jokes. Think about including a few tried and tested anecdotes instead.
  • After composing your speech, make cue cards with clear headings to remind you of each item. This makes the speech appear more spontaneous than reading from a script.
  • Rehearse your speech either in front of an audience or a mirror.
  • Do not drink too much before you speak although a little Dutch courage may put you at ease.
  • Wait for silence before speaking and don’t rush it, this is your moment of glory so enjoy it.
  • Take a deep breath before you start
  • Have a glass of water handy.
  • When delivering your speech stand with feet slightly apart, relaxed and still. Don’t fidget!
  • Look at your audience and speak clearly.
  • Be sincere.
  • Be flexible and respond to the audience when appropriate.


If you are not to sure what to say when proposing a toast to the wedding couple use one of these quotes or just read through them for inspiration

Armenian toast

‘May you grow old on one pillow’

Irish toast

‘May you have many children And may they grow mature in taste And healthy in colour And as sought after As the contents of the glass.’

Shakespeare (Henry IV)

‘Lack nothing: be merry.’

Lord Byron

‘And to his eye There was but one beloved face on earth And that was shining on him.’

Charlie W Shedd

‘Seek a happy marriage with wholeness of heart, but do not expect to reach the promised land without going through some wilderness together.’

Sir Walter Scott

‘To every lovely lady bright,
I wish a gallant faithful knight;
To every faithful lover, too
I wish a trusting lady true.’

Carl Jung

‘The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances; if there is any reaction, both are transformed.’

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

‘Love does not consist of gazing at each other but looking outward in the same direction.’

Eden Phillpotts

‘A happy marriage is still the greatest treasure within the gift of fortune.’


‘The ladies, God bless them, may nothing distress them.’

‘Here’s to matrimony, the high sea for which no compass has yet been invented.’

‘Here are some words to live by: Love to one, friendship to many, and goodwill to all.’

‘Remember that if you ever put your marital problems on the back burner, they are sure to boil over.’