Wedding Planning

How to Give a Great Wedding Speech

Gay Couple Cutting Cake Together on Wedding Reception

Wedding speeches and toasts are normally given during the wedding reception. Here’s a breakdown of when each speech should be, what it might traditionally include and the best time to have your speeches and toasts. This guide unveils the secret to giving a wonderful, engaging, memorable, modern wedding speech, which your guests will talk about for years to come.

No More than Four

To make sure everyone is having a great time, and to keep things moving along, a standard reception should have a maximum of four (4) speeches, and usually only one or two. The four speech-givers traditionally include:

  1. the father of the bride
  2. the groom
  3. the bride
  4. the best man.

In our modern age, speeches can be made by anyone. To follow a traditional format, you might want to include the following:

  1. a parent/carer/friend of one of the newlyweds,
  2. the newlyweds
  3. one of the attendants.

Choose the combination that is right for you and your partner and the general style of the occasion.

Parent / Carer / Friend of the Newlyweds

The first speech made by a parent, carer or friend on the newlywed should be kept short and simple, extend a welcome to the family, express delight at the match between the couple, and mention a few of the highlights of the relationships. The opening speech should end with a toast to the newlyweds. “Let’s raise our glasses to the happy couple, and wish them a lifetime of love and laughter. To Sarah and Carolyn!”

  • welcome to the family
  • delight at the match
  • highlights of the relationship
  • toast to the happy couple
  • introduce the next speaker

Newlyweds

In reply, either one of the newlyweds or both, can cover the following material. You should give thanks to your families for their love and acceptance, thank your partner for accepting your proposal and changing your life with their love and support, thank the guests for attending and their gifts, and thank your attendants for their help getting you organized and making it through the day.

Adding in an anecdote about how you met and your courtship will keep the speech warm and personal. Finish with a toast to the attendants, “Please raise your glasses to the wedding crew/attendants to thank them for a job well done. To Karen, Lee, Peter & John!”

  • thanks to families
  • thanks to partner
  • thanks to guests for attending and gifts
  • thanks to attendants
  • how you met and fell in love
  • toast to the attendants
  • introduce the next speaker
wedding glasses for wine and champagne from crystal

One of the Attendants

An attendant is the final speaker and thanks the newlyweds on behalf of their fellow attendants. They can then share a story about the newlyweds’ single days. This story should be amusing and perhaps a little risqué, but clean enough to keep grandma happy.

The attendant also mentions specific people who couldn’t make the wedding and declares the speeches over. They then make a final toast to love and happiness in general,
“Please raise your glasses to falling in love, getting married, and finding happiness. To love!”

  • thanks newlyweds
  • funny story about single days
  • mention people who couldn’t make it
  • end of speeches
  • toast to love and happiness

When Are the Speeches & Toasts?

In formal weddings, speeches and toasts are usually given straight after the meal and before the first dance. They can be done before or after cutting the cake. But as with all aspects of your wedding, you can do whatever you choose. Other appropriate times can be right at the start of the proceedings, after the first dance, or spreading out single speeches to in-between courses.

Don’t Toast Yourself!

Remember that when someone is toasting you, to stay seated, smile and don’t touch your drink until the toast is over.

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