The Wedding Breakfast Speeches
Traditionally the wedding speeches take place after the wedding breakfast, but these days, owing to the nervousness of the speakers, some prefer to get them out of the way before the meal is served. If this is your choice, the timing of the serving of the meal has to be taken into consideration. If the speeches are too long the meal may be spoiled.
These notes are a guideline for those who have never given a speech before. There are many books and internet guides that will also assist you but it is good to plan what you are going to say in the following way:
1 The introduction is generally the easy part. Why? Because in most cases you are normally thanking people. This is a pleasant and easy way to start e.g. “Thank you for coming today”
2 The main points are when you use all the information you have gathered. Remember to use your best anecdote or story until last before you close.
3 The conclusion must be the conclusion. Do not go ‘on and on’ and bore everyone. If you say “and finally” mean it!
Your speech should only last for the maximum of 10 minutes – short and punchy – not long and boring. You can say quite a lot in ten minutes. Remember there are at least two others to speak as well. That means 30 minutes of speeches, which is quite long enough. Your guests (especially children) may become restless if the speeches go on for longer. If the speeches are made before the meal they will also be hungry!
The Father of the Bride (or whoever is giving the Bride away) traditionally starts the speeches. He will thank friends and family for coming, especially those who have traveled a long way. He should also thank the other parents for their help and welcome his new son in law into his family. He may talk of how the happy couple met, and the first time she introduced him to his future ‘in laws’. Next he should concentrate on his daughter – the Bride. This can be emotional but it is nice to reflect on her growing up, into the lovely daughter she is today. His speech ends by asking everyone to stand and join him in toasting ‘The Bride and Bridegroom’ – he may use their names.
The Bridegroom will thank his new ‘Dad’ for the welcome and the nice words. He will thank both sets of parents for their love and help in making everything possible. He should also thank everyone and show appreciation that they have taken the time to come and celebrate the day with them both. At the first opportunity he will say “on behalf of my wife and I” as this always gets a round of applause and cheering. He will then talk about his beautiful Bride before giving out flowers and gifts. He will end his speech by paying compliments to the bridesmaids and asking everyone to stand, for the ‘Toast to the Bridesmaids’.
The Best Man will thank the Bridegroom on behalf of the Bridesmaids. He should talk about the honour of being Best Man and speak about the Bridegroom and their friendship. He will then relate stories to generally embarrass and send him up. Nothing contentious and he should not mention former girl friends. He may also read cards of congratulation, but only from those who are unable to be there. Although not a tradition, he may end his speech by raising another toast to the Bride and Bridegroom.
Other guests may also wish to contribute, even the Bride! It may also be appropriate, and appreciated, for a toast to be raised to absent friends or a very close relative of the Bride or Bridegroom who may perhaps have recently passed away. This can be done by whoever is deemed most appropriate.
Finally, everyone will be embarrassed by an obviously intoxicated speaker. A little drink may calm the nerves but the Golden Rule is generally very little or preferably no alcohol before speaking.
If you would like any advice or would like me to cast my eye over your speech then please contact me.