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Wedding Speech Etiquette – Not Set in Stone

Traditionally, wedding speech etiquette dictated that the order of speeches was as follows:

  1. Father of the bride welcomes the guests and thanks the organisers of the wedding. He will reminisce about his daughter’s childhood and doubtless cause her great embarrassment. He’ll welcome the groom to the family and toast the bride or the bride and groom
  2. The groom responds and says nice things about this new bride, thanks the organisers again and the best man.
  3. The bride may speak now although this is a break with true tradition.
  4. The best man takes his turn now, usually telling funny stories about the groom. The best man then reads out all the greetings and toasts the newly weds.

All that said, the wedding speech etiquette is no longer set in stone and if you’re to speak at a wedding you’ll need to know whether the traditional order is to be followed or whether informality will be the order of the day.

Knowing which speakers you’re to follow will help you to write your own speech; in fact you may need to have a few alternative phrases available because you don’t want to be repeating what previous speakers have said. If you’re one of the main wedding party the content of your speech is more or less prescribed no matter the informality of the occasion although the order may not be. Even if you are a main speaker you can add your own quirks to the flavour of your speech.

An informal wedding, for example on a beach, lends itself to all sorts of breaks with tradition and even the main speakers can let go a bit and wax lyrical about the surroundings or recount anecdotes about the journey.

These days anything goes so you can throw wedding speech etiquette out of the window if you want to.



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