Wedding Speeches

Top Tips for writing wedding speeches

One of my favourite parts of being a wedding photographer is the wedding speeches. You can never tell how the speeches are going to go. Of course there is a traditional wedding speeches order which usually goes :

  • Father of the Bride Speech

  • Groom Speech

  • Best Man Speech

However these days it is not unusual to also have a Bride’s Wedding Speech and even a Maid of Honour or Bridesmaids Speech as well which usually take place in the following order of wedding speeches :

  • Father of the Bride Speech

  • Groom’s Speech

  • Bride’s Speech

  • Bridesmaids Speech

  • Best Man Speech

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Being able to photograph moments such as wedding speeches during the day as a photographer is an amazing privilege. Obviously there are the laughs from the friends and family gathered around as the Best Man delivers another cutting joke at the expense of the groom. But also there are the tears often shared between the Father of the Bride and his daughter as he realises his baby girl is all grown up and heading off to the next chapter of her life as a newly married woman sinks in as he delivers his speech.

For my own wedding we decided to start the wedding breakfast off with the wedding speeches. Traditionally wedding speeches take place after the wedding breakfast has been eaten and is often seen to be one of the final formal parts of the wedding day, unfortunately the majority of people (grooms especially) do not look forward to delivering them which often means they do not enjoy the meal itself as they get nervous or worse - they turn to a few drinks to settle the nerves and it doesn’t take a genius to work out that’s probably not the best idea when you’ve got to stand up in front of your nearest and dearest and remember to thank them for coming to such a special day!

I decided to reach out to the lovely folks at Speechy.co.uk who are an elite team of wedding speech writers with a background of script writing for the BBC amongst other talents for some advice on how to deliver the perfect wedding speech and hopefully it will give you a few ideas for wedding speeches.

father of the bride speeches

Wedding Speeches | Father of the Brides Speeches

The Father of the Bride wedding speech is one of the most eagerly anticipated of the wedding speeches. Wedding guests always want to hear the stories and embarrassment that the Best Man can tell but listening to the Father of the Bride tell a whole room about the lifetime of love is a completely different story. As a general rule your job is simply to welcome the guests, pay a heartfelt tribute to your daughter and welcome your son-in-law to the family. A great point that Speechy.co.uk make is not to steal the grooms thunder (and half of his speech). -it is not the responsibility for the Father of the Bride’s speech to include thank you’s. The groom will thanks the bridesmaids but it is a good idea to acknowledge the Mother of the Bride.

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How to structure the father of the bride speech

  • Welcome all the guests and get them laughing straight away 

  • Tell some funny anecdotes from your daughter’s childhood (ideally illustrating her personality today). Remember a loving tribute also involves taking the mick!

  • Pay tribute to the woman she now is — the good stuff, the lovely stuff, but most importantly, the funny stuff. 

  • Recount meeting the groom for the first time and how you’ve grown to love him and his family (it helps if there’s an element of truth in there)

  • You may want to offer some funny or heart-warming advice to the married couple.

  • Conclude your speech with a toast to the married couple. Traditionally it’s to the ‘health and happiness of the happy couple’ but make it a bit more interesting than that – something that genuinely reflects the character of the couple and echos the themes of your speech.

Things that you probably shouldn’t include in your Father of The Bride Speech

  • Don’t hint at any financial contribution you’ve made towards the wedding.

  • Don’t talk about your daughter’s exes.

  • Avoid cliches. Everyone knows how little babies sleep

  • Test the speech out on your wife. If she doesn’t get the joke then leave it out as you won’t have time to explain it during the wedding speech.

  • Don’t talk over the laughter - you will have worked hard writing your speech to get those laughs so don’t rush them.

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wedding speeches | groom’s Speech

When it comes to wedding speeches the Groom’s Speech has to be the most feared. The usual routine is to google “Wedding speeches for grooms” and hope for the best usually ending up with the standard speech that gets delivered across the country many times over - a few mumbled thank you’s, speaking on behalf of “My wife and I’ and then praying to the best man to go easy on you.

Traditionally the groom thanks everyone for coming, his parents, the new in-laws (do not forget to thank the mother of the bride), the best man and ushers, the maid of honour and bridesmaids.

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Tips for a great grooms speech

  • Be Different - Every groom thinks that his bride is gorgeous, kind and amazing. Recount anecdotes that show your bride’s qualities in action. Cut the cliches and concentrate on what makes you’re bride unique. Describing her individual and quirky characteristics shows that you ‘get her’ and her friends and family will love you for it

  • Be Funny. - All speeches should be funny but try to get everyone chuckling within the first 30 seconds as it will relax everyone, including you. Make witty observations about your bride, yourself and your relationship. You want to make guests laugh not groan.

  • Tell A Story - Your speech should tell a story. It needs to hook people in from the start and carry through to an almighty climax. Turning your wedding speech into a story makes it easy to follow and entertaining.

  • Less Is More - You might feel you have plenty to say but be strict with yourself. No one ever watched a wedding speech and thought ‘if only it were longer’

  • Prepare to Deliver - A confident delivery is half the battle. Try to memorise the speech but don’t be afraid to use notes on the day, talk slower and leave pauses for laughter. Keep your posture relaxed and remember everyone wants you to do well.

Wedding speeches | BEST MAN Speech

Once again google is mostly to blame as “How to write a best mans speech” get’s searched for and the opening line up and down the country has wedding guests being reminded what an emotional day it’s been and even the cake is in tiers and a projector with a PowerPoint presentation that certainly wouldn’t

How to write a best mans speech

  • The focus of the speech should be a witty description of the groom. You want lots of laughs, but your speech also needs to be a thoughtful acknowledgement of a friendship. Find the character traits that his friends & family will recognise as truly ‘him’ – his photographic memory of the Nando’s menu, his unusually short T-Rex arms – yes, it might seem like you’re taking the mick, but that’s how blokes show they care.

  • The best man must compliment the bride, and it helps if this sounds sincere. If you don’t know her well, do a bit of research so you can say more than the usual platitudes. Can she put up a tent better than her husband? Has she turned him into a quinoa fan? Be original but remember one cliche is a must; all brides look beautiful.

  • Some best men like to compliment the bridesmaids, but it’s the groom’s job. Your choice really, but keep it short if you do.

  • The best man speech usually includes a toast to ‘Mr and Mrs [newlywed’s Surname]’ and might announce the cutting of the cake. Speechy recommends finding a unique way to toast the newly-hitched- even if it’s just to ‘the coolest couple this side of the Hog’s Head’.

Just remember that it’s your duty when writing a best man speech to dig up the dirt. Find out times when they’ve been clueless and any embarrassing stories, ask the grooms family for some classic tales from childhood. Also don’t forget to tell a story, it doesn’t need to be complicated and can even be a simple retelling of your bromance and how it ended when the bride came on the scene or even a personal guide to how the groom works but just remember less is more.

Don’t forget that if the idea of writing your own wedding speech ills you with dread then have a look at Speechy.co.uk to see if they could help you out.

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If you’re looking for a wedding photographer to capture the reactions of the perfect wedding speech that you’re now ready to deliver then get in contact by filling in the form below

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Martin Pemberton