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Essex wedding planner Hayley Jayne Weddings shares her advice on giving a wedding speech...
As a wedding planner, I have listened to many wedding speeches and I know they are a much-anticipated element of a wedding day. Guests love to be entertained with funny stories from the best man, tear-jerking words from the father-of-the-bride, as well as hearing the groom lovingly address his new wife in his speech. However, if you are the one giving a wedding speech, it can be a nerve-racking experience, often requiring a tipple or two to get you through what could feel like the longest five minutes of your life. If this sounds familiar, read on for my tips on what to include in your speech to leave you feeling confident, prepared and ready to deliver a perfect performance.
Who gives a wedding speech?
Traditionally, speeches start with the father-of-the-bride, followed by the groom and finally the best man. Some couples choose to include additional speeches from members of the bridal party such as the mother-of-the-bride, maid-of-honour and the bride. If you are looking to include extra speeches, there is no tradition to dictate the order in which they should be delivered. However, it's always good to have a natural flow to the speeches and generally the best man is last to give his speech. Of course, you can include as many speeches as you like on your wedding day, but consider your guests when working on timings. Half an hour is a good amount of time to allocate, so consider asking everyone to shorten their speech a little.
A father-of-the-bride speech is the perfect opportunity for a dad to let his daughter know just how proud he is of her. He would normally speak of heart-warming memories of his daughter growing up, sharing comical stories, but being sure to not embarrass her. A special mention should also go to her partner and their parents, with them being formally welcomed to the family. The father-of-the-bride may also use this public platform to thank guests for coming to his daughter's wedding, as well as sharing relationship advice and top tips for a long and happy marriage to the newlyweds.
A groom's speech is given on behalf of himself and his new wife, with the opening line often being "On behalf of my wife and I", which of course always raises a huge cheer from loved ones. A groom would thank anyone who has helped with the planning of their wedding, or have been particularly helpful in the lead up. He would toast the bridesmaids, presenting them with a gift to show appreciation for their hard work, not just on their wedding day but also in the months prior to the big day. It's also the perfect time for a groom to give a special mention to his groomsmen, thanking them for their help and for a memorable stag do. A groom will usually use his speech to publicly thank his parents for their love and support over the years, often mentioning special memories that he has from his childhood. Of course, it goes without saying that a groom should also pay tribute to his new wife, telling guests how lucky he is, how beautiful she looks and finally how excited he is at what the future holds for them both.
Best man's speech:
The most eagerly awaited of all the wedding speeches, the best man usually allocates his time to sharing a handful of jokes and funny memories, all at the groom's expense. As well as entertaining the guests with embarrassing stories, the best man should also thank the newlyweds for asking him to be such a big part of their day, tell the bride how amazing she looks and finally raise a toast to the newly married couple.
The bride's speech is an increasingly popular and much welcomed addition to the modern wedding. Gone are the days that you only hear from male members of the bridal party. With brides now viewing their wedding day as the perfect opportunity to personally thank their family and friends, rather than following the traditional route of allowing their new husband to do so on their behalf.
I have dedicated an entire blog post to this increasingly popular speech, which offers a whole range of ideas of what to include, such as thanking both sets of parents and your bridesmaids, sharing humorous stories from your wedding planning journey and also dedicating a few special words to your new husband.
As with the bride's speech, hearing the mother-of-the-bride speaking is another popular and much-needed addition to weddings. Whether this speech is instead of, or alongside the father-of-the-bride's speech, the structure would normally be the same as a speech given by the bride's father. Although, a mum's speech would normally focus more on sharing treasured memories of her daughter. Of course, should the bride's dad have passed away, you will no doubt want to pay tribute to him. Be sure to have a hanky to hand and consider letting your daughter know that you will be saying a few words in memory of her dad, which will allow her to prepare for the moment.
A maid-of-honour's speech should be lighthearted and packed with memories with the bride. You may wish to share with guests how you met the bride and how your friendship has blossomed over the years. Be sure to also tell the bride how much your friendship means to you and finally wish the newlyweds all the best for their future lives together.
To find out more about Hayley's planning services, visit hayleyjayneweddingsandevents.co.uk
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