While it's traditionally the father-of-the-bride and the father-of-the-groom who makes a speech, increasingly both parents (or both sets of parents) are getting in on the act - together.

But what's the parents' speech all about?

The simple stuff, really. It's about welcoming your new in-law to the family, and welcoming their extended family into your lives.

This is a great opportunity to thank people who've supported your family in the lead up to your big day.

To thank the guests for coming, to share and a couple of light stories about the happy couple, to say something sentimental about your just married child, and to share a few amusing anecdotes and advice about your own experience of married life.

Poetry is another popular pick for parents' speeches - just keep it relatively light and low-key.

Sample

Poetic Father-Of-The-Bride speech courtesy of Styles Of Writing

Simone's our eldest daughter.
Blonde beauty and blue eyed.
I love her and her friendship -
I gave her but I cried...

She's in the family business.
He's in communication -
Surely with these attributes
there'll be collaboration?

The echo of quartet outside
and tiny bridal girl...
led the party indoors for
a duo dancing twirl.

Some years ago when introduced
she fled to hide in room -
Soon they'll flee to room of sun
and watch the Bali moon!

Ideas to include in your wedding speech

  • Speak from the heart
  • Making special mention of guests who have travelled long distances to attend the wedding 
  • Express your pride in your son/daughter
  • Share a few favourite memories 
  • Formally welcome your new family member
  • Offer some words of wisdom - a humorous story, a poem, a proverb...
  • Conclude with a toast

Our members have posed a bunch of questions about the best ways for parents to speak at their weddings - so we thought we'd share them, and our answers - in case you're in the same boat.

Members Ask:

Q - My mother would like to say a few words at the wedding, as both her and my father are walking me down the aisle. When do you think would be best for her to speak?

A - I love to see the mother being honoured this way. Our recommendation is to have one parent follow the other in the order of speeches. That way if one parent is feeling more nervous than the other they can be there to support each other.

Q - My mother is my only parent and we would like her to say a few words at the reception. She's very nervous and a bit inclined to get emotional and teary. 

A -  Having nervous speakers speak early will allow them to relax for the rest of the night. Perhaps she could do the welcome speech at the very beginning, thanking your guests from overseas and interstate, welcoming your fiance, and setting out the course of the evening.  A nice idea might be to stand with your mum while she gives her short introduction speech. This will make her feel at ease and less nervous.

Q - I am the mother of the groom and would like to make a speech at the engagement party. I am divorced from my sons father and am not sure if he is making a speech. Do I talk about my son, or talk about my future daughter in law. Do I mention my "spouse to be' as I am getting married 3 weeks before my son and future daughter in law? Help!

A -  A couple of nice stories and expressing how you feel about your son will always be well received.

In relation to the first part of your question, it would be nice to make mention of both your son and daughter in law to be. Of course, you would naturally talk more about your son, but a marriage is all about bringing families together, so make your new daughter-in-law to be feel welcomed into your family.

Your fiancé will be a major part of your life so it's important to make mention of him perhaps share a message on his behalf to the bride and groom. Depending on how comfortable you feel, make mention in your speech about how proud your son has made both you and his father. 

Q - I am having a lot of difficulty with my fiance's family with regards to speeches. They are adamant that the Father of the Bride does not make a speech and certainly does not toast the Bride and Groom.

Can you please tell me the correct etiquette and procedure with regards to wedding speeches and toasts? Who usually speaks in the first place, and traditionally what toasts do they make? The groom's parents are suggesting a key note speaker, someone from their family to do a toast to the bride and groom. However it is my understanding that the father of the bride does his speech and then makes this toast.

A - Different cultures bring different customs so this may be the case. Traditionally at a wedding the father of the bride (the host) makes a speech, welcomes the wedding guests welcomes their new son in law into the bride's family and toasts the bride & groom. He then introduces the next speaker usually the groom's father unless you decide to have the MC introduce the speakers . A thing to remember that everyone who speaks usually ends with a toast.

Q - My father is not attending the wedding and I have two step fathers (both of whom I don't think should be making the response on behalf of myself the bride) Can you suggest how my brother can do this instead? My brother is walking me down the aisle.

A - This is a nice idea and I'm sure your brother is really proud to be giving you away and will do a wonderful job in delivering a speech. Don't feel like you need to change this dramatically because it's your brother. His role should typically include toasting you and your new husband, welcoming your husband to the family and telling a nice story about his sister! He's in a unique position where he knows you best of all.

Q - I am the brother of the bride and have been asked to make a toast at my sister's wedding to the parent's of the bride and groom. Do you have any suggestions on this?

A - We recommend that you ask both sets of parents to be up standing for this. When you introduce your own parents this would be a great opportunity for you to express your feelings towards them, and to make mention how important they have been in helping to bring the wedding together. When you're introducing the groom's parents, let them know how excited you all are that the two families are coming together and look forward to many happy times in the future. Short, simple and heartfelt will always make for a great toast.

Q - I have been asked to make a speech at my cousin's wedding and am very nervous about writing and presenting the speech. Do you have any advice?

A - This is probably one of the most commonly asked questions, so you're not alone! Often people think that a long speech is a good speech. The most memorable speeches are the ones that are well prepared, heart felt and to the point. Some simple suggestions are:

1. Prepare. Think about what it is that want to say. Imagine that you are talking directly to this person, think about the things you would like to say to them and make this the basis of your speech. Use humour carefully, while a joke at someone else's expense may get a laugh, you will more then likely offend someone.

2. Practice. Take the time before the wedding to practice delivering the speech. This could simply be standing in front of a mirror or you may wish to present it to a few select people before the event. You can start by writing your speech out. As you continue to practice, you may be able to write some cue cards to prompt you when delivering your speech. Remember, the more you practice, the more relaxed you will be on the night.

3. Delivery. It's a good idea to take a few minutes alone before your speech to prepare yourself and re-read your notes. Take a few deep breathes, and remember that you are amongst family and friends and enjoy the experience.

Mother And Bride Together

Pureography

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