The wedding toasts and speeches are a notorious highlight.

Guests becomes misty eyed when the father of the bride emotionally tells them that he feels he is not losing a daughter but gaining a son.  Then everyone waits in fearful anticipation to see if the best man will drunkenly crucify the groom.

Scheduling The Speeches

When you hold the wedding speeches will depend on how you want your wedding reception to flow and how much time you have allocated for each speech.

Some couples choose to hold the speeches at staggered intervals, while food is being eaten or all at once, one after the other.

A little planning and preparation go a long way when it comes to timing your wedding speeches, this time-honored tradition, which is nearly as important as the exchange of wedding vows can create some of the most cherished memories of the day.

For couples wanting to follow a more traditional line up of speeches we have put together a guide of who should speak and when, otherwise break with tradition and head straight to the end of this page.

Traditional line up of wedding speeches - simplified

  1. The Master Of Ceremonies (MC) introduces themselves and welcomes everyone to the Reception. The wedding MC introduces the bridal party and announces with great enthusiasm and applause, the bride and groom's arrival into the wedding reception.
  2. Toast to the Bride and Groom made by the Host.  Traditionally it was the Father of the bride as it was the brides family who paid for the wedding.
  3. Response by the Groom and Toast to the Bridal Party; bridesmaids and groomsmen.
  4. Response on behalf of the Bridal Party by the Best Man.
  5. Toast to the Bride's Parents, by the Best Man or a friend of the brides family.
  6. Response by the Bride's Father.
  7. Toast to the Groom's Parents, by the Father of the bride or a bride of the grooms family.
  8. Response by the Groom's Father.
  9. Reading of telegrams (emails, SMS, Facebook posts) - If time is short these messages are usually the first to be wiped from the program. Traditionally read by the MC or Best Man.

Scheduling speeches for a sit down reception

If you are looking for a format of when to schedule in the speeches, we have prepared an extremely traditional line up that includes all the possible toasts including Grace and the Loyal Toast. Omit what you think isn't necessary.

  1. The Master Of Ceremonies (MC) introduces themselves and welcomes everyone to the wedding reception. The MC introduces the wedding party and announces with great enthusiasm and applause, the bride and groom's arrival into the wedding reception.
  2. Grace - if appropriate.
  3. Entree is served.
  4. The Host or Wedding MC proposes The Loyal Toast - if appropriate.
  5. Main Course is served.
  6. Desert and coffee is served.
  7. The MC introduces the person (usually the Father of the bride) who will propose a toast to the Bride and Groom.
  8. MC introduces the Groom or they can simply get up and speak.
  9. The Groom's speech and his Toast to the Bridal Party.
  10. MC introduces the Best Man or they can simply get up and speak.
  11. The Best Man's Speech and his Toast to the Mother and Father of the Bride.
  12. MC introduces the Father or Mother of the Bride or they can simply get up and speak.
  13. Father or Mother of the Bride's speech and his or her toast to the Mother and Father of the Groom.
  14. The Father or Mother of the Groom's speech they can welcome and toast the traditional guest of honour and their new daughter-in-law, the Bride.
  15. MC introduces the Best Man or whoever will read out any messages.
  16. The MC closes the speeches by thanking everyone, and announces when the cutting of the cake will be made.

Short And Sweet

If there are just a few speakers:

  • The Host welcomes and toasts the bride and groom (traditionally the host was the Father of the Bride as it was the Brides family who paid for the wedding)
  • The Groom reponds and toasts the bridesmaids
  • The Best Man responds on behalf of the bridal party and reads any messages.

Breaking Tradition

If your mother, bridesmaid or someone outside of the traditional wedding speakers are renowned entertaining speakers then nothing should stop you from asking them to speak. Here is a suggested order of speeches that breaks with Tradition:

  • The Best Man, MC or host welcomes everyone and introductes the bridal party then the bride and groom - if you hate making grand entrances - omit this!
  • The Best Man or Maid of Honour opens with their speech and makes a toast to the bride and groom.
  • Next, the groom, bride, or the two together may toast each other, and then raise a glass to their bridal party and guests to thank them for sharing their special day. Special thanks and a toast might/must then be made to eachothers parents or special friend.
  • The parents of either the bride or groom or both respond.
  • The Closer usually give thanks to the speech makers, sums up with a few sentinment words about the couple. The closer could be the groom, the bride and groom, the best man, the MC or back to the person who opened the speeches.  We recommend to end the speeches on a high note and give the close to someone who you know will make a great speech.

TIPS

  • Decide on the order of the toasts well before the wedding, write it down and send it out in advance to all the speech makers, the MC and the event manager at the venue as they may have recommendations or requirements as to the timing of food service.
  • Don't force anyone to give a speech. If the best man is very uncomfortable speaking before a large audience, you are better off asking the maid of honor or the grooms brother to step in for him.
  • The MC can usher the speakers to the microphone if the speeches are staggered throughout the reception and discreetly signaling them if the speech goes on too long.
  • Allow a set amount of time for all the speeches to be completed. If many people are making speeches then shorten the length of each speech and if you know someone will make a particularly entertaining speech, leave their speech until last....always end on a high and happy note.
  • Hiring a professional MC to run the proceedings can be a safe way to keep the night on schedule, find an MC here.
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