Krista A Jones
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, and 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
- 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.
- 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)
- Response by the Groom and toast to the Bridal Part
- Response on behalf of the Bridal Party by the Best Man
- Toast to the Bride's Parents, by the Best Man or a friend of the brides family.
- Response by the Bride's Father
- Toast to the Groom's Parents, by the Father of the bride or a bride of the grooms family
- Response by the Groom's Father
- 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 a most traditional line up that includes all the possible toasts including Grace and the Loyal Toast.
- The Master Of Ceremonies (MC) introduces themselves and welcomes everyone to the Reception. The MC introduces the wedding party and announces with great enthusiasm and applause, the bride and groom's arrival into the wedding reception.
- Grace - if appropriate
- Entree is served
- The Host or MC proposes The Loyal Toast - if appropriate
- Main Course is served
- Desert and coffee is served
- The MC introduces the person (usually the Father of the bride) who will propose a toast to the Bride and Groom
- MC introduces the Groom or they can simply get up and speak
- The Groom's Speech and his Toast to the Bridesmaids
- MC introduces the Best Man or they can simply get up and speak
- The Best Man's Speech and his Toast to the Mother and Father of the Bride
- MC introduces the Father or Mother of the Bride or they can simply get up and speak
- Father or Mother of the Bride's Speech and his/her toast to the Mother and Father of the Groom
- 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
- MC introduces the Best Man or whoever will read out any messages.
- 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.
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. Suggested schedule:
- The best man opens with their speech and makes a toast to the bridesmaids
- After the best man, the maid of honor 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 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 best man, the MC or back to the host or end the speeches on a high note and give the close to someone who'll make a great speech.
- 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.
Q - We are having a relaxed type of wedding where the whole feel of the day is fun. Not being a big fan of speeches and sitting at a table for 2-3 hours and only having 1 hour to dance, we wanted to know if you had any suggestions regarding the speeches and how to keep them short and sweet. We are not having any telegrams, but still want the 'father of the bride' to speak.
A - A wedding day is all about enjoying yourself and creating the atmosphere that you and your groom want. I have been to a wedding where the couple entered the reception, cut the wedding cake and had their bridal waltz before sitting down.
After entrees they had speeches which lasted for no longer than 5 minutes per person. There were only a few people who did speeches, the fathers of both the bride & groom, the best man and finally the groom. Their speeches were heartfelt and to the point and nothing felt rushed about the process.
The key would be to make sure you tell your speakers before the event that your trying to create a fun and relaxed wedding. Most importantly, you should let them know how long you would like them to speak for. If you choose to keep speeches short and sweet, this will ensure that you both have a fun relaxing time mingling with your guests and having some great dancing time!
Q - There have been a few family disagreements in the lead up to my wedding as to what part of the night we should have the speeches. How long they should go for and who toasts who? Is it ok to bend the rules a bit? My fiance and I wish to have both fathers say their speech after the entree, then have the remainder of speeches after mains. Some of the parents think we should have speeches during the main meal while people are eating. I think this is inappropriate, what do you think is acceptable? We were planning to keep 30-45 minutes aside for speeches after dinner and before desert.
A - There will always be difference of opinions about how things should flow at a wedding and it's ok to bend the rules to suit the style of wedding that you are looking for. Decide what's most important to both of you and plan around that. Holding speeches while people are eating isn't ideal, and it can also be very distracting for the speaker to hold speeches while staff are serving or clearing plates, however if time doesn't allow you to hold the speeches outside of serving, eating and clearing, then we say speak with your mouth full!