Wedding Speeches – Who Toasts What?

The Wedding speeches and toasts are both a formality and a highlight of the Wedding Day. They mark the bridge between the formal part of the Wedding Day and the frivolity of the Evening Reception. The after dinner Wedding speeches are a time when everybody comes together to be entertained, to learn more about the Bride and Groom and to feel good about the marriage just witnessed.
This is the one, possibly the only, part of the Wedding Day where the Bride really doesn’t have much to do with the Wedding speeches unless she is going to make a speech herself! Tempting as it may be to tell your Groom-to-be what to say in his speech, it should be left to him to speak from the heart…
That’s not to say however, that you shouldn’t give him a few gentle pointers or make sure that between the speakers, all the bases are covered and the right people are thanked. It is also crucial to make your speakers aware of who toasts what or you can end up with everyone toasting the Bride and Groom and no one toasting the Bridesmaids for example.

Speeches are traditionally made in a certain order:

  • Father of the Bride
  • Groom
  • Best Man

Traditionally, the Bride’s father should be called upon first by the Toastmaster or the Best Man if he is officiating as Master of Ceremonies, as historically, the Father of the Brides paid for the Wedding and so should be given his place with the first words. The Father of the Bride should welcome the Groom’s parents, relatives of both families, any other guests to the Wedding and welcome the Groom to his family. He should then  say a few (often emotional) words about his daughter and this is the part when guests want to dab their eyes at a Father overwhelmed with love for his daughter.  The Father of the Bride would finish by proposing a toast of health and happiness to the Bride and Groom.

wedding speechesGail Photography

The Groom replies to this on behalf of himself and his Bride, taking the opportunity to thank his parents. It is often common for the Groom to present on behalf of himself and his wife, a bouquet of flowers to each mother as a sign of appreciation for all they have done throughout the years. The Groom may wish at this point to propose a toast to absent friends if perhaps, a mother or father or the Bride or Groom is deceased. The Groom would also on behalf of his wife and himself (cue thunderous applause), thank all guests for their Wedding gifts. He should say a some heartfelt words about his Bride and this should be the bulk of the Groom’s speech. Talk about how he met his Bride, why he fell in love with her, why he wants to spend his whole life with her, relay an anecdote about her quirky personality. The Groom should have the whole room going awwww and make everyone want to have a love like that! The Groom would finish by proposing a toast to the Bridesmaids, thanking them for their support of the Bride and he may also present them with a small gift as a token of their appreciation.

wedding speechesRamsden Photography

It is then the Best Man’s duty to respond to this toast on behalf of the Bridesmaids. The Best Man’s speech should be the high spot of the reception (no pressure), delivered well in a fun, light hearted manner, poking gentle humour at the Groom. The Best man’s speech heralds the change from emotional to the often, slightly naughty side as he recalls an incident or two designed to show off the character of the Groom. He could also say a few words about the ways in which meeting the Bride has changed the Groom for the better. Be warned, smutty stories of lap dancers and all night benders, even worse, crude stories of ex-girlfriends may seem funny in the Best Man’s head but they go down like a lead balloon at a Wedding Reception in front of a mixed aged crowd! The Best Man’s speech should end on a sincere high note of his pride at being asked to be Best Man, his admiration of the Groom and his confidence in the happiness and longevity of the marriage. The Best Man would finish by proposing a toast to the new Mr. & Mrs X!

wedding speechesJohn Carroll Photography

It is now quite common for the Bride to say a few words on her Wedding day, especially if someone close to her could not be present, or if she would like to express particular feelings about the day or her new husband. It’s becoming more usual for other people to speak too – the Father of the Groom (who should follow the Father of the Bride), chief Bridesmaid or Groomsmen who may wish to read messages from those unable to be there for example or who may also want to say a few words of their own. No matter how many people speak though, the Best Man traditionally always goes last!

If you can give your Groom or father any pointers, try to encourage them to keep the Wedding speeches brief if they are nervous. Make them entertaining and humorous if possible, make sure they use notes of key words or phrases to keep the speech structured and above all, to pause and try to make eye contact in their delivery. They should remember that the whole room is with them, willing them on to deliver well.

wedding speeches Denise McDonald Photography

wedding speeches



Good luck with the Wedding Speeches and if we can help in anyway, please do not hesitate to get in touch at

26th February 2016