In the traditional, old-fashioned ‘rules’ of wedding etiquette, the bride doesn’t usually make a speech; addressing the guests is customarily left to the groom, bride’s father and best man/men. However, there is absolutely no reason why, in our modern world, a bride can’t say a few words- after all, it is a day where two people are united and become an equal partnership. If you are a bride wanting to make a speech during your nuptial celebrations, we have the basics covered, including some tips and tricks, to strike the perfect balance between love and a little bit of laughter.
You may want to make a speech merely to thank your guests for attending and reiterate how, alongside your partner, you are so very grateful to them for taking the time to join you on this monumental day. A very quick ‘thank you’ would be sufficient for this style of speech, along with any special mentions for individuals who have really contributed towards making your day perfect: you/your partner’s parents, your bridal party including bridesmaids and any friends or family who have particularly helped out. You will probably want to coordinate this with your partner- you will need to avoid simply repeating what someone else has already said in his or her speech. Therefore, confer with any other speechmakers before the big day. There is no need for anyone to reveal any specifics about their speeches, if this is something that you are eager to keep as a surprise- simply make an arrangement about who is saying thanks to who and ensure that you’re not all chanting the same words, as it could seem insincere this way.
You should also coordinate with your partner and wedding group at which point you will make your speech. The traditional order is Father of the Bride, Groom and then best man. The Grooms speech is a response to the Father of the Bride, so it is important to keep these two together. The best man’s speech is a light-hearted speech and a good one on which to end so a logical spot for the Brides speech would be after the Groom. Once you have decided on this, don’t forget to inform the other speech makers and the venue or master of ceremonies if you have one as they will announce each speech maker in turn.
If you are a bride keen on keeping the atmosphere of the day light-hearted and fun, you might consider making a few jokes in your speech. Maybe tell some funny anecdotes about your other half, or a humorous story involving them that you feel typifies them as a character but also validates why you love them so much. Make sure you keep it light-hearted and upbeat. Try to avoid any very long-winded stories or situations that you really need to be involved in to understand. A very quick ‘I remember the time when…’ will provide an amusing buffer between the outpouring of love and romantic gushing that will understandably be going on at other points during the speeches.
A bride should also take the opportunity, during their speech, to reference their partner and how excited they are for the future. It might be relevant to reference how you met your partner, maybe any first impressions (this could offer another opportunity for a bit of laughter!) and some of your favourite things about them. Remember: you don’t need to speak for too long and you don’t need to go into too much detail. Everyone in attendance knows how much you mean to each other and how important your partnership is.
Finally, it is definitely completely acceptable to make notes and read from some cue cards whilst making your speech. It is quite an out-dated expectation to revise and memorise a speech, so nobody will be surprised if you stand up with some paper in your hand, unless of course it is particularly personally important to you to speak without notes. Avoid writing your speech fully in one long document, as losing your place and trying to find it again could lead to some awkward silences. Instead, try arming yourself with a few prompts written on individual cards, so that you can glance down and be reminded of your next point, but aren’t totally reliant on reading off a script. It is a challenging balance to strike initially, but the more you practice, the more confident you will become with your speech and you will find yourself looking at your notes less and less. It also doesn’t matter if the stories are slightly different each time you practice- nobody except for you knows the exact original wording and your speech will sound much more natural and comfortable if it flows easily and doesn’t sound over-rehearsed or learnt.
If you are a bride making a speech, good for you! All of your guests are here for you and this is your day, so be confident, speak clearly and don’t rush!
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