After capturing over 100+ weddings throughout my career as a wedding photographer here in South Wales, I think it is fair to say that I have listened to a lot of wedding speeches in my time, some emotional, some funny and some a little dull… I get it, wedding speeches can be daunting to say the least, with lots of pressure to stand up in front of family and for some, complete strangers and give a heartfelt speech to the couple. Speeches however are and always will be a key part to any wedding day, so to avoid any awkward silences I have created this Ultimate guide to wedding speeches blog.

The foundations to wedding speeches

Who normally gives a wedding speech?

Usually the traditional setup for wedding speeches is the father of the bride, followed by the groom and then the legendary best man/woman speech. However, it has become more common over the last two years for both partners to raise a speech along with MOH etc. And I absolutely love this deviation from the traditional three, It removes the pressure on everyone and also allows for more interesting stories to be shared with the couples nearest and dearest.

However, if you do have a videographer booked then please make them aware of what speeches you will be having as they will need to mic-up each speech giver individually. The last thing you want is an absolute belter of a speech being missed because you forgot to tell the videographer in advance.

When do wedding speeches happen?

So as an experienced wedding photographer I would say the best time to have your speeches is either before or immediately after your wedding breakfast. Please don’t opt to have speeches in-between courses as this will cause stress for the wedding caterers who want to provide you with the best quality food. In addition you don’t want photos of people laughing with half eaten food still on the table do you? By having your speeches either before or after food the staff are able to make sure all tables are cleared to avoid any unappealing distractions in your wedding photos/video.

Father of the groom speech at The Grove of Narberth Hotel

What order do wedding speeches go in?

So if you are sticking with tradition then normally the father/mother of the bride gives a speech followed by the groom/bride and then its finished off with an uplifting speech given by the bestman/woman. By doing it in this order you are able to go through all of the emotions and hopefully end full of laughter.

But then again you may have other ideas for who out of your wedding party is going to give a speech and this could change the dynamic completely. What I would advise is let your parents go first as this will be when the audience has the greatest attention and then follow on with everyone else and just make sure to leave the bestman/woman speech until last. You want to end the reception celebrations laughing and cheering.

How to write an epic wedding speech?

Just like when I begin writing these blogs, you need to plan what you are going to say before you putting pen to paper. It can be extremely overwhelming looking at a blank piece of paper/screen, so I have come up with a 5-step plan to writing the ultimate wedding speech that will remove all stress.

Some key pointers to note –

  • Don’t resort to searching online for copies of previous wedding speeches. After attending 50+ weddings a year I can tell you exactly when someone has resorted to good old copy and paste from online.
  • Don’t be someone you’re not. Being asked to make a speech is an honour and a credit to your character, The couple want exactly that, your character so don’t try and become a stand up comedian if you are usually a more reserved type.
  • Don’t drink too much. Although the bottomless Prosecco and Peroni is always appealing, try and limit yourself to avoid any stumbles during your wedding speech.
  • Don’t use your phone! Get out some good old pen and paper. Theres nothing worse as a photographer than capturing speeches that are being read off of a mobile phone. It looks like you are texting whilst talking to 90+ people.

5-steps to writing the perfect wedding speech

Step 1: Understand Your Role and Audience Begin by understanding your role in the wedding and the expectations associated with it. Consider your relationship with the couple and the sentiments you want to convey. Additionally, think about the diverse audience attending the wedding and ensure your speech is appropriate, engaging, and inclusive for all.

Step 2: Take time to brainstorm ideas, anecdotes, and key messages you want to include in your speech. Reflect on your experiences with the couple, memorable moments, and qualities you admire about them. Once you have your ideas, create a structured outline to organise your speech, including an introduction, body, and conclusion.

Step 3: Personalise Your Message. Share heartfelt stories and touching moments that highlight the couple’s relationship and your connection to them. Be sincere, authentic, and considerate of the couple’s preferences, avoiding any potentially embarrassing or inappropriate content.

Step 4: Practice and Refine Your Delivery Practice makes perfect! Rehearse your speech multiple times to refine your delivery and build confidence. Pay attention to your tone, pace, and body language, aiming for a natural and engaging delivery. Consider seeking feedback from friends or family members to fine-tune your speech and make any necessary adjustments.

Step 5: Deliver with Confidence and Emotion On the wedding day, take a deep breath, relax, and step up with confidence. Make eye contact with the couple and their guests, and speak from the heart with sincerity and emotion. Remember to pause for laughter, applause, or moments of reflection, and end your speech with a heartfelt toast to the newlyweds’ happiness and future together.

Wedding Speech Templates

So although I said do not copy and paste anything off of the internet for your wedding speeches. I thought I could potentially help kickstart things off by providing a template for you, so that you’re not staring at a blank piece of paper.

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