order of wedding speeches

The order of wedding speeches – traditional or going with the flow

Wedding speeches give family members and friends the opportunity to share their thoughts on the couple. Speakers often narrate interesting and humorous stories about the couple’s relationship and lighten the environment at the wedding. These speeches are an important aspect of the wedding format and most guests look forward to it.

When you plan your wedding, you need to plan the order of wedding speeches as well. You need to give the speakers enough time to say what they want to. You also need to plan the order carefully to ensure no one feels slighted and your guests are entertained rather than bored. We have some tips and suggestions to help you come up with the right plan.

Traditional wedding speech order 

This traditional wedding order is safe, predictable, and easy to implement. You don’t need to think about where the speeches and toasts will fit in because everyone speaks at the right time and for a good reason. Traditional wedding speech order includes:

  1. The Master of Ceremonies – The MC conducts and directs all the entertainment during the wedding reception so they’re usually the first to speak. They welcome everyone to the reception and introduce themselves to the guests. They then introduce the bridal party before introducing the new bride and groom with enthusiasm and happiness. Based on the order of your wedding, the MC will introduce the father of the bride and prompt him to speak.
  2. The father of the bride – The father of the bride takes up the host’s position and speaks just before dinner is set to start and when everyone has settled into their seats. He will introduce the groom, his family, welcome the guests and talk about his daughter and her partner, before offering a toast. After this speech is over, the food is served and guests can indulge in conversation.
  3. The groom – The groom is next in line and his speech comes after everyone has finished eating dinner. The groom’s speech is usually a response to the father’s speech. He can thank the father, the hosts and the guests. Then say a few words about his new bride and toast to the bridesmaids and groomsmen.
  4. Best man – At this point, the best man responds to the toast from the groom on behalf of the bridal party. He then toasts to the bride’s parents.
  5. Bride’s father – The bride’s father will speak again in response to the best man and then toast to the groom’s parents and family. You can include anyone you feel is important to the groom in this toast.
  6. Response from the groom’s parents – The groom’s father will respond to the bride’s father’s toast with a few words of his own and a small speech about his son and new daughter in law.

After this, the MC can read messages and letters sent by people who couldn’t be present at the wedding but wanted their voices to be heard. You can even create a presentation and show these messages instead of reading them.

Non-traditional wedding speech order

You don’t have to stick with tradition if you don’t want to. For example, if the bride’s father can’t speak or the bridesmaid wants to speak, you can alter the format of the event accordingly. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Choose the MC – You don’t need to hire an MC but it’s a good idea to have someone organise the events of the reception and keep things on track. You can choose a friend or family member to act as an MC for the event. Just ensure they have a welcoming personality and can comfortably communicate with the crowd.
  2. Choose the host speaker – The host speaker doesn’t always have to be the bride’s father. It can be the bride’s mother, the groom’s father or anyone the bride considers an important part of her family. The host speaker can thank the guests, the families of the bride and groom, the bridesmaids and groomsmen, and share some interesting stories about the couple.
  3. The bride and groom – At this point, both the bride and the groom can speak about each other, about their relationship, their families and their friends. They can toast to each other and show appreciation for each other through their speech. They can also toast their parents and those who supported them throughout their relationship.
  4. Response – The people who were thanked during the speech can respond after the bride and groom have finished speaking. This can also be the closing speech where the MC thanks everyone for coming to the wedding and supporting the couple.

Things to keep in mind

There are a number of things you should keep in mind before you plan the speaking order and make the needed arrangements.

  1. Verify that people actually want to speak – Some people are uncomfortable speaking to large crowds and will only speak at your wedding if they’re forced to. Try to avoid this by asking people if they’re willing to speak at your wedding before you make your plans.
  2. Hire a professional MC – We mentioned before that you don’t need to hire a professional MC to conduct the event but there are some distinct advantages to taking that step. A professional MC understands how to keep audiences engaged with humour and wit. They’ll also help you arrange the order and prepare the speeches if needed.
  3. Keep room for some flexibility – These speeches can sometimes become spontaneous conversations, so it’s a good idea to ensure the order is flexible and allows people to interact. This is especially true for casual weddings where everyone knows one another.
  4. Set a time – Allot some time for every speech and let the speakers know. This will help them prepare the speech and ensure it doesn’t exceed the time limit.

Consider your entire wedding format carefully and determine where you want to fit the toasts and wedding speeches in. You can also ask a professional wedding planner or people with experience with weddings to help you plan the format.