At the wedding reception, certain key members of the wedding party tend to give toasts to the bride and the groom. Before a wedding, you may find yourself wondering “Who gives speeches at weddings?” especially if you’re in the wedding party. Plan ahead to figure out if you’ll be speaking, or to decide who you want to speak on your wedding day.
Typically, the best man and maid of honor give toasts, but more members of your wedding party can speak as well. Figure out who gives wedding speeches before the big day!
Who Gives Speeches at Weddings?
If you haven’t attended many weddings, you may not be prepared for the wedding speeches that come at the reception. Learn in advance if you have to prepare a wedding speech, or consider who you’ll ask to speak at your wedding.
The Best Man
The best man has a long list of responsibilities, and one of them is giving a toast at the wedding ceremony. At weddings, this toast is the most traditional. Guests are sure to be looking forward to the best man’s speech to hear stories about the couple.
The Maid of Honor
Like the best man, the maid of honor has a number of responsibilities in the wedding planning process as well as on the wedding day. Although it isn’t necessary for the maid of honor to give a speech, it’s becoming far more common. The maid of honor will also have fond memories of the couple, so it’s only fair that she can share some of the reasons why the bride and groom are perfect for each other!
If you’re the maid of honor for a friend or family member, prepare to say a few words! You may be asked to say something at the rehearsal dinner as well; ask the bride beforehand to figure out when you’ll be giving a wedding speech!
Since the happy couple won’t toast themselves, their role is to give a short speech if they chose. This speech is an opportunity is welcome guests to the wedding and thank everyone for coming. The married couple can do this together, or one person can give a quick speech. Sometimes, the bride and groom choose to speak at the rehearsal dinner among a smaller group rather than at the wedding itself.
Who is hosting the wedding? If one set of parents is hosting the wedding, they are usually the ones to give a speech or toast. The parents should also welcome guests and thank them all for attending the wedding.
Alternatively, all the parents can stand up for a toast and say a few short words or have one person speak for them. As part of the speech, the parents will also congratulate the couple and give them their best wishes!
Ultimately, it’s up to you who speaks at your wedding. If you want more wedding speeches, you can ask additional family members or members of the wedding party to speak. You can also open up speeches to all of your guests, but this risks unwanted or inappropriate speeches and can drag on the wedding speech portion of the night.
The best practice is to ask all of your speech givers in advance to prepare a few words, and restrict your wedding speeches to those asked.
Wedding Speech Order
Now that you know who gives toasts at the wedding, it’s time to think about the order of toasts at a wedding reception. This is somewhat flexible, so don’t be afraid to break tradition and do what feels best for your reception.
The best man usually gives the first toast, but if you choose to include a welcome speech at your ceremony, the first speech will fall to either the couple or the parents of the couple. A welcome speech should be given early during the ceremony once all the guests arrive.
After the welcome speech, festivities really kick off! So what’s next? The best man typically gives the first toast, followed by the maid of honor. The couple can toast each other or give a short speech to thank their guests. The parents of the couple are the last to give a speech or toast, but if the parents already gave a welcome speech, it isn’t necessary for them to give a second toast.
The best time for toasts is after the meal has been served. This way, there are fewer people moving around and they can focus their attention on whoever is giving a toast. Plus, it’ll be easier to get everyone’s attention. Although this is the optimal time for the best man and maid of honor, the couple or parents may speak earlier at the reception, especially if they make a welcome speech.
How to Give a Wedding Speech
Not sure how to make a toast? With all the guests’ eyes on you, making a wedding toast can seem daunting, but if you plan ahead, your toast will go smoothly and be a huge hit! Once you have everyone’s attention, you can begin your speech. If everyone’s still chatting away, use a glass or tap the microphone. You wouldn’t want to start your speech and catch everyone off guard.
When you start your toast, make sure you briefly introduce yourself and your connection to the happy couple. Keep your speech focused on cheerful memories or how the couple met. Tell personal stories that focus on the bride and groom. Although you have the mic, don’t make the speech about your relationship with the newlyweds. It’s their day, and you’re at the wedding to celebrate them!
If you want to add a few jokes in your toast, go ahead! You can keep your speech more humorous or emotional, depending on what your style is, but stay away from bringing up anyone’s exes. When you wrap up your speech, don’t forget to congratulate the couple and wish them a bright future.
Preparing a speech takes time, so make sure you set aside a couple hours to write one. It may take a few drafts to get the speech just right, but it’s worth it to see the couples’ faces light up and the guests fully engaged. Once the couple has asked you to give a speech, start thinking about it right away so you have time to think of the best stories and memories. At the reception, bring up a slip of paper with the entire speech or main points so you don’t forget anything while being caught up in the excitement!
How Long Should a Wedding Toast Be?
It might be tempting to include all the funny and heart-warming stories you know about the couple, but remember to keep your toast short and brief! A few minutes is more than enough to express your love for the couple and congratulate them.
Do your best to keep your toast under five minutes. Even a two to three minute speech can be thoughtful and delightful. The couple and the guests (and you!) are all at the wedding to celebrate, not to listen to toasts. With just a few short minutes, you can tell a story or two that will leave a great impression on everyone at the reception. Then, everyone can continue enjoying themselves by mingling and dancing! If you’re unsure about how long your toast should be, ask the couple for tips or a guideline.
If you’re the best man, maid of honor, or parents of the couple, be prepared to give a toast. Although these are the people who traditionally give toasts and make speeches, you don’t need to strictly limit yourself to these people. If you feel someone else in your wedding party or another close relative would give a wonderful speech, don’t hesitate to ask!
By keeping speeches focused on the happy couple and short and sweet, you’re sure to leave your mark on the wedding.
This page may contain affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, we'll earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you.