Thursday, April 9, 2009

Who Speaks When? A Mini-Guide to Wedding Day Speeches

Tap, tap, tap …

Uhm … can you hear me? Can you hear me?

Is this thing on?

Public speaking is one of the most common phobias in the world, yet at some point or another-like your wedding, for instance-people will need to speak.

And this can get scary.

The bride is worried about who speaks when, the speakers are worried about what to say and the guests are worried the bride chose too many speakers and that the speakers will speak too long.

Agh! What should you do?

First, take a deep breath, have a sip of water and imagine everyone around you is naked … feel better?

Now here is a mini-guide to wedding day speeches.

Rehearsal Dinner

1. It is common for the person who is hosting the rehearsal dinner to welcome the guests, say a few words about the couple and mention the uniting of two families. Traditionally this was the groom’s father, but recently the task has fallen to the groom, the bride or another close family member or friend.

This speech is given after everyone is seated and has a glass of their preferred toasting beverage.

2. Sometimes other parents or honor attendants (your maid of honor and best man) prefer to speak at the rehearsal dinner instead of at the wedding reception. This is a personal choice, and a good one, I think if they won’t be speaking at the wedding –you don’t want the same people speaking at both events.

These speeches can be given following the first course or in the middle of dinner, after everyone has begun eating.

3. Since this is normally a casual affair, the bride and groom should consider thanking their parents and wedding attendants and presenting them with gifts during the rehearsal dinner.

The bride and groom can speak just before dessert or at the end of the dinner as a final send-off for their guests.

Wedding Reception

1. The best man usually toasts the couple with a short speech just after the formal blessing but before dinner, after everyone has been served a glass of champagne.

2. If the maid of honor didn’t speak at the rehearsal dinner, she can speak at the wedding reception.

3. Sometimes the father-of-the-bride, or whoever is hosting the event, will speak.

Both the maid of honor and the father-of-the-bride (and additional speeches) can be done in one of several ways.

- The speeches can be given immediately following the best man’s speech.

- The speeches can be given after everyone has been served (or served themselves dinner) and is seated.

- The speeches can be delivered between courses (for a formal dinner).

I prefer to schedule the speeches throughout the night so guests aren’t forced to listen to 10-20 consecutive minutes of wedding speeches.

I also encourage brides to schedule the speeches early in the night before speakers can consume to much liquid courage and to conclude all speeches before the dancing begins, as it will be highly difficult-if not impossible-to regain control of the crowd.

Now, as for what your speakers should say or how they can cope with that public speaking phobia? Here are a few websites you can direct them to …

Free Wedding Toasts

Wedding Speeches


Afraid of Speaking a Speech.Com

Photo courtesy of True Blue Titan


Hannah Noel said...

Thanks for the tips!!

Cherrye Moore said...

You are welcome. Hope they help!