What is the order of speeches at a wedding?

While there is a tried and tested order for wedding speeches at traditional weddings, this may not work for same-sex couples. Here's why it's important to speak up and do your wedding speeches your way...

What order do speeches go in at a wedding?

Bride and groom hand in hand after outdoor wedding ceremony

Speeches are a cherished wedding day tradition, allowing the newlyweds and their loved ones to express their devotion and gratitude on such a joyous occasion. There is indeed a tried and tested format for wedding speeches at traditional weddings, however this may not work for same-sex couples. Many modern couples, regardless of gender, are now choosing to set their own wedding speech agenda allowing them to speak up in their own personal way. 

It’s important to remember that the guide below is a suggestion only and follows the traditional order of wedding speeches, but your special day should be celebrated in your own unique way. So, we strongly encourage you to have your speeches in whatever way works for you as a couple. Let’s dive in…

Traditionally, who does speeches at a wedding?

Father of the bride walking the bride in to the wedding ceremony

The father of the bride/groom speech

The wedding speeches typically begin with the father of the bride speech. This is usually a heartfelt, emotional tribute to the bride (or groom). The father may also share some words of wisdom for the happy couple and wish them a successful marriage.

The father of the bride’s speech includes:

  • A welcome to all guests, thanking them for attending
  • Compliments to the bride (or groom) with some personal anecdotes
  • Welcoming the new spouse into the family
  • Thanking the new spouse for caring for his offspring
  • A toast to the newlyweds

The groom’s speech 

The father of the bride’s (or groom’s) speech typically leads into the groom’s speech. This is an opportunity for him to express his love for his partner, as well as thanking various members of the wedding party.

The groom’s speech should:

  • Respond to the father of the bride’s/groom’s toast
  • Thank the guests for attending, as well as both sets of parents
  • Compliment their partner and share cherished memories of their relationship 
  • Express thanks and raise a glass to the bridesmaids

The best man’s speech

The best man’s speech is typically one of the most anticipated moments of the wedding reception. He is usually expected to deliver the laughs and share humorous anecdotes about the groom.

The best man’s speech may feature:

  • An introduction of himself and his relationship to the couple
  • A tribute to the bride, remarking how happy she makes the groom
  • Funny stories about the groom and memories of their relationship
  • Messages from absent friends or family members
  • Words of advice and a final toast to the happy couple

Other speakers

At same sex weddings, both partners may choose to deliver a speech, as well as both sets of parents: the only restrictions to the wedding speech format might be time! In traditional heterosexual weddings, other speakers may include the bride (bride speeches are increasingly becoming more commonplace), the maid of honour, the mother of the bride, other members of the wedding party, or close friends.

How long should the speeches be at a wedding?

Bride and groom listening to speeches

As Sir Richard Branson famously remarked, “most of what anybody has to say of great note can fit on one side of paper”. 

The wedding speeches section of the reception should last no longer than 40 minutes, with 20-30 minutes being the most popular length. You can then determine the individual speech lengths by the number of speakers. For example, if you’re only looking to include two or three speeches, each speech could last for up to 10 minutes each. However, if there are many members of the wedding party who wish to make a speech, you may need to cut down the length.

When is the best time for wedding speeches?

Bride and groom cutting their wedding cake

The speeches traditionally occur during the wedding reception, either before or after dinner. The best time for wedding speeches depends on your individual schedule. Timing is key here, as you want to ensure you have your guests’ full attention and that they remain engaged throughout the entire duration of the speeches. 

Many couples choose to conduct the speeches after the wedding breakfast. This way, guests will be fed, watered and relaxed before the speeches begin. Alternatively, you could choose to break the speeches up and have one between each course and even at the cutting of the cake. Speak to your venue and caterers to ensure this is doable, as you want meals to remain hot in the case of speeches overrunning.

What makes a good wedding toast speech?

Groomsmen helping the groom put on his buttonhole

Preparation is key

As with anything in life, preparation is key to wedding speech success. Don’t be afraid to ask the newlyweds what information they are comfortable with you sharing, including any sensitive subjects they would like you to avoid. Make sure you then allow enough time to write, edit and review your speech with a friend ahead of the big day.

Speak from the heart

Any wedding speech should be original, heartfelt and carefully curated for the occasion. Personal anecdotes and signs of emotions will resonate with the audience. Therefore, it’s important to make sure your words are sincere and come directly from the heart.

Stay true to yourself

You should always play to your individual strengths when writing a wedding speech. If you are renowned for being funny, make sure you include plenty of jokes and amusing stories. But don’t force this if you are not comfortable with sharing jokes, as the delivery could appear awkward.

Practice makes perfect

Make sure you rehearse your speech multiple times to get comfortable with the material, and public speaking in general. It could be a good idea to have your notes available as a backup. However, you want to avoid reading directly from your notebook or phone as this can look unnatural.

Give the perfect delivery at our Cotswold barn wedding venue

Wedding guests cheering at their tables

Say your heartfelt tributes at our picture-perfect barn wedding in the Cotswolds. With a beautiful ceremony space, a bustling reception area and even overnight accommodation, our traditional 18th Century Cotswold barn is the ideal setting for an intimate and personal wedding day. Get in touch today to start planning your dream barn wedding in the Cotswolds!



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