The wedding is over, the reception is in full swing, and one of the most-anticipated moments of the day is almost here: The toasts and speeches. If you’ve been asked to toast the lucky couple, make sure you follow a few rules of etiquette in order to make your speech an enjoyable experience for everyone at the wedding reception.
Father of the Bride
If the bride’s parents paid for the wedding, it’s customary for the father of the bride to give the first speech. It can also be given by the mother, or the groom’s parents, or whatever circumstances may dictate.
The father of the bride should begin by welcoming and thanking the groom’s family and all the guests for attending. The next portion of the speech should reminisce about his daughter and then speak kindly of the groom, welcoming the joining of the two families. Slight teasing is permitted here, but nothing off-color or awkward. He should end by offering a toast to the newlyweds.
First and foremost, the groom should thank the father of the bride (or the appropriate person) for the wedding and the toast. Specifics about money shouldn’t be mentioned, but love and support should.
Then the groom should thank his own parents and thank all of the guests for attending and for the wedding gifts. He should also express his love for his wife.
Finally, he should thank his groomsmen and the bridesmaids for all they’ve done over the past few months. Although not traditional, the bride may speak after the groom.
The best man’s speech is traditionally considered the keynote address, so it is a bit more than a toast. The most important thing to remember is to speak from the heart, with an anecdote or two to express how much the groom means to you. He should thank the couple on behalf of the groomsmen and offer a toast to their parents.
It’s not considered rude for a best man to use notes. Whether the wedding is formal or informal, this is not the time for dirty jokes or rude comments. Those can be used for the bachelor party. Try to keep the speech from 2 to 3 minutes long, and no more than 5 minutes. Write the speech the week before and practice saying it out loud.