Order of wedding speeches

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The best man needs to know when to make his speech
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The order of wedding speeches is important for the flow of your reception

You have crossed every “T” and dotted every “I” when it comes to planning your wedding and reception. You are super organized and want everything to be perfect.

Wait a second! In your planning, have you given any thought to wedding speeches? For example, who says what and when?

This may seem like a minor detail but you might as well plan this in advance as you did everything else. Before the wedding, determine the order of speeches. toasts and when they will be given and by whom.

Wedding speeches or toasts have been a tradition since the time of the ancient Romans and Greeks but for a different reason than why they are done today The Greeks were afraid of being poisoned and everyone was suspect. Therefore, when a celebration was held, of which toasts were a part, everyone would drink from the same vessel. After that, everyone would pour a bit of their wine into the person’s cup next to them. This is how they ensured that there wasn’t any monkey business at play.

Toast actually comes from the word “tostus,” which is Latin and means roasted or parched. That comes from the Romans dropping burnt toast into their drink to get rid of the nasty stuff in the wine. Toast came to mean to salute with a drink.

According to Martha Stewart, the wedding guru, the bride’s father should be the first to speak. He welcomes the groom’s family into his family and thanks the guests. He acknowledges, of course, the newlyweds.

After the bride’s father speaks, the best man gives his speech and toasts the newlyweds, followed by the maid of honor. The first toast is traditionally given by the best man. At this point, if anyone else wants to speak, it’s their turn.

The groom is considered the “closer.” He addresses his new bride, thanks those in attendance and then announces, “Let’s dance,” if dancing is part of the reception.

Traditionally, the bride is silent but nowadays brides often give speeches and toasts.

If the reception is a seated dinner, the bride’s father should welcome the guests and give a speech as the guests are sitting down. At the end of the main course is the appropriate time for the remainder of speeches to be given.

If you have a buffet reception, the best time for the father of the bride, who is considered the host, to speak is during the transition time between the cocktail hour and dinner. He acknowledges the newlyweds, the groom’s parents and the guests.

The groom and then the bride can speak together or separately, raising a glass to their wedding party as well as to their guests. Or they can choose to do this after they’ve cut the wedding cake.

At the rehearsal dinner, the night before the big event, anyone can speak but it’s important that the hosts of the dinner, the groom’s parents, say something.

If you aren’t a traditionalist and aren’t concerned about etiquette you can let the chips fall where they may. However, if you want a semblance of order, consider this: The best man gives his speech followed by the maid or matron of honor. The father of the bride then gives his toasts followed by the groom’s parents. After that, the groom speaks and then the bride.

Others who may want to chime in include guests of honors, such as the bridesmaids or groomsmen. Also included are the bride and groom’s siblings, co-workers, cousins, best friends and the person who officiated at the wedding ceremony.

The toasts or speeches can be written in advance or the speakers can wing it. The choice is yours. Just don’t say anything out-of-line that is going to embarrass the bride or groom. Best men have a knack for doing that and it’s not appreciated.

Speakers should follow this rule: Keep It Short and Sweet (which is called the KISS method.)

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