It’s happening more and more in the world of weddings – and we absolutely LOVE it when brides pick up that mic. If you decide to give your own speech, we salute you, dear bride! And the great news is – you’re pretty much free to do as you like, as there’s no rulebook.How is it different?The bride’s wedding speech is still a little bit unexpected. Usually, it’s the three guys who speak – the father of the bride, the groom, and then the best man. There are certain expectations – like dad will be emotional and will mention his ‘little girl’, the groom will be a bit nervous (probably because he knows what’s coming next), and the best man will be funny or even merciless. But the bride? Nobody knows where that could go, so you can be funny, or romantic, or simply grateful – whatever you wish. Say what you feel and it’ll be great.To prepare or not to prepare?It depends. If all you want to say is a few words of love and thanks, then you may find it easier to simply speak from the heart and say what’s on your mind at that very moment. But, if there’s more, then it’s probably best to write it down, at least in point form, to make sure you don’t miss anything.When does the bride speak?There are no set rules, but if you’re replacing someone else (for example, your dad), then it makes sense to speak when he would have, which is first. Or, you could speak to the others and agree on the best order. Most of the time, the best man’s speech comes last, so you may like to keep it that way to simplify things.
Photo from Philippa & Conor’s real wedding by Wanderley Massafelli, Massafelli Photography
Can the bride’s wedding speech replace someone else’s?Absolutely! If your other half is terrified of public speaking, swoop in and save the day. Same goes for best man. Sure, the best man’s speech is what usually gets the most attention – but we’ve been to weddings where only the bride and the chief bridesmaid spoke – and it was fantastic, not a dry eye in the house!Simply ask your dad and your other half ‘are you nervous about your speech?’ They’ll tell you how they feel. And if you’re absolutely sure you want to give your own speech, then suggest this alternative and see what they think.I want to make a proper big speech – what to do?We’ve already shared advice on how to write a speech the easy way – so go right ahead! As always, it’s best to start writing early so you have plenty of time to get it perfect. When you think you have it down to the length and content you like, read it out loud to yourself and time it. You’ll see right away if you need to trim a few more sentences, and which bits seem to go on a little too long. Three minutes is ideal, and try to have no more than five.
Photo from Jennifer & Luc’s real wedding by Emma Russell Photography
Should I mention people who couldn’t be with us?Yes – you may be the best person, in fact. If the other speech-givers bank on humour (the best man will for sure), then mentioning the dearly beloved and moving on to jokes may not be the most graceful thing to do. Feel free to do it yourself and mention the people you miss.Should I thank my new spouse’s parents?It would be wonderful if you do! You could say how grateful you are for their warm welcome, and to be joining their family. You may even raise the first toast in their honour – it’ll make them feel great.What if I get nervous?As you may have already heard, professionals who speak at conferences and other big events recommend you imagine everyone in the room only in their underwear. Will that work at a wedding? Probably not. Instead, remember everyone in the room is your friend, loves you, cares about you, and is so happy to have been invited. You’ll literally never have a better audience in your entire life.
Photo from Emily & David’s real wedding by DKPHOTO
Here are a few bride speech don’ts:
Don’t download a ready-made bride speech from the internet, especially if it’s heavy on the joke side. Chances are, it’s made the email rounds to at least some of the guests, so they’ll be thinking ‘this sounds awfully familiar…’Don’t make it long. Five minutes is an absolute maximum – in fact, keep it to three or less, if others are also speaking (like the best man and your dad).Don’t forget to thank the people who personally contributed to your wedding – parents, DIYers, friend who baked the cake, etc.Don’t forget to mention your newly-wed spouse! The speech is a personal thing so it’s only natural to talk about yourself and your feelings – but if the love of your life doesn’t get a mention, it’ll be like famous people not thanking their significant others at the Oscars… the newspapers will be in a frenzy the very next day.And finally, the alternative:If you’d like to say a few words, but you feel far more comfortable in front of just family and friends, do it at the rehearsal or day after celebrations with your loved ones. To make it easy, keep it to genuine thanks – most people who are there will have helped with the wedding one way or another.Photo from Melissa & Ralph’s real wedding organised by Algarve Weddings by RebeccaMain photo from Louise & Joe’s real wedding by The Fennells
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If you think the bride should always have the last word, then Rachel is on your side! A devoted fan of everything quirky, unusual, colourful or crafty, she loves scouting WOL's real weddings for unique and fun touches. When not gazing at pictures, she's dispensing no-nonsense advice on everything from reception entrance songs to bridesmaid problems.