The Order of Wedding Speeches Explained

Confused about the order of speeches at a wedding? We explain who goes first and why, and when the speeches take place


If you’re nervous about the wedding speeches, it’s important to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possibly. This includes being organised about the order of the wedding speeches. We explain the order they go in and why it’s that way…

Usually the wedding speeches take place after dinner, with the father of the bride occasionally giving his before the meal, but increasingly couples are choosing to mix it up. It might be that you decide to do the speeches before the wedding breakfast so the speech-givers can then relax and enjoy the meal, or have a speech between each course so the guests don’t have to listen to a solid block of speeches.

Best man giving a speech - order of wedding speeches

The traditional order of wedding speeches goes as follows:

Father of the Bride

The father of the bride speech usually kicks things off – especially if the parents of the bride have contributed a considerable amount towards the wedding or even paid for the whole thing. It gives him a chance to welcome the guests he is hosting and thank everyone for coming. He also can welcome the groom into the family and lead the toasts to absent friends and family, before toasting the newlyweds.

The father of the bride should tell some heartfelt stories about the bride and sing her praises, but don’t forget to mention the groom too and why you think they’re such a great couple.

The Groom

The father of the bride’s speech leads into the groom’s speech. Part of the groom’s speech-making duties include responding to the toast made by the father of the bride to the newlywed and to thank the bride’s parents, if they are hosting the wedding. He should also express gratitude to his own parents.

He should also thank the bride’s family for making him feel welcome. The groom will also be expected to thank the key members of the wedding party and to give out any thank you gifts, as well as compliment the bridesmaids. He should also say at least a few words about his new bride!

Read more: 11 top tips for making the perfect groom’s speech

The Best Man

The best man’s speech finishes things off – no pressure! He is expected to give a few anecdotes about the groom – but remember to take the audience into consideration when decided which stories to tell. It’s polite to also mention the bride – but don’t give her a roasting the way you would for the groom. Part of the best man’s role also includes reading out messages from absent friends and family, if there are any.

READ MORE: We Reveal The Most Popular Wedding Poem

The best man’s speech is traditionally expected to deliver the laughs so be sure to add in a few classic best man jokes.

Read more: 21 funny introductions for the best man’s speech

When organising your speeches, whether you stick to the traditional order or not, there are a few important things to consider.

- Think about how the person before you will end their speech – if they let you know, you can then alter your speech so it starts referencing the ending of theirs.

- Ask the person before you to introduce you – this saves you from having to clumsily introduce yourself to the room and lets you know when it’s ok to start your speech.

- Ask the other speech-givers what jokes and toasts they plan on including in their speeches – that way you can make sure you don’t repeat them and can mix it up a bit so you can do different ones.

- The same goes for anecdotes, particularly if there is more than one best man or if the father of the bride is a bit of a character. You don’t want to bore the guests by repeating familiar stories.

Don’t miss our guide to managing wedding speech nerves if you feel stressed about giving your speech.


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