Welcome to hitched speeches. There are three generally accepted speeches usual to a wedding reception. They are: father of the bride's speech, the groom's speech and lastly the best man's speech.
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It is the best man's duty to respond to this toast on behalf of the bridesmaids, his speech should be light hearted and fun. It should be the highlight of the reception and it is very often his ability to make this particular speech, with humour and interest, that is the deciding chapter on the selection of the best man (no pressure then!).
The bride's father should be called upon by the toastmaster (or the best man) to propose a toast of 'health and happiness to the bride and groom'. Before doing so he would normally welcome the groom's parents, relatives of both families, any other guests and welcome the groom to his family and say a few words about his daughter.
The groom replies on behalf of himself and his bride, taking the opportunity to thank his parents. He will also take this opportunity on behalf of his wife and himself to thank all those present for their gifts. Any close members of the family who could not attend the wedding because of illness, should be wished for a speedy recovery.
To conclude, the groom will propose the toast of the bridesmaids, and thank them for a job well done, he may also present them with a small gift as a token of their appreciation.
It is now quite common for the bride to say a few words on her wedding day, especially if someone close to her could not be present, or if she would like to express her feelings about her entourage, the day or her new husband.