Weddings come in all shapes and sizes but the one thing they all should have in common if they’re going to be a success is structure. Spontaneity can be a wonderful thing, but with weddings it shouldn’t be relied on to carry the day. A key part of the wedding day is the speeches. This is where structure is crucial.
Who Speaks, and When?
The world has changed and families have changed along with it, which means for many people the traditional wedding will have undergone certain customisations to fit in with their plans. This is a good thing, because ultimately a wedding should be a celebration, not an obstacle course. However, there’s nothing wrong with structuring your wedding day in a time-honoured fashion, even if the content is all yours.
So, if you look at what Debrett’s says about weddings the advice about speeches is clear: father of the bride, groom, best man – in that order.
The gender and titles may well change in different circumstances, but you get the general idea of who goes first and who finishes things off.
So, traditionally the father of the bride, or whoever is in the role of giving the bride away, starts the sequence of speeches, usually thanking the guests for attending and the organisers for their work. Some affectionate stories about the bride might follow.
The speech should end with a toast to the bride and groom.
Next up is the groom’s speech. Ideally this can be a bit mushy and heartfelt; about the day itself, how lovely the bride is and a bit about how they met/fell in love. This should include thanks to the guests for attending, the bride’s parents, his/her own parents, the best man/woman for their support, Bridesmaids, Ushers and anyone else who has helped with planning and organising the wedding.
This speech ends with a toast to the bride.
Finally it’s time for the best man’s speech. This may raise a titter of expectation, given the reputation for this as a comedy showstopper, or an absolute car-crash, depending on your viewpoint.
The best man should begin by reading out messages from friends and relatives who are not attending in person.
It’s true that the best man’s speech is largely about the groom, and should then continue with a few amusing anecdotes and embarrassing tales, but getting the tone right is important.
The best man should also include stories about how the couple first met, and add a few compliments to the bride. The aim is to be witty, not shocking.
The speech ends with a toast to the couple, and an announcement of the cutting of the cake, where appropriate.
Notes on Speech Length
Generally, if in doubt, keep things short and sweet. This includes the best man – brevity is the soul of wit, as they say. Again, structure is the key. No one should rely on off-the-cuff improvisation as it rarely works.
Finally, for the purposes of your wedding video, you need to let your videographer know who is speaking when. And don’t worry too much about them, because we always edit them down to the best highlight moments in your film (thought we do give you a full copy as well).I’m Paul Cryer and I specialise in wedding videos in Manchester and across the North West. I’ve lots of experience filming all sorts of wedding ceremonies and I can bring a professional eye to recording your special day, to really capture the essence of your wedding. Get in touch with me via my booking form.