Wedding Etiquette

Best Men

Wedding Etiquette and Speeches – Who is responsible for doing what?

Organising a wedding is a daunting task, organizing a wedding abroad can be more stressful. 

Whilst we, your wedding planners, are busy taking care of things this end the Bride and Groom still have a lot of work to do at home in the lead up to their special day.

So rather than taking on all the responsibilities why not have your Bridal party help you.

The fun part is in shopping for the dress, shoes, choosing the colours, booking the honeymoon.So here is a little list to help you assign some tasks to relevant family members and friends and get them more involved in your wedding day.

Bride & Groom

The Bride decides on her dress and the bridesmaids’ attire, while the Groom selects the best man, buys the wedding rings and together with his Bride choose the honeymoon destination. 

They can also buy gifts for the parents, bridesmaids, best man and ushers as a token of gratitude. 

It’s very common now for the Bride and Groom together to make all the other decisions about their wedding (this was traditionally assigned to the Bride’s Mother in conjunction with the Groom’s Mother)

Best Man

The best man is the Groom’s right hand man, who ensures that the Bridegroom gets to the Church on time.

He is also responsible for arranging the Stag party and making sure that no harm comes to the groom.

At the Reception it is the best man’s honour to announce the Bride & Groom to their table (in the absence of a Toastmaster).

Bride & bridesmaids

Chief Bridesmaid

The Chief Bridesmaid helps the Bride choose her dress and the bridesmaids’ dresses.

She also arranges the Hen party and has as much responsibility as the best man in making sure that the Bride is safe. 

The Chief Bridesmaid will also help the Bride dress on her wedding day and generally assist where needed.

Bride’s Father & Mother

Traditionally the Bride’s father would give her away and the Bride’s mother is in charge of all the proceedings.

However, in this day and age most couples take charge of all the arrangements themselves and parents are usually happy to let this happen.

Toasts and Speeches

Speeches would normally take place at the end of the meal and coincide with the cutting and serving of the wedding cake. 

However, in recent years this has also changed and most couples prefer to have the speeches before the meal is served, as this way the Bridal party can enjoy their meal without nervously waiting to speak.Regardless of when speeches take place, the following is the usual order of proceedings….The formal order of speakers is as follows.  Normally each speaker is announced by the Best Man:

Father of the Bride (or a close family friend)

The Groom

The Best Man

If the bride, chief bridesmaid or guests want to speak, that’s acceptable too.

Who says what

Father of the bride or friend of the family

Thanks the guests for coming and sharing in the special day.

Compliments and praises his daughter and welcomes her new husband into the family.

Toasts the bride and groom.

Bridegroom

Thanks the father of the bride for his toast.

Thanks the guests for attending and for their gifts.

Thanks both sets of parents.

Compliments his bride.

Thanks his best man.

Thanks and toasts the bridesmaids.

Best Man

Comments on the bride and particularly the groom.

Reads any messages from absent friends.

Toasts the bride and groom.

Thanks and toasts the bridesmaids.

Bride

Thanks the guests for coming.

Thanks her parents and bridesmaids.

Compliments the groom.

Proposes a toast.

Planning your speech

Decide whether you want to write out the speech in full and read it word for word, memorise it completely or make a list of points as a prompt.

Remember that your speech needs to be make sense to everyone present, in some cases guests may not know the bride and groom very well.

Keep your speech quite brief, especially if you are nervous of speaking in front of family and friends. 

Remember not all reception venues will have microphone facilities. Sometimes it is better to speak without the aid of a microphone because most people are not accustomed to their use.

A little humour

If you are a naturally funny person then you are more likely to incorporate jokes into your speech without too much difficulty, if not then you may feel better with a humorous anecdote or two.  Remember to keep it “clean” so as not to offend anyone.

Making speech notes

Write down the key words of sentences, remembering to include important dates or names.

If you prefer to write out the speech in full remember that you will be speaking it aloud, so make it obvious where pauses should go.

Write your speech out clearly, or type it leaving a space between each line, making it easier to read.

Always make a copy of the speech. Give a copy to your Wedding Planner or Best man who will make sure it is delivered to the Reception venue, just in case!

Practice

Practice your speech by reading it aloud over and over again!

Start by reading it aloud to yourself, and then in front of a mirror to get an idea of how you will look and sound to the guests.

Finally practice your speech in front of a friend who can let you know how it sounds. Guaranteed to have some fun at this stage.

Stand while you practice and imagine looking at the people you are referring to and the rest of the guests.

Try to smile occasionally and speak slower than you would in normal conversation.

Don't speak over any noise, as the next thing you say will be drowned.

On the big day

Try not to let the speech overpower the day and stop you enjoying the occasion.

Avoid too much alcohol before your speech, it may give you “Dutch courage” but won’t help you.

Remember to speak slowly. If you feel yourself racing away, stop, take a deep breath and then continue.

At the end of your speech propose a toast. Ask your guests to stand to drink the toast, then sit as they sit, after the toast.