Who Gives a Speech at a Wedding?

Who gives a speech at a wedding? As a professional vow and speech writer, I often get asked this exact question.

It can be overwhelming but this guide will help. Now you can easily reference who you should ask to step up to the mic and speak at your wedding. 

Who should I ask to speak at my wedding?

Traditionally, the maid of honor and best man give a toast at the reception, just before dinner is served. 

It’s also common for at least one parent to give a speech. 

How long should the wedding speeches last?

All of your wedding speeches combined should last no longer than 20 minutes. Otherwise you’ll have hungry guests and the rest of your wedding reception timeline will be affected. No one wants their time on the dancefloor stripped away from them because the best man spoke for too long. 

If you plan to have three or more people speaking, be sure to communicate a time limit for their speeches. It’s totally acceptable for you to notify each person that they have three to five minutes for their wedding toast.

Do the maid of honor and best man have to give a wedding speech? 

While it is common for the maid of honor and best man to give a wedding speech, it’s not required. 

There are several reasons why you might want to ask someone else to give a speech at your wedding. 

For example, I’ve worked with brides and grooms who know that their best man or maid of honor would give a very inappropriate speech. In this case, they ask them to speak at their bachelor or bachelorette party. Then they have another friend or favorite cousin to speak at the wedding. 

Sometimes the maid of honor or best man have a debilitating fear of public speaking. In this situation, toss the toast-making responsibility to another wedding party member who shines in the spotlight.

Should my mom or dad give a speech at my wedding? 

Historically, the father of the bride prepares a wedding toast. This is partially because in many cultures, the father of the bride pays for the wedding. 

Because of this, he is seen as the host. As a host, the father of the bride gives a toast to thank guests for attending his daughter’s wedding.

However, like with many wedding traditions these days, toast etiquette is something you can play with and make it your own. 

The father of the bride does not need to give a toast. There are many weddings where the bride’s father is not present or where there isn’t even a bride. 

You can ask any of your parents to say a few words. It does not matter if it’s the father of the bride, mother of the bride, father of the groom, or mother of the groom—you decide who should give a toast.

To make it easier, choose one parent from each side to speak for three to six minutes at your reception. You can even leave it up to the parents to decide who makes the toast. 

Can my parents give a speech together?

It is more common for one parent to represent his or her side of the family. However, parents can give a wedding speech together. 

Be aware of potential challenges though. 

For example, when two people speak together, the speeches tend to go on for much longer. Just because two people are speaking, this does not mean the speech should be twice as long. The wedding toast should still be between three to six minutes. 

Also, if two people are giving one toast, they need to make sure each person has equal speaking parts. Otherwise, it can feel and look disjointed for one person to do the majority of the speaking. 

Should the bride or the groom give a speech at their own wedding?

The short answer? Yes! You are the guests of honor. It’s a nice touch to have at least one person from the couple say a few words. 

bride thanks guests in her wedding speech.jpg

Here is an example of an outline you can reference for your bride or groom speech:

Address your guests: John and I are so thankful to share this special day with the people we love most. 

Communicate what their presence means to you: Everyone of you has shown us love, support, and encouragement. Today would not be the same without you here.

Create a closing: We can only hope to feel as much love in our marriage as we feel in this room tonight. Cheers to you all! 

Who can speak at the rehearsal dinner? 

The rehearsal dinner should have one or two speeches. If the father or the mother of the groom would like to give a toast, this is an ideal time for them to speak since the groom’s parents are traditionally responsible for hosting the rehearsal. 

You can also use the rehearsal as an opportunity to ask anyone close to you to speak. 

Since this event tends to be more casual than the wedding reception, have fun with speeches. Set aside 20 to 30 minutes for “open speeches.” Guests can take turns at the mic during this designated period of time. 

Guests don’t feel the pressure of preparing for a big speech while still getting to share a special story about the couple. Plus, the open bar usually helps to get those creative juices flowing for guests.

Does the mother of the groom give a speech at the wedding or at the rehearsal dinner?

She is not required to give a speech. However, mother of the groom speeches are becoming much more popular. Do you already have three to four people speaking at your wedding reception?

Another option is to have the mother of the groom speak at the rehearsal dinner. This is especially nice if the groom’s parents are hosting the rehearsal. 

Who should not speak at my wedding?

Make a short list of people who you are certain that you do not want to speak at your rehearsal or your wedding reception. 

This can include anyone. From your wildcard uncle who veers on the side of inappropriate to your father who you have been estranged from for most of your life—write them all down. 

Next, design a wedding that does not give anyone on your list an opportunity at the microphone. 

This is your wedding. It’s completely up to you who you want to give a wedding speech. 

I’ve been asked to give a wedding speech and I need help!

Have you been selected as one of the lucky few people to give a wedding speech? I can feel your stress and anxiety from here. 

As a wedding toast expert, I’m here to help you ghostwire your maid of honor toast, best man toast, and parent speeches

Reach out now to see how we can best work together.