The Wedding Toasts and Speeches
Etiquette for success
By Natalie Tsang
October 13, 2011
Back in the day
Traditionally, weddings have three speeches. The first speech is given by the bride's father, family friend, or a relative. The speech introduces the bride to the groom's family, and talks about the relationship between the bride and groom. It ends with a toast to the bride and groom. The second speech is given by the bridesgroom, which ends by thanking the guests for attending and proposing a toast to the attendants. The third speech introduces the groom to the bride's family and is given by the best man. These speeches came from a time when it was expected that the bride's family pay for the wedding and that the bride was financially dependent on the groom.
Many receptions still follow this general format, but often the bride and maid of honor also chime in. The bride will share the responsibility of thanking guests with the groom; the maid of honor will also help the best man introduce the groom.The basic structure of the speeches still follows this order. The first speech introduces the bride's family, the second thanks the guests and wedding attendants, and the third introduces the groom's family.
What do you do
The people who give toasts should be informed about the makeup of the guests and general atmosphere of the wedding. An overly formal speech is awkward at a casual reception, while a speech that is too open about you or your groom's college exploits can be downright terrible. While it may be awkward to ask to read the speeches beforehand, encourage your speech givers to talk to someone and get feedback. One of the serious social faux pas of the speeches is forgetting to thank someone. On the flip side, speeches can get boring from repetition. If you and your fiance choose to give a speech together, it will have to be coordinated.