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Bride Speech

The Modern Bride Speech Guide

Like a free bar stocked with Bollinger, a bride’s speech is guaranteed to get the guests smiling.

It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shout about how goddamn gorgeous your new spouse is and a chance to thank your friends and family for a lifetime of love.

The Speechy team are TV scriptwriters by trade and after writing speeches for hundreds of amazing brides around the world, we’re rated ‘excellent’ on Trustpilot

And, as the authors of ‘The Modern Couple’s Guide to Wedding Speeches’, we have all the advice you need to write & deliver a great bride’s speech.*

* Of course, if you’re looking for more than ‘advice’, check out our bride templatespeech edit, or bespoke service. Or, work with our new AI-powered team member –SpeechyAI!

bride speech jokes

Bride Speech Etiquette

Good news; wedding speech etiquette isn’t as regulated as it once was. 

You don’t need to go posh and formal, or address your mates as ‘ladies and gentlemen’. A simple ‘Hello, everyone’ can feel more natural and set a more conversational tone. 

Of course, you don’t want your speech to be a repeat of your other half’s. You don’t want them to stake their claim on all the good stories and leave you with the boring ‘speech to dos’.

Check out Rock My Wedding’s Etiquette Guide to get a sense of what he should be covering, so you don’t get left with the ‘speech-scraps’. (*And if you’re marrying a woman, check out our lesbian bride etiquette guide).

wedding speech mature bride advice

1 - What should a bride speech include?

Well, ultimately, that’s up to you but, generally, your speech should…

  • make all the guests feel welcome
  • give thanks to the important people
  • make your man feel properly loved
  • entertain everyone and get them in the mood to party

Here’s what the experts say…

  • ‘Almost all other elements of the wedding have become more bespoke, with couples opting to do things ‘their way’. No wonder more brides are grabbing the wedding mic.

Your speech is a chance to celebrate the person who means the most to you in the world and a rare opportunity to tell all the people you love how cool you think they are.’ Zoe Williams, Editor at Hitched; The Knot Worldwide

  • ‘The speeches make sure the couple speaks to everyone in a non-religious and genuine way. They’re crucial in making sure everyone feels connected to the newlyweds, and let’s face it, everyone wants to hear from the bride on the day.’ Claire Wetton, Speechy Wedding Speechwriter and TV scriptwriter

 

wedding speeches bride help write my speech

2 - Who should a bride thank?

One of the main reasons so many brides want to give a speech is to thank people. Great idea, but please don’t let your speech turn into a tedious thank you list. Like the groom and the best man, you want to entertain people too. 

The thank yous are important but DON’T… 

  • end up thanking half your guest list
  • individually thank people who have travelled far
  • thank anyone you’ve paid. (Your venue and caterers would prefer a good online review, and even if your wedding planner has gone above and beyond, only pay a public thank you if you’re confident you’re going to be besties in ten years time).

The truth is, thanks yous can be boring if you’re not being personally thanked (that’s why Oscar winners only get 45 seconds to give their acceptance speech these days).

Our advice is to be concise and considered with your thanks. Give a heartfelt thank you to everyone for coming but the only consider namechecking the top tier wedding squad… 

  • your parents (& step parents)
  • your in-laws
  • your maid of honour & bridesmaids
  • (the best man & ushers, depending on whether or not the groom will be covering this)
  • any children you and your groom already have

As well as keeping your thanks succinct, make sure they’re entertaining and meaningful. Resist the usual platitudes and cliches.

Rather than thanking your parents for ‘making me the woman I am today’, thank them for believing it was your brother who broke that window, and the dog who knocked over the red wine at Christmas…. ‘Thank you for being the most loving, supportive and, crucially, GULLIBLE parents imaginable’.

wedding speech father of the bride

3 - Should a bride give thank you gifts?

If you’re planning on giving thank you gifts to any of the wedding party, we recommend saying you’ll be ‘personally handing them out later’ so it doesn’t disrupt the flow of your speech and the guests aren’t tempted to start checking their WhatsApp messages.

No matter how well you plan it, delivering gifts during anyone’s speech results in an awkward moment. 

wedding speech groom speech gifts

4 - Does the bride pay tribute to absent friends & the dearly departed?

No need to mention any of your friends or family who haven’t been able to make it (unless they’re watching online). 

When it comes to the ‘dearly departed’, this depends on how raw the emotions are. 

If it’s a parent or someone very close to you has recently died, we advise paying a meaningful tribute to them in the week leading up to the wedding. This is so the disappointment of them not being there on the big day, has already been acknowledged. Even if it’s just a casual dinner with family or a walk to one of their favourite spots with your partner, let the tears flow before you’re standing up, delivering your speech in front of everyone. 

On the day, be careful not to turn your speech into a eulogy. Instead, pay a tribute to your loved one by putting a smile on everyone’s face. 

Could the guests join you in a toast to your father by drinking his favourite malt whisky? Or could you point out your bouquet was made from your gran’s favourite flowers?

Our advice is keep it short, sweet and script it towards the end of your speech. So many brides make the mistake of starting their speech when a toast to the ‘dearly departed’ but that’s often hard to recover from. 

wedidng speech dearly departed

5 - Who should the bride toast?

The only times you should ask people to raise a glass is at the end of your speech (your final toast) and in tribute to the dearly departed. The stand-up, sit-down routine of too many toasts can feel a bit ridiculous.  

Your final toast should be directed towards your partner and your future life together. Read on to see how you can make that truly personal. 

Wedding speech ideas song lyrics

How to Write & Deliver Your Bride Speech

Here are the basic rules.

The fact is, writing a wedding speech is HARD and speech-avoidance is a serious ailment.

But rather than trying to write an awesome, witty and original speech in one hit, we recommend segmenting the challenge into micro-tasks.

Do a mini-speech-job on your commute or when you have a spare 15 mins, then when you come to writing your speech you already have something to work with.

Start by jotting down…
1 – THE ETIQUETTE – who do you need to thank etc
2 – THE STORIES – what amusing & insightful anecdotes can you tell
3 – THE TRIBUTE TO YOUR PARTNER – how can you show you love them without resorting to cliches?

And there you have it; the building blocks of a brilliant speech.

The crucial thing is to START your speech and then you can refine it later.

eulogy writing service dearly departed

Speechy generally advise…

  • Hello, welcome & a laugh
  • The Speech-Meat – Where you tell a few great stories that give an insight into your relationship and why you love your new spouse as much as you do. 
  • Thank yous
  • Acknowledgement of the dearly departed (if necessary)
  • A final more romantic tribute to your husband
  • A toast to your husband/ your future life together 

This structure may be different to most speeches you’ve heard. Many speakers automatically start with the thank yous but, as important as they may be, they are not what really interests your guests.

Get to the thank yous once you’ve already hooked everyone in. 

bride quotes

Don’t waste the first 30 seconds of your speech with the usual wedding-waffle. Instead, try to get in a laugh in early. 

Examples of bride opening lines; 

  • “Good evening, everyone! I was told a good speech should be like a wedding dress – long enough to cover the essentials and short enough to keep everyone’s attention. So, here’s my attempt.”

  • “Hello, beautiful people! They say a wedding is like a fairy tale, but I assure you, no frogs were harmed in the making of this marriage.”

  • “I stand before you today as a woman who’s officially off the market. If anyone has a receipt, I’m afraid it’s too late for a refund.”

Even better, make your opening lines surprising and personal… 

  • Jump right in. ‘So we’ve finally done it. Jonny has agreed to put up with me for the rest of his life and I’ve got that in writing.’
  • Short and snappy.  ‘Well, I know what you’re all thinking. How did I convince Ryan to ditch his Ramones t-shirt, down the joy-con, and sign a marriage certificate today? Well, let’s face it, my oreo cheesecake is pretty awesome and he’s about to get a lifetime supply’
  • Start with a story. ‘Let me tell you a story… when I first saw Theo, sitting in the bar, reading a book in the middle of the Saturday night chaos, I knew I had to speak to him. Only he was too absorbed in his battered, old Agatha Christie to notice me…ETC.’ 

bride speech

Neuroscientists have discovered that our brains light up when we hear stories. It seems humans are programmed to be empathic; we’re literally designed to be curious about other people.

One of our prime instincts in life is to love and so we’re all naturally, intrinsically fascinated by love stories. Which means you’re on to a winner here.

Telling a good story helps sync your mind with your guests. When people hear an engaging story, they put themselves in your shoes and that process forms a deeper connection. Just like that.

A story doesn’t need to be long. It doesn’t need to be extraordinary. It just has to reveal something about you as a couple.

  • As a guest, I want to know where the love is. I want to learn something about the couple, either individually or as a duo, and I want to be left rooting for their marriage.

Speeches have the power to surprise and delight, and a great speech creates the roadmap of the couple’s relationship for the guests. It should help us understand where they’ve come from and how it relates to where they’re going.’ Eduardo Braniff, Editor-in-Chief at Men’s Vows

  • ‘When guests hear great stories, they feel less of a spectator at the wedding and more like they’re involved. As an Asian man, I go to loads of weddings and if you’re one of 500 guests, you might not know the couple very well. A good speech helps me connect with them.’ Speechy writer, Shai Hussain

wedding speeches edit speech writing uk

Of course, it’s hard not to resort to the obvious clichés when you talk about love – ‘soulmate’, ‘the one’, ‘my best friend’ – yawn, you’re boring me, darling.

But you can be romantic, insightful and poignant without being boring, cheesy. It’s just about thinking differently.

In fact, think like a comedian. Because, in many ways, learning to be romantic is similar to learning to be funny. You can use many of the same techniques, including just taking the time to properly observe your life together.

Notice the beautiful everyday things that make your relationship work. What you want is that ‘on-the-sofa’ style romance. Sometimes it’s the smallest embers that build the most beautiful flames.   

Our new SpeechyAI tool is great at asking you all the right questions to help you notice what makes your relationship unique. 

‘Avoid all the traditional metaphors. Instead of saying ‘I love you from the bottom of my heart’, say ‘I love you from the bottom of my Converse’.  Make it surprising’.  Kat Williams, Rock n Roll Bride 

wedding speeches groom ideas speech writer

A good toast summarises the point of your speech.  It provides great storytelling symmetry and is a call to action for everyone present. 

We always advise newlyweds to propose a toast to their partner and their future life together. We also like it when it contains some humour. 

Examples of a good bride toast… 

  • “In the spirit of marriage, let’s raise our glasses to a lifetime of love, laughter, and pretending to enjoy each other’s cooking. May our marriage be as indestructible as my stubbornness and as enduring as his ability to tolerate my shoe collection. Cheers!”

  • “As we embark on this marital rollercoaster, let’s toast to surviving each other’s quirks and remembering to laugh even when we can’t remember where we put the car keys. Here’s to love, laughter, and a well-stocked supply of chocolate for those ’emergency’ situations!”

  • “To the love of my life, my partner in crime, and the person who still claims to love me despite witnessing my morning hair. May our marriage be filled with more laughter than arguments, and may our shared jokes always be funnier than my dad’s dad jokes. Cheers to us!”

  • “In the grand tradition of marriage, let’s raise our glasses to love, compromise, and never having to say, ‘Where do you want to eat?’ May our journey together be filled with more joy than laundry and more laughter than bad sitcoms. Cheers to the happily-ever-after sitcom of our lives!”

  • “To my amazing spouse, thank you for agreeing to be the ‘better’ half in this partnership. May our marriage be as strong as your Wi-Fi signal and as full of surprises as my Pinterest wedding board. Here’s to us, to love, and to a lifetime of hilarious adventures!”

SpeechyAI is great at creating original toasts, if you want to exploit its talent.

Wedding Toast Happy Hitched Help

If you and your groom are both giving speeches, you should both aim for about six or seven minutes. If you’re talking on behalf of you both, you can get away anything under ten minutes- or less than 1,300 words. 

Once you write your first draft, edit it down to half the length. We promise it will make it a hundred times stronger. No one ever watched a wedding speech and thought ‘if only it were longer’. The edit process might mean cutting some of your favourite bits but you need to wipe out the waffle and kill those cliches!

As public speaking expert, Alan Berg, points out: ‘There’s the expression, ‘If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter’. The quote is thought to have derived from the writing legend Mark Twain and it goes to show how hard the editing process can be. 

With Speechy’s Edit Service, the main thing we do is make the speech punchier. We look at the overall structure and see if all the stories and lines are actually necessary. Do they really add much?

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A confident delivery is half the battle.

Check the acoustics of the venue & get a mic if necessary (so many speeches are ruined simply because the guests can’t hear them).

Try to memorise the speech but don’t be afraid to use notes on the day (your brain will be scrambled). Thick A4 paper is fine (but only print 3/4 of the way down the paper so you can maintain eye contact with your guests) or you can use a tablet (a mobile still looks overly casual).

Talk at a conversational pace and don’t lose yourself in your notes. Plenty of eye contact and remember to smile throughout. Everyone wants you to do well so make sure you smile. It’s scientifically proven to be infectious and those scientists know stuff.

More Delivery Advice on our blog.

wedding speech modern couples guide

 

PRE-DELIVERY CHECKLIST

  • Have a snack – An empty stomach isn’t good for nerves. It may be the last thing you fancy but stuff a handful of canapes down or have a Mars bar on hand.
  • Don’t drink alcohol – Dutch courage is a myth. Alcohol actually increases stress levels.
  • Drink water – A glass of water a few minutes prior to speaking will ensure you don’t dry up.
  • Look for friendly faces in the audience – And at different points of the room.

 

ON THE MIC CHECKLIST

  • Stand up, breathe deep and smile.
  • Remember your presenting principles.
  • Laugh along – Sometimes people need the visual cue that what you’ve said is funny. (I know, people are idiots). And, as we know, laughter is infectious so make sure you exploit it!
  • If you’re being filmed – see the camera as an extra friend. It works really well when you come to watch it back.

mother of the bride toast wedding speech

Classic Bride Speech Mistake

We cannot stress this strongly enough… A bride’s speech should not be more romantic or less humorous than the groom’s.

If you’re the naturally soppy sort, you might be hoping your bride’s speech is an opportunity to get all dewy-eyed and leave singletons weeping at the glory of the love you have found. It’s not.

OTT declarations of love can still be cringey even in a wedding context. If you can’t imagine reading your speech to your mates down the pub without them wanting to throw things at you, you’ve probably pitched it wrong.

Make Your Bride Speech Funny

The Speechy team all have a background writing comedy material, and have written for comedians, radio and TV shows. Here’s a few easy comedy-writing tips & techniques… 

Yes, the expectation may be on the best man, but all wedding speeches should make people laugh.

Of course, being funny isn’t about finding good jokes on the internet (if only it were that easy) but instead making witty observations about your relationship.

So, conduct a courtship-autopsy; what have you done together, what do you argue about, what frustrates you about each other, what seems to be a regular theme in your relationship? See what you can have fun with.

Remember the adage ‘it’s funny because it’s true’. More advice on our How To Be Funny Blog.

wedding speeches funny hire speechwriter

A heart-warming tribute to your fella should be the focus of your speech but remember every groom is handsome, kind and generally amaaazing.

Cut the cliches and concentrate on what makes your man unique.

Avoid words like ‘soulmate’ or ‘beautiful’, anything that’s overused. Nail his individual and quirky characteristics.

Is he a library-lover, a technology fiend, a total foodie or the only man to still smell lovely after four days at Glastonbury?

Wedding speech laughter

Sometimes you need a few prompts to get that brain working. 

See if you can hunt down…

  • If you’re childhood sweethearts, hunt out the school reports.
  • If you met at work, do you still have your contract or job description?
  • If you met online, find those dating profiles. Could either of you be accused of ‘false marketing’?!
  • And, obviously, look back at your photos through the years to help those memories come flooding back. 

wedding speech props

The callback is where you plant a story or a piece of info at the start of the speech, possibly as a throwaway line, and then reference it later on. 

Watch professional comedians on stage and you’ll see nearly all of them deploy the technique. It’s not only funny, it’s a technique that makes you look smart. Win-win. 

For example, share that story where you accidentally stapled your shoe to the floor when you renovated your first house together. Later, conclude your speech by saying ‘…I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you, even if I do have to staple your shoes to the floor to make sure you’re by my side forever more.’

The callback is basically establishing an inside joke that everyone is part of.

To make it work

  1. Plant something funny, and crucially, memorable in the first third of your speech.
  2. Then simple refer to it towards the end of your speech.

Voila. You’ve become a comedy pro.

Best man wedding speech

Check out some bride speech videos to get a sense of what other brides are delivering. 

But, if all this advice has done nothing but convince you you need help – then jump to all the different ways the Speechy team can help you.

wedding speeches speech writing

Speech Do's

Make the 'thank you's meaningful

Don’t just talk about what people have contributed to the wedding, thank them for what they’ve contributed to your life (even if it is just an appreciation on malt whiskeys). Keep each thank you less than 50 words.

Use quotes

Funny or poignant quotes can add something extra to your speech and it’s not plagiarism if you credit the author! Take inspo from our Quotes For Bride Blog.

Toast something meaningful

Ideally something that will make your husband and guests smile – maybe ‘a lifetime of dancing on tables’. Consider a #TequilaToast

Practice and watch it back on your phone

Watch it back and spot where your speech can be improved.

Listen to feedback

It’s always worth testing your speech on a mate but this means you have to listen to them. If someone doesn’t get a joke, don’t waste your time explaining it as you won’t be able to do that on the day.

Speech Don'ts

Don't thank the caterers or the venue

It’s unnecessary.

Don't explain why you're giving a speech

Yes, you might always have the last word but a bride speech doesn’t need any justification for giving a speech.

Don't show off

Yes, it’s your special day. But no, you’re not allowed to show off about it. Be conscious there are single girls out there. Be self-deprecating & be humble. Don’t do a Paltrow. Instead, channel Jennifer Aniston and be the rocking hot girl who everyone still likes.

Don't resort to clichés

Yes you can thank your in-laws for ‘raising such a wonderful son’ but try to make it personal too. Thank your mother in law for the extra inch added to your waistline since you first sampled her Yorkshire Puddings.

Don't talk over laughter

You’ve worked hard for those laughs – don’t rush them. Always wait until your guests have settled down before continuing with your speech.

Bride Speech - Let us help you!

Work with us and deliver a speech that will knock your groom’s socks off.

We offer a DELIGHT GUARANTEE on all our bespoke services so there’s no reason not to exploit us.

And, of course, in the world of Zoom, Whatsapp and Death Wish Coffee, we work with brides around the world.

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