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Mother of the Bride Speech

Mother of the Bride Speech Advice

Mother of the bride speeches are becoming more common. Sometimes mums are asked to say a few words because the bride’s father has passed away. Sometimes they’re asked because the bride thinks her mum’s rather wonderful. And sometimes a mum asks to give a speech because she has plenty to say!

Whatever the reason, take comfort in the fact that all the mothers we work with, enjoy giving their speech on the day. As TV scriptwriters by trade, the Speechy team know to create memorable moments, so follow our mum-of-the-bride advice and write a speech you (and your daughter) will be proud of.

*Or, if you need more than ‘advice’, check out our mother of the bride speech template, our speech edit service, or our bespoke speech writing service.  Or, work with our new AI-powered team member –SpeechyAI!  

Mother of the Bride Speech Etiquette

Relax, you only have two jobs to do; make everyone feel welcome and make your daughter feel loved.

1 - Don't go overly formal

Forget about the traditional speech etiquette, as long as you’re polite and loving, no one cares if you address them as ‘ladies and gentlemen’ (in fact it seems overly formal if you do). 

Keep your language conversational and don’t resort to ‘wedding-waffle’. No need to mention the gorgeous venue. Remember, everyone has eyes.  

 

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2 - Who should the mother of the bride thank?

The biggest trap mothers fall into is thinking they need to thank people. Actually, that’s the newlywed’s job. That said, it pays to mention your daughter’s new-in laws and welcome them to your family.

Do NOT get sucked into thanking your friends or family members who’ve travelled far. It’s not your day and, quite frankly, too many thank yous becomes boring. 

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3 - Should the mother of the bride pay tribute to the father of the bride?

It obviously depends on the circumstances. 

If you’re still married or happily separated, you can refer to ‘us’ and ‘we’ throughout the speech. You might also want to include an anecdote which illustrates their father-daughter bond in action, if he’s not giving a speech himself.  

Clearly, there’s no need to mention an estranged father.  

Of course, if you’re speaking on behalf of a father who’s passed away, then you’ll want to pay tribute to him. Be careful though; you don’t want to turn your speech into a eulogy. 

Read our advice on how to write a heartfelt tribute to the dearly departed while ensuring your speech remains a joyful one.

mother of the bride speech

4 - Should the mother of the bride mention absent friends or the dearly departed?

There’s really no point mentioning those who couldn’t attend the special day unless you have a special message from a much loved grandparent. 

When it comes to paying tribute to loved ones who have passed away – maybe your daughter’s grandparents, for example – try to pay tribute to them with a smile and with more than a platitude.  Sure, they may have been proud of the woman your daughter has become but would they also have been the first on the dancefloor, insisting the band play some ABBA and Lionel Richie? 

There’s no need to stop and ask everyone to join you in an official ‘toast to the dearly departed’ unless a close family member has recently died and the emotion is still raw. Remember, the newlyweds may be proposing a similar toast themselves, so check with them in advance. 

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5 - Who should the mother of the bride toast?

A mother should conclude her speech by asking the guests to join her in a toast to the happy couple.

For example…Classic toasts include… 

  • “Let us raise our glasses to the happy couple. May you grow old on one pillow.”

 

There’s plenty of funny toasts to consider too… 

  • “Now let’s toast to the two secrets to a happy marriage. Humour and short-term memory.”

 

But we love really it when a mother’s toast is really personal and could only ever be directed at the couple in question.

Examples of strong mother of the bride toasts…

  • “As I stand here, proud and slightly emotional, I can’t help but wonder how my little girl grew up so fast. To the bride and groom, may your marriage be as sweet as the time you convinced me to let you have ice cream for breakfast. Cheers to the newlyweds!”
  • “To my daughter and her dashing husband, may your marriage be as strong as my insistence on family game night and as enduring as my collection of ‘mom jokes.’ Here’s to a lifetime of joy, love, and a few eye rolls along the way. Cheers!”
  • “As the mother of the bride, I have the pleasure of officially welcoming a new member into the family. To the happy couple, may your love be as constant as my reminders to wear a jacket, and your laughter as contagious as my attempts at dancing. Cheers!”
  • “To the bride and groom, thank you for making me the mother-in-law. A title that comes with responsibilities, like pretending not to notice when you use the good china for everyday meals. May your marriage be as smooth as my secret pancake recipe and as delightful as our family gatherings. Cheers!”

SpeechyAI is great at crafting truly unique toasts for mums to deliver on the special day! 

wedding toast

6 - Questions for mothers of the bride to ask the newlyweds...

If in doubt, ask the couple in charge… 

  • INTRO – Will you be be introduced by an MC or will you need to introduce yourself?
  • THE SPEAKER SCHEDULE – When will you be speaking (stagger your alcohol intake accordingly). 
  • SUGGESTED DURATION –  How long do the couple want you to speak? (Negotiate between six and eight minutes ideally) 
  • EQUIPMENT – Will there be a mic? Will you have time to test it on the morning? If so, it’s worth understanding how to hold the mic on the day.
mother of the bride wedding toast

Mother of the Bride Speech Structure

The structure of a mother of the bride speech is similar to a father of the bride speech. If you’re both giving speeches, it’s worth discussing in advance to ensure you’re not doubling up on anecdotes or toasts.

Here’s the idea…

  1. Welcome all the guests and get them laughing straight away
  2. Tell some funny anecdotes from your daughter’s childhood (ideally illustrating qualities that everyone will recognise in her today)
  3. Pay tribute to the woman she is today. The good stuff, the lovely stuff, but most importantly, the funny stuff. 
  4. Recount meeting your daughter’s partner for the first time and how you’ve grown to love them and their family (it helps if there’s an element of truth in there although it’s not compulsory)
  5. You may want to offer some funny or heart-warming advice to the married couple. Nothing too profound or pompous.
  6. Conclude your speech with a toast to the married couple – traditionally it was to their ‘health and happiness’ but instead, create something more meaningful to the couple

How to Write & Deliver Your Mother of the Bride Speech

If it’s a large wedding,  start by introducing yourself and try to get a laugh in early. 

  • “Ladies and gentlemen, if I could have your attention, I’d like to start by admitting that planning this wedding felt a bit like preparing for a moon landing. There were a few hiccups, some unexpected turbulence, but here we are, ready for liftoff!”
  • “Ladies and gentlemen, if I could have your attention, I’d like to begin by saying that raising [daughter’s name] was a bit like being in a circus. It involved a lot of juggling, occasional tightrope walking, and quite a few lion-taming moments!”
  • “Hello, beautiful people! Today, I stand before you not just as the mother of the bride but as the woman who managed to plan this wedding without turning into a ‘Mombie’ (mom zombie). Success!”

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Create a narrative, so your speech doesn’t just sound like a collection of random anecdotes and ‘to dos’.

Your speech needs to hook people in from the beginning, establish a theme and carry that through to an almighty climax.

One of the mothers we worked with used the wedding venue as the inspiration for his theme. As her daughter was getting married in a theatre, she recounted her ‘best dramatic performances’, from the toddler tantrums to becoming a bridezilla. She then gave the happy couple a standing ovation.

Remember, as a Mother of the Bride, you have the best stories to tell!

mother of the bride speech

If you’re finding your speech theme elusive, get in touch with the Speechy team. Our Bespoke Service may be for you. 

This is the heart of the speech but where do you start? How about with a glass of wine and a brainstorm with some other family members? If your daughter has siblings, they’re likely to be a good source of content!

Get out the old photos and ask yourself lots of questions. How did she make you laugh when she was a child? Who was her first teenage crush (always good to compare with her new spouse)? Rather than resorting to clichés about her being a ‘wonderful, funny child’, find the insights and anecdotes that paint a picture.

Of course, as well as the childhood years, talk about the woman your daughter has become. Again, rather than rely on platitudes, think about what makes your daughter unique. Cherish your daughter for exactly who she is – even if she is slightly crazy and still addicted to Haribos.

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Yes, it’s definitely worth mentioning the person you’ve daughter’s chosen to marry in your speech! And try to make this more than a few cursory sentences at the end. Think about why they’re suited to your daughter. What quirks of hers are they good at tolerating? What guilty pleasures do they share?

Think about how you two have bonded. What do you like about your daughter’s partner? Again try to make this tribute jam-packed with unique, honest insights.

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Your closing paragraph should summarise the point of your speech. 

It’s basic journalism; the speech should start by explaining what you’re going to tell people, you then tell the story, and conclude by telling everyone what you’ve told them.

A professional comedy technique is to include a ‘call-back’ in that summary. That’s 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. 

An example might be, a mother who starts her speech with a story about her daughter as a toddler and the time she caused a scene when she wasn’t allowed a second ice-cream.

1,000 words later, she wishes the couple a happy life together but reminds her new son/daughter-in-law to ‘always buy her that second ice cream’.

A ‘call back’ is simple, but incredibly effective. It always makes you look cleverer than you actually are! 

mother of the bride toast wedding speech

You’re aiming for between six and nine minutes for a mother of the bride speech (allowing for laughter and ad-libs).

Some couples ask for a three minute speech (or, rather their wedding planner does!) and we find that unnecessarily restrictive. This is, after all, a once in a lifetime opportunity to pay tribute to your child! 

That said, no one ever witnessed a wedding speech and said ‘if only it were longer’. Even if you feel you have a wealth of good material – be strict with yourself.

The ideal length is between 1,000 and 1,200 generally. 

Anything over 1,300 words is too long. If you find yourself with more – pick out content that you can drop from the speech to put into a letter for your daughter to read in private, maybe on the morning of the wedding.  It provides an extra level of intimacy and connection on the day, and can obviously be kept as a keepsake too. 

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A confident delivery is half the battle. Make sure your daughter has checked the acoustics of the venue and organised a mic if necessary (so many speeches are ruined simply because people can’t hear them).

Talk at a conversational speed and make sure you try to maintain eye contact with the guests and the couple themselves. 

Even if you memorise your speech, as always advise speakers having notes on the day and we’ve written a blog about how to present your notes on the day.  

The golden rule is no reading from your phone!

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.
  • 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.
  • Check out our full Delivery Guide.

 

ON THE MIC CHECKLIST

  • Stand up, breathe deep and smile.
  • 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.

 

When we work with clients in our Delivery Coaching Sessions, one of the things we often need to remind people is to… smile. It seems obvious but, even on such a happy day, people can often forget to look like they’re enjoying themselves and it is SO important. 

A smile is literally infectious, so make the most of it. Even a fake smile tricks your body into relaxing so make the most of it. 

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Speech Do's

Cut your speech by half

When you’ve written your first draft,  edit it by 50% and we guarantee it will be better as a result. Any speech is better when it’s punchy! If you’re find the editing process tough, check out our awesome Edit Service. Get us to do the hard work!

Practice and watch it back on your phone

Watch it back and spot where your speech can be improved. Be your own Simon Cowell. 

Use a cheeky quote

If you’re struggling to sum up everything you want to say, see if someone else can! Using a great quote in your speech is an effective way of adding wit or sentiment to your speech. Check out our Mother of the Bride Quotes Guide.

Speech Don'ts

Don't bother with the baby clichés

Really? You want to waste time telling us how little she slept as a newborn?

Don't refer to any exes

Even if you know your daughter would be cool with it, her parter might not be.

Don't drink before you deliver

You might hope that a glass or two of Champagne could calm your nerves but studies have shown even one glass of alcohol will reduce a speaker’s public speaking rating. Sorry about that! 

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.

How to Make Your Mother of the Bride Speech Funny

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

As soon as you make your audience laugh, they will feel in safe hands. And you will relax too. 

1 - Avoid 'dad jokes'

Or rather, ‘mum jokes’. 

Being funny isn’t about finding good jokes on the internet (if only it were that easy) but rather making witty observations about your daughter and her relationships with her nearest and dearests. 

Comedians have a skilled eyes when it comes to noticing the strange things in life that we take for granted but it’s just about taking the time to look. 

Everyone in the world is weird in their own unique way, so take a moment to look at your daughter through a new lens. Notice her little quirks, unusual habits and guilty pleasures. 

Is she incapable of passing a dog without speaking to it in her baby voice? Is she incapable of sitting still if she knows there’s an opened box of chocolates hiding somewhere in her house? Does she wear slippers even in bed? 

Remember the adage ‘it’s funny because it’s true’. Read our How To Be Funny Blog for more advice.

wedding speech laughter

2 - Create a character

 Imagine your daughter in a sit-com -what sort of character would she play? The high-powered businesswoman who can’t work the remote control? The fitness fanatic who does squats whilst she eats cake? Have fun with her character.

If you have a good relationship with her partner, you can affectionately tease them too – but only if it’s genuinely delivered with love. 

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3 - Find your favourite stories

Don’t resort to a series of adjectives. ‘Funny’, ‘sweet’, ‘thoughtful’ are just wedding speech white noise unless you show those qualities in action. Prove, don’t tell. 

People are programmed to respond to stories, not words – so spend time reminiscing and hunting down those anecdotes. 

Recruit other family members, look at old photo albums – and remind yourself of the wealth of material at your disposal. 

wedding toast

4 - Get inspired

Need some inspiration? Check out how other mums do it in our Mother of the Bride Videos post.

Of course, if all this advice has done nothing but convince you, you need help – then jump straight to all the different ways the Speechy team can help you, including SpeechyAI; a genius tool we’ve built that’s guaranteed to help you develop unique and hilarious lines. 

Mother of the Bride Speech - Let us help you!

If you want to deliver a speech that creates a lifelong memory then work with us.

We’re rated ‘excellent’ on Trustpilot and that’s why we offer a DELIGHT GUARANTEE on all our bespoke services.

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

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