Singaporebrides | Weddings 101

May 2014

Wedding Speeches: Who Says What?

Have you been asked to give a speech at your best friend’s wedding, but are confused about what is expected of you? Or are you nervous about your own wedding thank you speech? Read on to find out who says what during speeches at a wedding, and get tips on how to give a heartfelt one!

Wedding speeches, a tradition in the West, are becoming a popular practice in Singapore as well, as more couples find their weddings to be the perfect opportunities to publicly express heartfelt gratitude to the people they love. For members of the wedding party, speeches are a chance to offer guests a glimpse into the couple’s relationship.

While most wedding speeches may have thanks and heartfelt congratulations in common, the nuances of each speech differ with your role in the wedding. In the West, the best man is traditionally licensed to poke fun at and share embarrassing stories of his newly married buddy, but the father of the bride is more expected to give a sincere speech with sweet anecdotes and marriage advice.

ABohemianandRusticAffair Singapore wedding speech Katrina and Isaac’s Bohemian and Rustic Wedding, captured by Samuel Goh Photography

You’re the bride or the groom

It’s your wedding day, and you should be so happy about everyone who made it to celebrate with you that your wedding speech is naturally overflowing with heartfelt gratitude. After thanking the guests for coming, especially those who travelled a long way, you should take the opportunity to express your love and gratitude to your parents for everything they’ve done for you, and for the example they’ve set in their own marriage. Be sincere about how much you appreciate their care and sacrifice; your wedding speech is a wonderful way to honour your parents in front of their relatives and friends. Don’t forget to acknowledge their support during the wedding planning. Thank your spouse’s parents as well, for entrusting their child to you or for bringing up the person of your dreams, and for their support and welcome into their family. Here’s where you can give gifts to the mother of the groom and the bride.

You may like to thank your family for their roles in the wedding, and for their love over the years. Instead of saying something general like “We would like to thank our family,” appreciate each person personally, such as by acknowledging the uncle who sent you to university, or the godmother who’s gifting your honeymoon. If you have loved ones who’ve passed on and couldn’t be there, you might want to take a moment to remember them.

Make sure to thank everyone who helped out at your wedding, such as bridesmaids at the reception, ushers, people who gave special performances, the organised sister or brother who helped plan and coordinate your wedding, and those who toiled through DIY craft parties and drank vinegar shots at your gatecrashing too. After the sincerity of thanking your family, here’s a good opportunity to inject a little humour into your wedding speech.

Finally, thank your new spouse. You could describe how you met for the benefit of those who don’t know you well, or share your thoughts on marriage. Introduce his or her beautiful character to your guests, and tell them what you love about your husband or wife. If you didn’t write your own vows, your wedding speech is the time to shower love on your spouse with heartfelt words of how thankful you are to be journeying through life with him or her.

You’re the father of the bride or groom

This is a proud moment for you, and your speech is your chance to tell everyone how much you love your son or daughter, and welcome his or her spouse into your family. When you address the guests, let them know that you’re speaking on behalf of the bride’s or groom’s mother too as you welcome and thank them for celebrating this happy event. You might like to thank your friends or family who came down especially to celebrate with you, the parents, that the couple did not mention in their wedding speech.

At this momentous occasion, guests will understand if you get a little sentimental, so don’t be afraid to share your emotions about watching your little girl grow up, and giving her away to another man. Tell the guests what you think of her husband and how you’re pleased she made such a fine choice, or share an anecdote of your son’s childhood, and your pride at his achievements. Give your opinion on why the couple are such a good match. Finally, offer the young lovebirds some advice on marriage in your toast to the newlyweds.

Evelyn and Kelvin’s Stylishly Fun Homage to the Past, captured by Alvelyn Alko

You’re the best man

If you’re thinking that your best mate has basically given you license to make fun of him in public by handing you a mike, you’re only half right. The best man’s speech may be your chance to lighten the atmosphere, plus win some smiles from those pretty bridesmaids, but it’s also when you should enlighten the audience with some stories about your buddy’s great personality and character. Remember that this is one of the biggest days of his life, so don’t knock marriage or bring up anything that could offend his family, or worse, the bride’s. Tell the audience how long you’ve known your mate, relate some of the experiences you’ve shared, or share why you’re such bosom buds.

While you reveal some funny childhood shenanigans, and wonder aloud how your best friend got his bride to say yes, do remember to keep things appropriate to the guests present, as well as to the bride’s sense of humour. Definitely no making ribald jokes about the groom, and make sure you say only good things about the bride, because she should only cry tears of joy on her wedding day. You might also want to talk about how she complements your best friend, and why you feel they make a great couple. If your speech begins with good-natured mocking and embarrassment, do end on a gracious note so that when your turn comes, your best friend will be inclined to say some nice things about you in front of your dream girl’s family.

Shuyi and Justin’s Let’s Get Drunk Wedding, captured by 39 East

You’re the maid of honour

As the bride’s best friend, you’ll be expected to share some insights into her personality. You might choose to focus the speech on your relationship with the bride, and tell the audience how you grew up together and watched her evolve from a pigtail-wearing girl obsessed with pink stickers, to a successful, driven woman obsessed with a pink wedding.

You could also opt to share your thoughts on love and marriage, and why you believe that the bride and groom are perfect for each other. Offer your thoughts on their relationship, or your first impressions of the groom. Share their romantic proposal or how you had to get your friend drunk to measure her ring finger. To wind up, you might want to say something about how you trust your best friend’s new best friend to take care of her from now on.


WEDDING SPEECH TIPS

1. A great way to keep audiences following you is to hold to a theme, such as opening your father of the bride speech by telling people how nervous you are about giving a speech or seeing the final wedding bills, and ending with a statement on how, when you saw the groom’s expression at the altar, you didn’t have a moment’s hesitation entrusting your daughter to her new husband.

2. Instead of listing people to thank, weave in a funny or heartwarming line about that individual or group.

3. Practice in front of the mirror for more confident delivery. Record yourself to see if you’re speaking too fast, or not expressing the emotions you were going for.

4. Keep things light with a joke or two, and hold your audience’s interest with funny stories about what happened during the lead up to the wedding.

5. Whether you aim to make guests laugh or cry, write a speech that’s from the heart. This is your chance to express your deep gratitude to your parents, or let your son know how proud you are of him.


Feature image: Madeline and Michael’s Gorgeous Tropical Island Wedding, captured by Tinydot Photography