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These days the bride’s speech is almost as common as the groom’s speech, and modern brides often feel obliged to stand and say a few words at their wedding. So what’s the etiquette surrounding the bride’s speech, and what are the things that bride’s might want to talk about?
Typically, the bride’s speech comes at the end of the speeches, so that it can have a lasting impact on the guests. As the bride’s speech is not a ‘traditional’ wedding speech, there are no formal expectations that are attached to it. So if you’re a bride-to-be this is a great opportunity for you to have fun and get creative with your speech, or if you are stuck for ideas, use the following format as a guide. Try to keep your speech short (around 5-10 minutes) and end it with a toast.
Start with a ‘thank you’ section. Even if your husband and the best man have expressed their thanks to the guests and the wedding party, it’s a great idea to add your personal thanks as well. You could consider thanking your guests for attending your wedding and for their kind wedding gifts. You could also thank them for making the effort to look so wonderful. In particular, thank guests that have travelled a long way to join you on your wedding day. If there are only a few out of town guests, mention them individually, but if there are many, give a range of places that your guests have travelled from.
Mention guests that couldn’t make it for a specific reason, and if it is because of something positive such as they’ve just had a baby, make sure you share the good news with your guests. Thank guests that have made a particularly valuable contribution to your wedding.
Funny stories are great in a bride’s speech, although you may want to leave the embarrassing anecdotes for the best man! You might choose to talk about how you and the groom met, how your relationship blossomed, or a funny story about the marriage proposal. You could also tell a funny story from the engagement party or the lead up to the wedding.
Or you could treat your guests to a few surprising revelations about you and the groom that will get your guests talking. Quirky and cute is what you’re aiming for, rather than intimate and embarrassing.
You could also chat about your thoughts and feelings on love, marriage, or on becoming a wife. There are loads of funny poems, anecdotes and readings about husbands, wives and marriage that you will find online, if you can’t find your own words.
Avoid words and phrases like ‘the one’, ‘soulmate’ or ‘beautiful’. They may be true but they’re also clichés. Think about what makes your love story unique. What first attracted you to each other? Was it the bride’s impressive knowledge of Hawthorn’s AFL season or the groom’s ability to cook spaghetti bolognaise?
Even a light-hearted bride’s speech should include a section about your feelings for the groom. Tell him how happy he makes you and the ways he has changed your life since you met.
All good wedding speeches end with a toast, and as your speech will be the last, you’ll probably have to wait and see who has already been toasted. It’s a good idea to toast your new husband, but if this has already been done you can simply raise a general toast to all of your guests and the people that have helped out with the wedding.
Try to make your toast original. For example, if your parents are still married, you could take a romantic route, and thank your parents for ‘proving that love lasts long enough for them to be dancing together 35 years later’ before toasting to ‘lasting love’.
Remember you will be speaking in front of people who you love and who love you. This should be fun, so make the most of it!