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Order of Wedding Speeches

For modern weddings there are no strict rules as to who should speak at the reception. The following people may speak at a wedding: father or mother of the bride, the best man, the maid of honor, a groom, the bride, parents-in-law, bridesmaids.  it is not uncommon for two of the groomsmen or two of the bridesmaids to speak at the same wedding.

Historically, it was not expected that the bride would speak.  The groom would speak on behalf of of the bride.  This of course has changed in recent times.  Nowadays, the bride will often speak on behalf of the groom.

In addition, with the divorce rate being over 50% many couples have step parents that may want to speak.

I recommend to limit the number of speeches to under six wedding speeches.  I also strongly encouraged that each wedding speech be under five minutes.  The role of a good MC is to ensure that nobody tries to steal the spotlight.

Another tip is for the MC to avoid impromptu speeches by guests that have been swept up in the moment.

At one wedding where I was the MC there was an out-of-town guest that desperately wanted to speak.  The woman was not on the docket and had nothing prepared.  It was my job to control the flow of the reception.  Even though she flew from thousands of miles away and had known the groom since he was a baby I did not let her speak.  The reason is that too many speeches bore the audience.  It would have been more appropriate for the guest to say a few words at the rehearsal dinner, or the brunch the day after the wedding.  These two settings are more informal and are better suited to the impromptu speeches.

The order of wedding speeches is a key part of any smooth wedding reception and it should not be ignored by the MC nor the speakers.

Alexander Thornton is a professional speechwriter who can help you learn more about delivering a dynamite wedding speech. Browse our speech templates and presentation tips at

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