Should the Bride Give a Speech?

by Rebecca Paddick

Instead of leaving all the talking to the father-of-the-bride, the groom and the best man, as tradition
dictates, many modern brides are now choosing to also make a speech during their wedding
reception.

The trend has been common-place in the United States for a number of years now, but our side of the pond
has been slow to follow suit. In recent years, more and more brides are welcoming the chance to say
a few words on their big day.

Jenn Hodges from Bristol was one such bride who chose to break the mould: “It seemed fairly
obvious to me that I should speak,” she explains, adding: “After all, there are two people getting
married – not just one. The idea that women are not heard from in wedding speeches seems
completely bizarre.”

Both James and Jenn Hodges made speeches at their wedding reception.
Picture courtesy of JR Woodcock Photography.

Jenn’s mind was made up about making a speech long before her husband James even popped the
question: “The idea of not making a speech at my wedding never occurred to me. The groom and
best man speak, so why not the bride and chief bridesmaid? Luckily my chief bridesmaid Stef was
more than happy to be a part of it…even if she did tell a few too many alcohol-related stories.”

If you’re planning to follow Jenn’s lead and are considering making as speech of your own on your big day, here are a few guidelines.

Things to remember

If you have included all the tradition speakers then it is a good idea to keep your speech relatively
short. Don’t let your wedding become famous for it’s overdrawn speeches!

Try not to repeat sections from the previous speeches. When saying the all-important ‘thank you’s’,
divide them between you and your husband. Let him thank the best man and ushers, while you show
your appreciation to your bridesmaids. And don’t forget to thank your groom for marrying you!

“I started by reprimanding my useless bridesmaids,” says Jenn, before quickly adding: “I quipped that
they had promised to put on weight and get spots so I would look better on my big day – and they
had severely let me down by being gorgeous. I also thanked my new family for taking me in and
making me feel like one of their own.”

There is no formal etiquette about the format of your speech, unlike the other speakers who have
to include certain points (like the best man, who is expected to crack a few jokes). Your guests have no
expectations of your speech, so be as creative as you like.

Some men are terrified of making a speech and are somewhat obligated to do so, but the bride
is very lucky: you have the option to sit this one out. But it is important to remember that on this occasion the room is filled with the people who love you most in the world. They are on your side and want you
to do well – so no need for nerves.

“Thankfully, my speech was well received and I managed to get a few laughs, as well as thoroughly
embarrassing my husband, with compliments and jokes in equal measure,” recounts Jenn.

The most important thing to remember is to ensure your speech isn’t too formal. The reception is a
time for fun and celebration.

“I hope more brides begin to speak at their weddings,” says Jenn, adding: “Rightly or wrongly, you
always hear people say that the wedding is ‘the bride’s day’, so why should the leading lady be
seen and not heard?”