Challenging old fashioned etiquette – why I love it when brides speak out!

Will you both be making a speech at your wedding? I’ve been trying to decide which surprises me more these days: when a bride makes a speech, or when she doesn’t! At the end of the day I think it’s just a personal choice, and the traditional speech-makers are a thing of the past.

bride making wedding speech

Beautiful bride Katie made a speech at her Shropshire wedding to Craig, and she recommended it to other brides reading the English Wedding Blog! Click the image to see why. Photo credit

Old fashioned wedding speech etiquette – to be ignored!

The etiquette used to be that the best man would make the main speech. The bride’s father made a toast first, then the groom would say a few words about his bride, and finally the best man would do a bit of a comedy routine, treading a delicate line between filth and funnies, embarrassment and humiliation, chuckles and the odd cringe.

There’s an interesting guide to wedding speech etiquette on the Mill Forge website. I particularly like the line, “No one else is required to speak although other speakers are permitted“. Very 1950s!

But that’s the thing with etiquette – unless you grew up balancing a book on your head and learning how to pour tea and hold your skirts “properly”, it’s irrelevant. Whether you decide to make a speech on your wedding day is a personal thing, and it’s great if you do, or if you don’t… as long as you’re happy!

Go with your heart, speak if you want to, just be happy!

More and more Brides want to make speeches at their weddings which is fab! – it’s a great way for them to show their thanks (and also that they are as good at public speaking as the boys!). I think this ever-increasing trend is brilliant as some of the most entertaining speeches I have seen have been given by the bride on her big day”

Annabella Forbes, wedding speech helper

If there was one piece of advice I could give to every single English Wedding Blog reader it would be to ditch the etiquette and break a few rules. So when you’re deciding whether to make a speech you just need to consider if there’s something you really want to say; if you’re comfortable speaking to a crowd of your nearest and dearest; and if the thought of making a speech will cause any stress in the run up to your wedding.

And that advice goes out to brides, grooms, best men… everyone!

Even your best man shouldn’t have to follow the rules

I’d also love to see a little less pressure on best men. Am I the only one who thinks it shouldn’t be obligatory for the best man to make a speech? I’ve heard some funny best man speeches, from outspoken characters who love a giggle and can entertain an audience. But I’ve felt terrible for a couple of best men who I’ve seen dreading their speech. It can be horribly stressful for shy types or guys who just don’t like being the centre of attention. So if your best man is an introvert, why not tell him he doesn’t need to make a speech?

This morning I was sent a link to a YouTube clip of a best man’s speech – pre-recorded, diligently planned, very funny… and in song. You can watch the “best best man speech ever” via this link: – for me it’s not the video itself that makes this a great speech, but that it’s prepared in advance. On the day, the best man only has to introduce himself and press play, then stand for the applause… genius!

So brides, speak out! And break the rules about who speaks and who doesn’t have to!

Annabella Forbes says “21st century brides should not be afraid to make a speech at their big day – after all they organised it!” and you can read that two ways: don’t feel like you shouldn’t be making a speech if you want to / if you’re afraid to make a speech then don’t! No one should feel under pressure at a wedding, right?

Find out more about Annabella Forbes on facebook at and chat to her on twitter – her name is @ForbesAnnabella

henley wedding blog

Sarah and Mickey’s Henley wedding – photo credit Rob & Sarah Gillespie – click the image to see their rainbow bright Henley wedding (it’s gorgeous!)

More on brides making wedding speeches, and traditional wedding speech etiquette:

So will you be making a speech? Or have you felt pressure one way or another? I’d love to hear from you too!
claire gould calligrapher signature

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.



  • Nathan @ Artemis Stationery
    6 years ago

    I definitely think if a Bride, Bridesmaid or Mother wants to give a speech they should. At many weddings of friends no one has wanted to speak so it has gone the traditional way. Is awful to sit through other peoples torture.

  • Dearest Claire,
    Making a speech or not should be well thought over as it should not put stress on the bride or the family. Not every person is a great speaker and it is important to let the wedding day proceed in a happy and relaxed way for ALL to enjoy!
    Hugs from the USA,
    Mariette’s Back to Basics

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