The Bride’s Speech
As the bride, you have the most interesting role of all when it comes to the speeches. For, whereas the other main speakers - father of the bride, best man and so on - have speaking roles with huge traditions attached to them - father dotes on daughter, best man humiliates groom etc - you and your speech labour under no such burden of expectation.
This is because - although it is by no means uncommon any more - the bride's speech is still a very new development in terms of the history of wedding procedure. And that means that you still have the choice to say pretty much what you like and when you like. It's your call.
If your father is not present, then you may want to speak first of all, in the traditional father-of-the-bride slot. Some couples opt to stand up and speak together (in many ways, a very logical choice); others prefer to speak separately, and each address different themes (the other's family, for instance). Or you may prefer to speak after - or before - your husband, or even after the best man, as the very last speaker.
Brides Speech Checklist
The content of the bride's speech is utterly flexible, but here are some ideas to get you started.
Thanks to everyone who's attending, especially long-lost friends and people
who've travelled a long way.
Thanks to the people who've supported you through the stress of preparing for the wedding.
A special word about your mum, not just to thank her for her role in the wedding, but to describe your relationship with her over the years.
If you like, you could echo the pattern of your new husband's speech: how you met, your first impressions, things you liked and didn't like about him; how the relationship developed; your thoughts on love and marriage; a more personal message from you to him.
Thank guests for all their gifts (if the groom hasn't).
It may also make more sense, if you are saying thank yous to other people, for you to thank the bridesmaids too (rather than the groom).
A popular American innovation is for the bride to finish with a new toast to the guests.
I want to thank you all for coming, I’ll never be able to tell you how much it means to us that you are all here to share in our day with us.
There are so many people to thank and acknowledge, if I’ve left anyone out please know that it is because I’m overwhelmed by everyone’s kindness and not because you aren’t appreciated.
First of all, a very special thanks is in order for Petra & Ryan, who set Brad & me up on a blind date – it obviously went well.
Thank you Wendy for doing the programs, Jim for all you’re running around for us and Rachel for playing the harp, thanks to Connie for her wonderful sewing talents, thank you so much Chris, Eva, & Ken, our readers – you all helped make today even more special.
I’d also like to thank my bridal party, who have been fabulous and a constant source of support. I can never truly express what your help and generosity of spirit has meant to me.
Rachel, Madeleine, David & Erik you all did so well and are so special to us, thank you so much, we love you all very much.
Carolyn & Susan, you welcomed me into your group from the very beginning. You were both so kind and warm and I feel like I’ve known you both for years. It wasn’t long before I realized that I no longer referred to you as Brad’s friends but as MY friends and that felt good. Thank you both for everything, and for wrecking your nails peeling price tags off favours.
Karin, I can’t begin to tell you all how much Karin has had to put up with – we work together and she has had to listen to wedding vents and planning every day – every single day. Karin, many people are lucky enough to work with people they like but I’m luckier I get to work with my friend, you have been such a help to me with your advice, your support, and just listening while I ranted. Thank you for everything including the shower you threw for me at work, and mostly for being my friend.
Rae, I hardly remember the time you weren’t a part of my family. You have been a great support in the wedding planning, even though you are 2 ½ hours away – the distance never stopped you from helping. I want you to know that you are not my bridesmaid because you had the good sense to marry my brother and become a part of my family. I asked you to be a bridesmaid because you are my friend. Thank you for everything. I feel lucky to have you in my life.
Natalie, I’m not even going to try to sum up 20 years of friendship, You have laughed with me, cried with me and very importantly shopped with me, you have been through everything with me & you know everything about me and still love me. I chose you as my maid of honour not because you are my truly my best friend but because to me you are family. Thank you so much for all the love & support you’ve given me and the wonderful shower you gave me. I hope you know how much you mean to me.
I’d like to thank my aunt & uncle, Jean & Cal Ford, you have been so great to Brad & me – you have helped us with everything from getting us Ebony & Puck, our kittens, to giving us advice and support. You both have a special place in our hearts.
I know Brad will be thanking my brothers, Duane & Jim, but I just want to take this opportunity to tell you both how much I love you.
To Brad’s parents – where do I begin? You have been kind, caring, honest and welcoming to me. You accept me for who I am and I feel like I have been a part of your family forever- you’ve been so loving, supportive and helpful in the wedding preparations. I know that all the traits I love in Brad have come from both of you. I can never tell you how much you have both come to mean to me, very simply I love you both and thank you just doesn’t seem like enough words but I mean them from the bottom of my heart.
Now, my parents, I am finding it hard to find the words to thank you for all you’ve done for me or to tell you how much I love and respect you. You have always been there for me. You were there, encouraging me to take my first steps and to say my first words and today you stood beside me as those steps took me to my husband and you listened while I spoke my vows. If you think I don’t know how hard that was for you – you’re wrong I do know and its just another thing I need to thank you for. I know that I am the person I am because of you both. I didn’t settle for anything less than true love because of your example. I know what to look for and I waited for it (and waited, and waited) You built us a home not with wood and bricks but with your hearts and your souls and I know how lucky I am to have been given that. I have never doubted for a second that you love me and I hope you both know how much I love you. You have helped with the wedding so much and let’s face it, if it weren’t for you, I’d be up here naked (so everyone has something to thank you for). Thank you and I love you both. On a lighter note, let me tell you all about choosing the song for the Father-Daughter dance, I first chose the Celine Dion song “I’m everything I am because you loved me”. It’s a very sentimental song and I got to the point where I can’t hear it without crying – so I get out the CD and place Mom & Dad on the couch and give this little speech about how this song says all I feel. I play it and of course start to cry, they listen for a while and then my dad gets up, comes over to me, turns off the CD and looks into my eyes and says “how the hell long IS this song? Please note I’ve chosen a shorter song. Thanks again Mom & Dad.
Lastly, but not least I’d like to thank Brad, for being the man that he is – I never thought love would find me and then I get this wonderful gift ---- you. Whitney Houston had a song out a few years ago that I was crazy about, I played it over and over – just ask Duane, he had the room next to me. The lines were “Give me one moment in time, when I’m all that I thought I could be, when all of my dreams are a heartbeat away and the answers are all up to me”. I loved that thought and I wished for that moment – but we don’t always get what we wish for – I wanted one moment and ended up getting forever. I love you Brad for this moment and forever.
Once again thank you all for coming. Enjoy the night.