Does The Groom Have To Give A Speech? [Is It Essential?]

One of the most iconic moments of any wedding are the speeches. But despite them being a welcome and ideal opportunity for the more confident of person and speaker, they can also be a source of stress, anxiety and worry for those not so comfortable in front of a crowd. Naturally, the groom can fall either side. But should he feel obliged to stand up and say a few words; is this something he will need to do? I spent some time researching to find out.

So, does the groom have to give a speech? The groom does not have to give a speech during the wedding reception. He can either ask somebody to do his speech on his behalf or skip his part altogether. In fact, no speeches are mandatory and you may want to consider an alternative, such as a pre-recorded video thank you or pre-recorded speeches. However, speeches are the traditional thing to do, and offer the opportunity to offer their appreciation ands gratitude of the parents, guests and bridal party for their support and help for the special day.

Speeches are by nature, fuelled by expectation. Standing up in front of a crowd, especially in front of those you care most about on such a big occasion can soon become overwhelming.

There’s a lot that goes into delivering a good speech; from the words you say to how you say them. Plus, you must be sure not to offend and that everyone is included!

Understandably, a speech is not fort everyone. So, let us know take a closer look at some of the similarly related questions on the topic and some of your best alternatives and options to compliment not inhibit your special day.

Is It Traditional For The Groom To Make A Speech?

It is traditional for the groom to make a speech. It is somewhat expected, especially from those older guests.

In fact, it is usually his biggest duty of the day; traditionally coming just at the end of the wedding breakfast. It’s key moment, moving the day from the conventions toward the evening celebrations.

Generally, the speech lasts for around 10 minutes; although can range depending on the groom and what they want to say.

When it comes to what the groom should say, traditionally, it is all about thanking those around him and that have supported the couple during the wedding planning and the day itself.

That means the brides parents, his own parents, best man, bridesmaids and of course, the bride herself.

With all this being said, the groom does not have to give a speech. This is your wedding day, and you can plan it how you like.

How Many Speeches Do You Traditionally Have At A Wedding?

There are usually between 3-4 speeches at a traditional wedding, coming from: the father of the bride, the groom, the best man and the maid of honor.

Let us now take a closer look at the order, and what briefly they are expected to say:

  1. Father of the Bride: the best man will typically act as the toastmaster and announce that it is time for the father of the bride to make his speech. During which, the father of the bride will often thank guests for coming, welcome the groom formally into the family, praise the groom, compliment his daughter and toast the couple.
  2. Groom: Next up comes the grooms speech (if you plan on having one that is!) Here, he will often respond to the toast made by the father of the bride, thank the brides parents for their acceptance, thank guests for their presence and for their gifts, compliment his new bride and thank key members of the wedding party, usually with particular focus on the best man.
  3. Best Man: Next up comes the best man’s speech which has a reputation for being somewhat lighthearted and “funny”. Here he will often dicuss stories involving the groom, why the groom and bride make a great couple, compliments to the groom and a toast to the newlyweds at the end.

However, many weddings now include a few more speeches; and it is possible and common to see speeches from: the bride and one of/some of the bridesmaids too.

Again, these do follow the same kind of structure, with a lot of thanking and compliments to the bridal couple.

While this may all sound like quite the event, speeches should only last between 5-10 minutes at most per speech. They’ll hopefully have been planned and practiced in advance too which should help them to be more relaxed, informal, while also without the ability to offend or be out of place.

Is It OK Not To Have Speeches At A Wedding?

It is entirely possible, and acceptable, to not have speeches at a wedding. Although customary, it is ultimately up to the couple to do decide if they would like these to take place on their day.

Alternatively, the bridal couple can also to choose to have some speeches, but not all. So for example, they may want to have the father of the bride, or just the grooms.

It depends entirely on their circumstances and preferences.

Equally, there are alternatives to speeches, which we will be looking closer at in the section below.

While it is definitely true that some of the guests may have some expectations, there are no mandatory or obligatory rules; wedding days are flexible and this includes the speeches!

Alternatives To Wedding Speeches

It may seem that you either have speeches or you do not; but thankfully there are many different options for those whom are not comfortable or confident in giving them on their wedding day.

Below, we will take a look at some of the most popular and common alternatives, that supplement the day nicely and make a nice change from the traditional routine:

Pre-Recorded Wedding Speeches

If its memorization of the speech, the audience or just the unnerving nature of standing up, then you may want to consider pre-recording your speech.

In this way, you plan and prepare your speech in advance, before filming it on camera with the bride to be by your side.

The main benefit being that you can have multiple takes, but you can also look to edit the footage or improve it somewhat with music if you desired.

This approach can really take the pressure of when it comes to the big day. Just be sure that the venue gets their copy and they know when to play it!

Printed Speeches

Another nice alternative are printed speeches. As they sound, this is a paper equivalent of what you may give vocally.

So, you would write your speech and touch it up, before getting a batch printed at a professional printing service.

These speeches should still include what you would normally say; thanking the guests, complimenting the bride etc, but they are can be read at the discretion of your guests.

You can then place these printed speeches at each seat on the table at the wedding reception. Alternatively, you may even want to select and get a special person to read it out to the group.

Thank You Slideshow

This is a slightly different option; but works well for many couples nonetheless. This is where you would create a highlight reel or slideshow, of pictures/videos of the bride and groom.

This can then be played during the wedding reception; either before or after dinner. Alternatively, you may even have a screen at the venue that you can keep this running throughout the reception.

If you decide on a slideshow, look to include plenty of content on you as the couple, along with footage of some of the guests.

Alternate Speech Giver(s)

If its the speaking component of the speech that puts you off, you may want to consider getting somebody else to give your speech on your behalf.

This can work for any particular speech, or for whomever does not want to give it.

If you pursue this option, think about those individuals best for the role. Who is the most confident in front of a crowd? Does anyone have any public speaking experience?

Announcements

One other alternative is to simply forego the speeches altogether, but to get your wedding band/DJ or musicians to provide an announcement at some point during the evening.

You can get them to say a quick few words, such as the “bride and groom want to thank you all for being here to celebrate their special day with them”, or something along those lines.

Finally

It is traditional for the groom to give a speech on his wedding day. In fact, if they are able, it is a really nice way for them to be able to thank everyone for their participation, hard work and to of course, compliment their bride.

There is no denying that it will be somewhat expected by certain guests too.

However, and here is the most important thing, the groom does not have to give a speech if they do not want to.

It is ultimately up to them if they feel they can, or would even like to. Thankfully, there are many suitable alternatives that can be considered in its place.

That being said, if you can, a speech will always go down well.

It helps to remember that you’ll be doing so in front of your friends and family; those whom love you and want to celebrate with you. They are not there to judge or pick you up on any stumbled words.

With a deep breath, and focusing on an object at the back of the room, you’ll be able to deliver the speech you always wanted yet didn’t think you could.

But that is of course, on the day itself.

The best thing you can do is to plan and practice ahead of time. Take it slowly and see how you feel.

If you soon realize that the speech is definitely not going to work for you, no worries. You do not have to give it!