One of the most iconic moments of any wedding is the speeches. But despite them being a welcome and ideal opportunity for the more confident 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 on 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 if he is not comfortable or confident in doing so. In fact, no speech is mandatory. However, the groom’s speech is customary, they offer the opportunity to thank and guests would likely appreciate it if it were to be delivered.
Besides; there are usually a lot of people who will need thanking. Parents, bridesmaids, groomsmen, guests, and his new wife, of course!
But, 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 for everyone.
So, let us now take a closer look at some of the similarly related questions on the topic and some of your best alternatives and options to complement 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 a 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 that have supported the couple during the wedding planning and the day itself.
That means the bride’s 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.
When Are Grooms Expected To Give A Speech?
Traditionally, the groom’s speech is given after the wedding breakfast meal has finished, just after the Father of the Bride’s speech. But really, you can weave the groom’s speech into any part of the day that just works better for you.
If you are going the traditional route with the wedding speeches, you’ll probably save your groom’s speech at some stage during the evening reception. There’s an order too, which we will get onto shortly.
Along with the Father of the Bride’s speech, the best man’s speech, and even the Maid of Honor speech, if they are all partaking.
Where you go in the list of speeches is ultimately up to you.
If you are prepared to break the ice and go first, you can do that, or if you would rather follow on from everyone else’s speeches and find this less pressure, that’s ok too.
Or you could follow the traditional order below.
Traditional Order Of Speeches
If you want to follow the traditional speech order, let us quickly run through it:
#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 The Groom
Next up comes the groom’s 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 bride’s 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 The Best Man
Next up comes the best man’s speech which has a reputation for being somewhat lighthearted and “funny”.
Here he will often discuss 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 the Maid of Honor 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, and 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 choose to have some speeches, but not all. So for example, they may want to have the father of the bride or just the groom.
It depends entirely on their circumstances and preferences.
Equally, there are alternatives to speeches, which we will be looking closely 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 who 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 it’s 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 is 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 off when it comes to the big day. Just be sure that the venue gets their copy and they know when to play it!
Another nice alternative is 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 it’s 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 whoever does not want to give it.
If you pursue this option, think about those individuals best for the role. Who is the most confidence in front of a crowd? Does anyone have any public speaking experience?
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.
Suggestions For Grooms Giving A Speech
So, you’ve gone through all of that and decided that nothing quite compares to a speech directly from the groom.
However, those nerves feel like a bottle of cola that has been shaken and is ready to blow any second; I get it. It can be scary.
So now you’re probably hoping for a few tips to help quell your fears and make the speech giving a little less stressful.
Here are so Do’s and Don’ts to make your speech experience much easier.
DO Keep It Short And Sweet
A long speech will ramp up your anxiety levels quicker than you can snap your fingers.
Just make sure you include all the important bits like thanking your guests, giving a special shout out to your Bride, her family, your family, and any other special friends that deserve mention, a sweet memory, and then a thoughtful speech conclusion.
DON’T Put Your Hands In Your Pockets
Yes, this one sounds a bit random, but your nerves could leave you with rather shaky hands, and shaking hands in your pocket can look a tad wrong – if you catch my drift.
Your best bet is to make sure you have something in both of your hands to avoid any embarrassing visuals.
More than likely, you’ll have a mic in one hand; the other could hold a drink ready to test at the end of your speech.
Feeling unprepared can make you even more nervous.
So, practice, practice, practice.
If you can tell your speech ‘off paper’ even better as you’ll have less to worry about because you’ll know your speech like the back of your hand.
DON’T Have One Too Many To Drink
This one is a rookie error made by many a nervous groom.
You may feel as though a little drink may calm the nerves but too many and you risk forgetting your speech, saying something inappropriate, or, even worse, being unintelligible altogether.
DO Admit To Being Nervous
There’s absolutely no shame in being nervous, and telling your guests that you are can reduce the pressure altogether.
Admitting that you are a little nervous can have a massively positive impact on any social anxiety you may be feeling.
DON’T Speak Too Fast
Speaking too fast not only makes your speech hard to understand, but the rushed feeling you give yourself can make any social anxiety you may experience move up a notch.
Keep your speech relaxed and friendly, and chat to your guests as you normally would.
DO Become Familiar With The Venue
Sometimes it’s the fear of the unknown that can make a groom’s speech feel like an uncomfortable feat.
Take the time to find out where you’ll be standing for your speech, the kind of lighting that you may have to work with, how it feels to hold the mic, and how the mic works.
Feeling more familiar with your venue environment can make giving a speech a little less frightening.
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!
Wondering who else may have to give a speech? Then my following articles may be of interest:
- Does The Bride Give A Speech?
- Does The Maid Of Honor Give A Speech?
- Does The Father Of The Bride Give A Speech?
- Does The Mother Of The Bride Give A Speech?
- Does The Father Of The Groom Give A Speech?
- Does The Mother Of The Groom Give A Speech?
Have other questions about the groom? Then these articles may be of interest:
- Where Does The Groom Stay The Night Before The Wedding?
- What Does The Groom Throw At A Wedding? [Does He Have To?]
- Do Grooms Buy The Bride A Gift? [Are They Supposed To]
- Where Does The Groom Get Ready? [When & Whom Should Join Him]
Hey, I’m Allison – a recent bride, an expectant mother and the chief editor here at Everlasting Occasion. Here I document all the knowledge and experience I accumulated while researching and planning my dream wedding and ahead of our new baby. Here, I try to answer those many questions couples have when planning their dream wedding, while equally, helping expectant parents ahead of their new arrival!