Let’s start by reassuring you, it’s no longer unusual to have mothers giving a speech. Sometimes mums are asked to say a few words because the bride’s father’s passed away. Sometimes they’re asked so the bride avoids the dad versus step-dad debate. Sometimes, of course, the mother’s asked to speak in addition to the father, simply because the bride thinks she’s wonderful and knows she has a lot to say!
Whatever the reason, take comfort in the fact that all the mothers we’ve worked with have told us that, despite months of worrying, they actually enjoyed giving the speech on the day.
So let’s work on how to avoid the months of worrying…
How to write a mother of the bride speech
If you’re giving a speech in lieu of the traditional father of the bride, follow the same principles that he would follow. If you’re giving one in addition to the father – even better – you have absolutely no etiquette to follow and can basically say what you like! Obviously it’s worth checking to see you’re not repeating things!
The mother of the bride basic speech format
- Welcome everyone to the wedding
- Talk about how proud you are of your daughter
- A few short anecdotes about her growing up and the woman she is today
- Talk about your joy (initial apprehension?) in getting to know the groom and his family
- Be hopeful about the newlywed’s future, possibly give them some comedic advice for their marriage before raising a toast to them
Mother of the bride mistakes
Beware the following…
- Reading etiquette books – waste of time and can turn a good speech into something boring
- Leaving the humour to the best man – you need to be funny too
- Thinking you need to thank everyone – actually that’s the groom’s job
- Recounting your daughter’s life story – there’s no need for potty training stories
- Suggesting you’ve contributed to the cost of the wedding – there’s no need to tell
- Forgetting size matters – a five minute speech is what you’re aiming for
- Resorting to templates, clichés or alcohol
Mother of the bride tips
Heart-warming not soppy
Your speech needs to leave everyone with a warm glow. It’s allowed a certain amount of sentimentality but don’t go too soppy or profound on us.
Certainly don’t recount your daughter’s achievements at school or the terrible procession of exes she brought home. Both are boring and clichéd. Instead think about the qualities that make your daughter unique and find the funny anecdotes that prove that.
Remember, don’t try to turn your daughter into a princess. Whether she’s ditsy, gobby, obsessed with fake tan, people love her the way she is and it’s your chance to celebrate that.
No one’s expecting you to be a comedian but all speeches should contain a few moments of humour. And when it comes to wedding speeches, being funny isn’t about jokes (certainly not any you’d find on a speech template). Instead it’s about insightful and witty observations.
Were you disappointed to discover a ‘naked cake’ was just a big Victoria Sponge? Did you enjoy ‘Big Jeff’ having to think about bunting colours? Did two sane people actually just agree to spend the rest of their lives tolerating each other’s mad habits? The list goes on…
Make all the guests feel welcome but don’t feel compelled into to namechecking special friends or everyone who’s helped plan the day. It becomes tedious, especially if you’re one of the guests who isn’t mentioned!
There are of course some important people you should namecheck. Make sure you mention your happiness in getting to know the groom and his family. Try to make this sincere by making it personal as opposed to ‘cut and paste’ platitudes.
The father of the bride traditionally toasts the ‘health and happiness of the happy couple’ but we think your toast should be bit more interesting. It should reflect the personality of the newlyweds and the theme of your speech.
One person we worked with wished the newlyweds ‘the passion of Burton and Taylor, the longevity of Elizabeth and Philip and the bank balance of Kanye and Kim’ before toasting ‘happy unions’. Fun and got everyone smiling.
How to deliver the speech
You know why Stephen Fry seems so eloquent when he’s hosting the BAFTAs? It’s because he’s reading. Yes it might be an autocue but we’re guessing you can’t afford one of those. Little bits of card you can fit in your pocket will do nicely.
Certainly try to memorise your speech but have it there as back up. Feel free to look at it regularly but try to maintain eye contact with the guests. Smile. Add pauses. Ad lib
Remember everyone wants you to do well. Enjoy it!
Finally, get professional help
Yes, if all this seems a bit too complicated and you’d rather be hat-hunting, then give us a call on 07971 225 245 and we’ll try to book you into our calendar. Alternatively have a look round our shop; a bespoke mother of the bride speech is only £295 and we promise it will leave you smiling.
Other useful articles for mother of the bride
Tips from a wedding co-ordinator (she’s seen a fair few speeches)
MOTB speech videos (there’s some videos in this article – hopefully reassuring that you can actually do an even better job!)