Does the Mother of the Bride give a Speech?

In Weddings by Joni

Some of us want to be heard, others are relieved not to be called upon to speak.  Which one are you? 

Traditionally we ladies used to keep quiet and let the men do the toasts and the jokes but today women are up there at the mic sharing their memories and wishes with the guests.

Sometimes the mother has to ask if she may give a speech.  Other times her daughter begs her to say something at the wedding. Just be sure to get it straight well beforehand who will be speaking and when.  

Ultimately it is between the Mother of the Bride and her daughter whether or not she gives a speech. 

If the Father of the Bride cannot be present, for example is deceased or was not invited, it falls to the bride’s mother to give his speech instead.

It is an honor to be asked but you can decline if you feel your emotions would well up or you feel too nervous.  But before you say no, remember that your speech, like your hat, can be a marvellous creation that gets everyone’s attention or it can be a small embellishment to a beautiful event. 

Leave it to the best man to have everyone in stitches.

How long does the Mother of the Bride Speech Last?

Give yourself a maximum of 5 minutes.  If that sounds like a long time, don’t worry.  Once you’re standing up you may be surprised at how short those minutes actually are. 

If you are nervous or the champagne is beginning to work its magic you might find yourself heading off the careful plan you made to add in anecdotes you feel sure the guests must hear.  This is not a good path to find yourself on.  Keep the anecdotes for the hours of chatting that lie ahead of you. 

If you’re worried about timing get the person sitting next to you to tap your arm when you’re 4 minutes in.  Then wrap it up.  Fast.

Can a Mother of the Bride give a toast?

Of course you can.  Just agree with the other speakers who you will be toasting.  But you could add a few more words without feeling too nervous.

Perhaps thank the groom for bringing love and happiness into your daughter’s life.  Or thank your daughter for the joy – and worry! – she has given you as she grew up and then wish the couple health and happiness in their life together. 

How to write a Mother of the Bride speech

You will definitely need to plan a speech any longer than one sentence.  Use cards to remind you of the next thing to say as you work through the plan. 

When you sit down to start to plan the first thing to do is to decide whether you will speak as the loving mother who wants to share the happiness her daughter brings to her life or if you want to make your speech amusing.

A simple plan for a Mother of the Bride speech

  • Start by welcoming the guests and thanking them for helping to make the day so special. 
  • Anyone who has come a very long way or who is very elderly should be mentioned.  If the Father of the Bride has already done this then just say how lovely it is to see all the most important people in the couple’s life together in such wonderful surroundings.
  • Give a short introduction to who you are.  For example if you are giving the speech because your daughter’s father has died or cannot be there due to illness then you will want to mention him in glowing terms. 
  • There may be a story here of happy moments between him and your daughter to make her smile.  You don’t want people to get upset today.  Or you can simply say you are the bride’s mother. 
  • If you want to raise a smile from the guests then there are a variety of ways to imply here that you enjoy getting a word in where your daughter is concerned.
  • Share some early memories – you can keep things very loving and sentimental by saying how well you recall the joy you felt when your daughter was born. 
  • Or you can mention an occasion when she shocked you or made you laugh.  Just keep things happy.
  • Talk about another occasion when she was in her teens or dating.  The sentimental approach is to share a mother’s worries as she was growing up but your happiness now that she has found a wonderful man. 
  • The amusing approach is to point out how this event made you realise, with some fear/amusement/dismay how her personality or ambitions were developing.  You might express relief that the couple found each other.
  • Finish by talking about the couple.  You can use this as a sort of blessing by painting a rosy picture of their love and your hopes for their future together or you can thank the groom and wish him luck.  But always stay positive and fun. 
  • It is important that your daughter knows how happy you are at the match. 
  • And don’t allude to any embarrassing events, just funny ones.  Embarrassing the bride and groom is the job of the best man.
  • Finally you will make a toast to their health and happiness.

Practise the speech and make sure it is the right length.  If you are using funning episodes from your daughter’s life stick to just those and don’t be tempted on the day to add anything else. 

If you think your speech is too short. It isn’t. 

What is the order of wedding speeches?

This is up to the couple to decide.  But the traditional order is Father of the Bride, Groom, Best Man.  But the bride may give a speech after the groom.

The Mother of the Bride would usually speak instead of or after the Father of the Bride. 

The couple will have been to lots of friends’ weddings and have a good idea of how they want things to go.  If they have financed and planned the wedding, they may wish to stand up and welcome guests then introduce the next speaker. 

There is no reason not to have a few words from the Matron of Honor/Chief Bridesmaid and/or the parents of the Groom and/or the Maid of Honor/Chief Bridesmaid.  It’s a pick and mix these days.

Once you know when you will be speaking try to get a few minutes at the early planning stage to discuss with the others what you intend to say.  You don’t want to rely on an intro that has just been used or a funny story that ends up being repeated by the Best Man. 

If the others haven’t decided yet what to say, just let them know about your intended words and they can work round them.

If you’re getting involved with organizing the wedding or reception you’ll find this post useful: How to organize the seating at a wedding.

And if you’re feeling nervous about the day make sure you’ve got a lovely wind down routine ready for the day after. Read this post: What should the Mother of the Bride do on the day after the wedding?