The Bride Speech: Here's What to Write, Say & Do For a Memorable Toast

There won't be a dry eye in the house.
Jessica Estrada - The Knot Contributor.
Jessica Estrada
Jessica Estrada - The Knot Contributor.
Jessica Estrada
The Knot Contributor
  • Jessica contributes wedding planning, wedding etiquette and relationship content to The Knot.
  • She also covers lifestyle and wellness topics for print and digital publications such Refinery29, Bustle, Well + Good, Cosmopolitan, Byrdie, The Zoe Report, The Cut and more.
  • Jessica has a journalism degree from Cal State University, Northridge and is certified as a life and success coach.
Updated Jul 25, 2021

One of the best things about modern weddings is the ability to throw tradition out the window and do whatever feels good for you and your fiancé. That applies to wedding speeches as well. Traditionally, weddings toasts are reserved for the father of the bride, the best man, and the maid of honor to congratulate the happy couple. But, given that this is your special day, you too can grab the mic and say a few words to your new spouse and guests during the wedding reception. Exciting! But, what exactly do you say in your bride's speech? Who do you thank? And how long should the speech be? All these bride speech questions and more are answered below. Keep reading for all the details, and because public speaking isn't easy, learn some expert speech tips on how to actually give the bride speech with confidence.

How Long Should a Bride Speech Be?

Yes, this is your big day, but let's face it, long, drawn out speeches are not a fan favorite at any celebration. And, since there will likely be other speeches for the guests to listen to in the wedding line-up (best man speech, maid of honor speech, father of the bride speech, mother of the bride speech, etc.), you don't want the speeches to cut into all the other festivities in your wedding timeline. So, for a bride speech, Katelyn Peterson, a wedding vow and speech writer, says the shorter, the better. She advises keeping the bride speech between two to five minutes, max.

How to Write a Bride Speech

Bride Speech Template

Don't know how to get started writing your bride speech? Here's a bride speech template Peterson recommends that will help make the speech writing process a whole lot easier.

Welcome and thank wedding guests. Kick off your bride speech by first welcoming your guests and thanking them for showing up to celebrate your wedding day.

Thank the VIPs. After the general welcome and thanking guests, take a moment to thank the most important guests of honor, such as family members. More specifics on VIPs, below.

Share a brief story. Next, add some warmth to your bride speech by sharing a brief story or two about your relationship with your new husband or wife.

Connect the story to your wedding day. To bring it all together, find a way to connect the sweet story you just shared to your wedding day. For example, Peterson says, you can tell a story of how you and your new spouse first bonded over your mutual love of sports. Then, you can connect that theme to your wedding day by sharing how thrilled you are to be on the same team.

Close with a wedding toast. Finally, end your bride speech on a high note with a bride toast that reiterates your gratitude for your guests being there to celebrate your marriage.

Who does the bride thank in her speech?

Although you may feel pressured to thank everyone during your bride speech, remember time is of the essence, so Peterson recommends focusing only on thanking the VIP guests such as your parents, in-laws, and grandparents. And, of course, Peterson adds, "you can also add a sweet line about how your new spouse has supported you and what you're most excited about in your future together."

Furthermore, Peterson says, it's safe to skip thanking the wedding party and your wedding vendors during the reception. Thank your groomsmen and bridesmaids during the rehearsal instead and send handwritten notes or leave a review for vendors after the wedding as a thank you.

Write your speech far in advance of the wedding day.

While you're busy wedding planning a million other details of your special day (Venue! Flowers! Dress! Cake!), it's easy to forget about writing the bride speech until the last minute. That's why Peterson recommends booking some time out for yourself to write your bride speech three months before the wedding to give yourself plenty of time and avoid unnecessary stress. She suggests booking out a few 30-minute speech writing sessions with yourself.

Focus the first session on brainstorming material for the bride's speech then dive into writing and editing the speech. Also, she notes, you don't have to write it alone! "Get your new spouse involved," Peterson says. "You're a team now so this speech does not have to just come from you."

How to Give a Bride Speech

Bride Speech Jokes

Incorporating jokes into your bride speech can certainly make it more entertaining for guests to listen to and make it more personalized as well. The key with bride speech jokes, Peterson says, is sprinkling the jokes throughout in a subtle way. "This isn't a comedy act so you don't need to try too hard," she says. "Instead, add playful tones where it feels natural and where your personality can shine."

Here's an example Peterson shared of a subtle bride speech joke: "The type-A planner in me was pushed to her limits when it came to organizing our wedding but seeing all of the people that I love and appreciate most surrounding me today made every moment worth it."

Bride Speech Example

If you get stuck writing your bride speech, look to this sample speech written by Peterson.

"Good evening everyone and welcome! My new spouse and I would like to thank you all for being here today to make our day extra special.
We'd especially like to thank both of our parents for their consistent support, generosity, and love, not only leading up to this day but throughout our entire lives.

Northern Michigan is a special place for Charley and me. From first dates spent on the lake to family gatherings every 4th of July weekend, this very location has been the backdrop to us falling in love.

And so it only made sense for us to get married in the same place where our love story began. It brings us so much happiness and gratitude to know that the first page of this new chapter as a married couple is being written at my parent's lake house and with all of the most important people in our lives.

Here's a toast to everyone here who has been there for us in the past, who is here for us today, and who we know will continue contributing to our love story through each new passing year of our marriage. We love you all. Cheers!"

How to End the Bride Speech

The last line of the bride's speech is important. It's the last thing your guests will hear so you want to make it strong and memorable. To achieve this, Peterson recommends including gratitude for your guests being there as well as a cute callback that ties everything together. "A callback happens when you reference something from earlier in the speech," she says. For instance, let's say you shared that you and your spouse fell in love while singing the Hall of Oates' song "You Make My Dreams Come True." Then, your last line could be: "Cheers to you all for being here and helping make our dreams come true."

What NOT to Say in a Bride Speech

There is a time and place for everything, but your wedding reception is definitely not the occasion to share embarrassing stories or edgy jokes that your guests may not get, Peterson says. You can, of course, she adds, share those during more casual celebrations such as the bachelorette party.

How to Deliver a Bride Speech

Your great speech is written and perfectly crafted with thank yous and a sweet story. The next step is actually delivering it during the wedding reception. To prepare yourself for a great delivery, here are some quick-fire public speaking tips Peterson recommends.

Don't try to memorize your speech.

On your wedding day, there's going to be so much going on and emotions will be running high in the best way. The last thing you want to do is worry about forgetting your speech. This is why Peterson recommends printing out your speech instead and bringing two extra copies on the wedding day in case one gets lost.

Use a microphone.

This ensures everyone will be able to hear you. Pro tip: Remember to move the mic when you move your head so the sound doesn't get lost or muffled.

Practice, practice, practice.

Even though you'll be reading your speech, you still want to ensure you practice reciting it at least three to six times, Peterson says, so you're able to make natural eye contact while delivering the speech. "Practice in front of someone who you can trust to provide you with constructive feedback," she says. "You can also video record yourself to catch those awkward 'ums' before it's captured by your wedding videographer."

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