Everything to Know About Writing an Unforgettable Wedding Welcome Speech

Let us help you kick off your nuptials with a great toast.
sarah hanlon entertainment and celebrity editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
sarah hanlon entertainment and celebrity editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
Entertainment & Celebrity Editor
  • Sarah is the Entertainment & Celebrity Editor for The Knot, with special focuses on pop culture and celebrity wedding news.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Sarah was a contributing writer for Bravo at NBC Universal.
  • Sarah has a degree in journalism and resides in New York City.
Updated Aug 19, 2021

Throughout your wedding day, plenty of loved ones will raise a glass and give a toast in your honor. Wedding speeches are common at both the ceremony and the reception, and they're often given by family members, best friends, and bridesmaids and groomsmen—but that doesn't mean you can't get in on the fun too. Couple speeches, especially wedding welcome speeches, are becoming popular additions to the toasting lineup. Even if public speaking isn't your favorite thing in the world, you might feel inclined to say a few words to the loved ones who've chosen to celebrate your special day with you. After all, when else will you have your nearest and dearest all together in one room?

If you're thinking of making a wedding welcome speech, you're in the right place. To help you craft a toast that'll go down in history, we've created the ultimate wedding welcome speech guide right here.

In this article:

Is a Wedding Welcome Speech Necessary?

When you think of wedding toasts, a few classic variations come to mind: The maid of honor speech, the best man speech, the father of the bride speech, and the groom's parent speeches are most common. But beyond that, some couples may plan to include several other nontraditional toasts as well (like a groom's speech, a bride's speech, a mother of the bride speech, speeches from your kids, or speeches from your siblings).

With so many potential speakers, you might wonder if a wedding welcome speech is necessary. Here's the short answer: It's up to you! It's your wedding day, so you have the power to decide who speaks and when. (But, in our unbiased opinion, we think that a welcome speech would be a great addition to your wedding day timeline.)

Who Does the Wedding Welcome Speech?

Once you've decided to have a wedding welcome speech, you'll have to choose who's going to give it. The newlyweds are an obvious choice—it is your day, after all, and guests will love hearing directly from you and your S.O. But if public speaking makes you nervous (or there's a gifted orator among your wedding party), there are a number of other options.

If you envision having a welcome speech for your wedding ceremony, your officiant or a close family member would be great choices. Or, if you want to kick off the reception with a wedding welcome speech, you could ask your parents to take the floor. No matter who you tap to lead the toast, be sure to give them plenty of planning time to search for wedding welcome speech samples and inspiration.

When Should You Give a Wedding Welcome Speech?

When you've confirmed who's going to give the wedding welcome speech, work with your planner or day-of coordinator to incorporate it into your wedding day timeline. For those that want to have a welcome speech for the wedding ceremony, you might block off a few minutes once you and your S.O. are both at the altar before you begin your wedding vows.

Alternatively, you may prefer to make your welcome speech at the beginning of the wedding reception, after you've made your entrance and before you take the floor for the first dance. You could even have your parents give a welcome toast once guests are seated before dinner is served.

In fact, your wedding welcome speech doesn't even have to take place on the big day itself. You and your S.O. could plan to give a kickoff toast at the rehearsal dinner or happy hour party before the wedding. Ultimately, when you should give your wedding welcome speech is up to your preference. Just be sure you have ample time carved into the itinerary to get your moment with the mic.

The Best Wedding Welcome Speech Writing Tips

Whether you're a to-be-wed planning your own wedding welcome speech or you're a guest tapped by a couple for this prestigious role, you might be in search of toasting inspo. As self-proclaimed wedding speech writing experts, we're sharing exactly how to write a welcome toast that'll engage the crowd and set the tone for the rest of the party.

Lead Into it With a Song

Music plays an integral role throughout the wedding day, and it serves as a seamless way to transition into a speech. To avoid having unnecessary patches of awkward silence, work with the DJ or live band to work the wedding welcome speech into the musical timeline. Perhaps you want the wedding processional song to fade into instrumental background noise for a welcome speech at the beginning of the ceremony. Or, if the welcome toast is happening later in the day, have the person presiding over the music fade the reception entrance song so the speaker can have their moment. No matter what you choose, having a great song lead into the welcome speech is a good way to grab guests' attention—just lower the volume once the speaker begins so everyone can hear. (Need music ideas? Check out our all-time favorite wedding songs right here.)

Speak from the Heart

Instead of starting off your wedding welcome toast with something predictable, like, "We're gathered here today..." toss the expectations and speak from your heart. The best part about giving a toast at your own wedding is that there are no rules to follow. You and your S.O. could create a custom song mashup (like you've seen in so many maid of honor speeches), you could take turns sharing the mic, or you could even riff off each other if you have a shared sense of natural comedic timing and feel comfortable in the spotlight. What matters most isn't necessarily what you say, but rather that it feels genuine and honest. (If you're looking for great wedding speech examples, find our favorites here.)

Thank Your Guests for Attending

This is the most important element of the wedding welcome speech. While there aren't too many parameters to follow, it is crucial to thank your guests for celebrating this important day with you. You can go on to elaborate as much as you want to about what their presence means to you, but don't forget to express your thanks at some point throughout the speech.

Keep it Short and Sweet

As with all wedding toasts, salutations should be kept to a time limit—especially if you have multiple people lined up to take the stage (or the dance floor). Generally, reception speeches should be kept to two-and-a-half to three minutes maximum. Of course, since you're the newlyweds, you could always extend your time slot if you'd like. (Your wedding, your rules, after all.) In general, though, the same timing guidelines should be followed if you plan on having someone else make the welcome speech at the wedding ceremony, like your parents or your officiant.

To keep your wedding guests engaged the entire time, a three-minute speech will hit the sweet spot. It gives speakers the perfect amount of time to welcome guests, thank everyone for attending, share a personal anecdote or two, and get everyone hyped up for an evening of celebration.

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