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Lisa Potter-Dixon, Make-Up Artist & Content Creator
My best advice would be to do it! I didn’t actually plan to do a speech – it was totally spontaneous and I just said how I felt in the moment. I shared a few jokes I’d told Theo in our first few weeks of dating and thanked a few people he'd forgotten. If you’re going to speak, I’d say wait a (dinner) course after the others have spoken – doing them all in one go can be too long.
Amber Jackson, Fashion Editor, This Morning
For me, it was important to say thank you, not just to my new husband and bridesmaids but also my family. My dad died 13 years ago and my mum and two brothers have been my rock, so I wanted to thank them for not only being supportive in the lead up to the wedding, but also for being the best family I could ask for. My big brother walked me down the aisle and my other brother did my father-of-the-bride speech. They were the best ‘stand ins’ a bride could ask for. I didn’t plan or write anything, I wasn’t even 100% sure I was going to do it. But as my new husband, brother and bridesmaids all spoke about me, I realised there were things I wanted to say. Because I had no notes, I had no nerves or pressure. It just came from the heart and I’m so glad I did it.
Pip Durrell, Founder, With Nothing Underneath
I love tradition – we were married in a church and I wore a white dress. But tradition doesn't mean the day can't also reflect you and your personality. My brother walked me down the aisle and made the father-of-the-bride speech in place of my late father. When it came to the speeches, I didn't feel the need to make a 'speech' with lots of anecdotes and wit, but it was so important to thank our mothers for the day and everything else they'd done for us. The father of the bride usually opens the speeches to welcome the guests but I took that slot, giving myself a chance to thank our friends and family for coming, and to tell James, my new husband, just how much I love him.
Charlotte Alexander, Communications Director, Maybourne Hotel Group
There was never any doubt I was going to do a speech. I’m a talker, and I’d put my heart and soul into our wedding. I love the men in my life but there was no way I was going to let four of them do all the talking. In the little advice I found online, I read no one wants to hear from the bride for more than three minutes…
I aimed for ten minutes and found writing an old-fashioned series of thank yous the easiest approach. I hoped that each thank you would be meaningful, perhaps even emotional when needed, but mainly, I aimed to be funny to keep things interesting. A gentle roasting of my husband was fun to write, and I knew our guests would be up for it. Plus, I included moments of real from-the-heart love and tenderness for balance.
On the day, I received the best advice from a friend’s wife. She saw I was speaking last, and could see I was getting nervous. She took me outside and said, ‘Forget what it says on the bloody menus, just do it now so you can eat pudding!’ And she was completely right. Don’t sacrifice your enjoyment of the day for the sake of a schedule.
Charlotte Collins, Deputy Editor, SheerLuxe
When my husband proposed, he was pretty quick to ask if I would speak at the wedding. I’m not sure why he was so set on it – I suspect it’s partly because he’s proud to have an outspoken, independent wife and partly because he quite fancied a bit of attention. It began as a roast, then I told the story of how we met and shared a few anecdotes about him in our early days, followed by a few nice things too. My dad was there to fly the flag for me so it felt right to give him some air time.
My advice for brides? Don’t bother if you’ll be racked with nerves. I’m a relatively confident public speaker but I still found it pretty intimidating. If you do go for it, take your time, relax, smile and try and enjoy the moment.