Mothers and other “older” female relatives are in an envious position when wedding speeches are called for, if only because you can get away with being funny, romantic, sentimental or even downright soppy.
For a list of ALL our articles on wedding speeches for everyone from groom to granny, click here.
That’s because you’re either “Mom” or someone similar and we ladies of a certain age – especially when closely connected with such an emotionally charged event – are expected to let the whole wedding thing render us incapable of rational thought.
A wedding speech is different from our professional presentations
The fact that many mothers of bride/groom or even grandmothers of bride/groom are not only doting mumsies but also chief executives, entrepreneurs, politicians, charity fundraisers, or any one of hundreds of other such un-soppy activities, escapes most wedding audiences entirely.
And that issue is not exclusive to the audience, either. It will also get to you. Even if you feel perfectly comfortable addressing a few hundred company shareholders or employees at a business conference, don’t think you’ll be able to hide behind your corporate persona when you speak at the wedding of your daughter/son/niece/nephew/godchild/grandchild/stepchild etc. You won’t, because you’ll be there as yourself, not the boss/CEO/Chairperson.
However don’t let that worry you. Unlike what’s required for a business conference or fund-raising meeting, all you need for this speech to be a great success is to be yourself and talk about what really matters to you personally.
Content “idea triggers”
Why we’re all here
- Who I am (if not properly announced)
- Relationship to bride/groom
- Here to say a few words about (bride’s/groom’s name)
If you’re (happily) married
- So glad (bride’s/groom’s name) is able to share the happiness a good marriage provides
- How my husband and I reacted when (bride/groom) told us s/he and (bride/groom) were getting married
If you’re single (and not a parent/grandparent)
- How envious you are of (bride’s/groom’s) happiness
- How lucky s/he and (bride/groom) are
- How honored you were when (bride/groom) asked you to speak today
- Your earliest memories of him/her and your relationship
- Funny stories about bride/groom as a baby/toddler/child/teenager? (not too rude or embarrassing!)
- How much bride/groom means to you and the rest of your family
- Bride’s/groom’s qualities and achievements through her/his life (maybe 5 key qualities?)
- How proud you all are of her/him today and why
- How pleased you are that (bride/groom) is marrying into the (name) family
- Your relationship with that family (Known them for a long time? What stories are there to tell about that friendship? Only met them recently? Any amusing stories related to that?)
The lead-up to the wedding
- What your involvement has been in wedding preparations
- What the experience has been like
- Any funny stories about the preparations?
- How you and (bride/groom) coped with stress, etc
- How you and other older relatives/friends viewed the run-up to the wedding
- How this reminded you/your husband/partner of your own wedding?
The bride and groom together
- The first time you met (bride/groom) and your reactions (joke?)
- Your reaction when they announced they were getting married
- A few words about their children if they have any?
- What they share in terms of love, friendship, mutual interests
- What any (joke) problems they might encounter (e.g. dirty football kit!)
- How you see their future together
- Some sage advice from an older woman (funny?)
A poem, perhaps?
- Poem about happy marriage / happy families
- Funny poem about marriage (not too negative)
- Appreciation poem to the bride/groom/both
- About marriage
- About true love
- About friendship
- About yourself
- About the bride (be careful not to offend, and avoid previous boyfriends, etc!)
- About the groom (be careful not to offend, as above…)
- About marriage itself
Other events sharing the same date
- Did you know that on this day in (year) (the following) happened?
People to whom you might propose a toast:
- Distant/absent/deceased friends and family
- The bride and groom
- Your joint families
Your structure skeleton
Here, now, is a selection of raw material you can use, and the order in which you can present it, to help you create a structure for your speech. You probably won’t want to use it all, but instead will retain the ideas that work for you and edit out the ideas that don’t. Plus, you will want to customize it to suit your needs.
Transcribe that, tidy it up, add a few gems like jokes, poetry, quotations if you want, and you’ve got yourself one powerful speech.
- Hello everyone and as you heard I am (relationship to bride/groom)
- I’m so happy to be here, and to be speaking at this event
- All I have to do is look around to see how right this union is
- I’m impressed by the love and friendship that is evident everywhere
- At my age I’ve been to quite a few weddings
- I always find them emotional occasions
- (Mention earlier weddings in your family? Funny stories?)
- So if I get a bit emotional you’ll have to forgive me
- I know I’m not alone in this, either
- In fact before we go any further I’d like to salute all the other “older” relatives
- Because we’ve been through the highs and lows of life we have a lot of experience
- And for the same reasons, we older people are even more full of joy today
- This would seem the right time to thank a few people
- For example, my daughter/son’s new family-in-law
- Tribute to them
- We (in our family) look forward to getting to know them better and sharing life’s family ups and downs
- (Funny stories about “down” issues in your family Jokes, perhaps?)
- And (if the bridal couple have children) I want to say a few words about my joy of being a grandparent/great-aunt, etc …
- I’m so thrilled that our extended family has become even more close as a result of today
- However, I’m also aware that older family members like me need to step back
- Much as we want to help, love and cherish
- The young marrieds need to get on with their own lives
- I will try SO hard to avoid interfering … (mother-in-law joke here?)
- However before I stop interfering I want to say thank you to (opposite family) for the introduction of their wonderful daughter/son into our family
- I can tell from the look on my (daughter/son/nephew/etc)’s face that today’s event is the most wonderful thing ever to happen to him/her
- And now I turn to my daughter/son/niece/nephew/etc him/herself
- This is where I could burst into tears, so if I do please bear with me if I do
- Also please forgive me for being sentimental but I really do love you very much
- And I’m not the only one in this room to feel that way – not by a long way
- Let me take 30 seconds or so to tell you why (bride/groom’s name) has always been so special
- When s/he was a little baby – stories, jokes, etc
- When s/he was a toddler – stories, jokes, etc
- When s/he was in primary school – stories, jokes, etc
- When s/he was going through puberty – stories, jokes, etc
- When s/he was a teenager – stories, jokes, etc
- When s/he was in their 20s – stories, jokes, etc
- Now – as an adult – I see how you have evolved into someone to sustain a successful marriage
- Now – as an older (having been through one or more marriages already) adult – how I see that you have evolved into someone to sustain a successful relationship
- In the final analysis we’re all here to celebrate
- May I reiterate how thrilled I am to be celebrating this event with my son/daughter/whatever
- And may I now ask you to be upstanding and toast …
- ….Ladies and Gentlemen, the (bride and groom, or whoever you feel inclined to toast.)
What further help would you like with your wedding speech as Mom or Grandma?
Share your thoughts and questions here and I’ll try to answer them as effectively as possible…
Image of Toni Morrison kindly loaned by Wikipedia.