Weddings – it’s official. Women’s speeches are IN!

Society eyebrows were raised in many well-heeled quarters a few weeks ago when Meghan Markle let it be known that she was going to make a speech at her wedding to the UK’s very eligible bachelor, Prince Harry.

Weddings: it's official - women's speeches are IN

In the modern world of the 21st century, women have been making wedding speeches for many years. But a High Five to Meghan Markle who, we’re told, intends to make a speech at her upcoming wedding to the UK’s Prince Harry in May 2018 despite this being a break in royal protocol…

“Meghan Markle will be doing things differently from those who wed at Windsor Castle before her, with reports that she is planning on breaking tradition by giving her own speech,” wrote Rose Burke in The Independent, Jan 29th 2018. “As an advocate for women, it shouldn’t be too surprising that Markle plans on ditching the tradition. In a not-so-distant past, women were considered to be little more than property worth about as much as a few cows and a small patch of grass. Owned by their fathers from birth, girls would eventually be married off to the highest bidder.”

“In Britain, traditionally the groom, father of the bride, and the best man make speeches after the wedding,” Lindsay Dodgson informed us in Business Insider UK on January 28th, 2018. “It is not common for the bride to say anything, but it does happen sometimes.”

Huh? Sorry Lindsay, but women have been making wedding speeches for a long time

…even in somewhat stuffy-nosed Britain.

Weddings: it's official. Women's speeches are IN!

This book is 12 years old but it still captures the practical needs for a great wedding speech – by a woman.

Back in about 2004 or 2005 I was asked by a British publisher to write a book called “Wedding Speeches For Women,” because their researchers had noticed an increase in women making speeches at their weddings. And not just a polite, blushing and humble few words, either. As the resultant book sales have shown, the girls want to have their say – and do.

Brides, having decided that they are worth somewhat more than Rose Burke’s few cows and a small patch of grass, had been taking the microphone and sharing their thoughts and love for at least a decade before the book was published in 2006 – possibly longer.

It’s not just about brides butting into the prehistoric all-male enclave

Looking back at weddings I’ve attended over the years, there really isn’t any such thing as a “traditional wedding” any more.

And it’s not just because of the following, all of which I have witnessed and all of which purported to be “traditional” weddings:

  • The bride’s horse was held at the door of the church while the ceremony took place after which most of the wedding photos were of her sitting on it, with hubby standing beside them
  • The couple’s dog was official ring bearer but got confused on his way up the aisle and peed on the end section of one of the pews
  • The couple were accompanied from the church to the reception by a pack of foxhounds (trained for “drag hunting,” so attacking nothing more furry than a bag of linseed) along with the hunt’s Master and all Hunt Servants, on horseback, in full cry
  • A dog fight had to be broken up during my god-daughter’s wedding in rural France as all the villagers attending brought their dogs which local priests accept as a common custom

Other more serious issues have made the “traditional” wedding protocols vaporise and that’s probably just as well…

You can’t expect traditional wedding speeches with non-traditional weddings

It does make me smile when I see how some families cling to one or two of the old traditions in a sort-of way, despite the fact that the couple are marrying barefoot in jeans and t-shirts on a Jamaican beach or swinging from a zip line in the rain forests of Madagascar.

And why not? The point here is that weddings today are really free to be designed and carried out as the couple, and their families as appropriate, truly want. And to me that makes a lot of sense.

The whole gender issue has been thrown out of the window, too, along with other erstwhile priorities

This is where the issue of women making speeches takes on an entirely different complexion. What about, for example, where:

  • The couple are both brides
  • The groom (or one or both grooms in a gay marriage) chooses to be supported by a “best woman” (quite common today) rather than a best man
  • The bride’s father is dead, absent, or estranged
  • The bride wants a woman to propose “the toast to the bride”
  • The bride’s or groom’s mother, sister, grandmother etc want to “say a few words”

…and various other permutations which those folks (still!) thinking about a few cows and a small patch of grass, probably never contemplated?

So the upshot is, women can, do and need to make wedding speeches

In terms of content, there shouldn’t be any differences between what the women say and what the men say.

Unfortunately there ARE differences in the way that women can speak effectively, and the way that men can.

Without being a sales bore, if you’re a woman wanting to give a wedding speech you could do a lot worse than buy my cute bookie-wook. It’s full of good ideas not only about what to say, but how to say it, and even how to articulate it so people can hear it across a crowded space even if you don’t have a microphone.

There’s a lot of practical stuff in the book which, despite it being 12 years old, still works really well.

And whatever your wedding speech need, there is a whole load of more good advice right here on HTWB

… whichever role you play in the process.

Click on the image below for ideas on wedding speeches for absolutely everyone. They’re all catered for.

(Well, perhaps not the family dog or the horses. But don’t let me limit you in that regard!)

Wedding season special: how to make a great speech

And if you have any questions about a wedding speech…

Drop me a note on and I’ll do my best to answer it.







  1. Yay women!!!!!