It is no secret that every speaker at a wedding will have people to thank. I am regularly asked who the father of the bride, groom and best man should thank in their wedding speeches and how best to word the thank yous.
The biggest issue in many cases is ‘listing’. The thanks can be endless, suffocating the speech and bearing comparisons with the worst Oscar acceptance speeches. The best speeches weave the necessary ‘thanking’ around their more creative elements so the audience hardly realise you’re running through a list at all.
Here’s a quick summary of the key ‘thanks’ that should be included if you are having a wedding with a relatively orthodox set of speeches.
Who Does the Father of the Bride Thank?
The father of the bride’s speech should include thanks to…
- The guests, particularly those who’ve travelled a long way
- His wife, for organising the day/ bringing up their daughter/ putting up with him!
- He may also want to mention his other children, the vicar or equivalent, and any friends who have helped with the organisation of the day
Who Does the Groom Thank?
The groom’s speech should include thanks to…
- The father of the bride for his speech (and kind words about him if appropriate)
- The guests, ensuring it ties in with what the father of the bride has said
- His new in-laws for producing his wife!
- His bride for saying yes!
- His own family
- Any elderly or ‘special’ guests
- The best man and ushers
- The bridesmaids
These thank yous may overlap with the father of the bride so it is worth trying to share them. The groom may also want to mention any guests who can’t be there and thank anyone from the wedding planner to the flower arranger (although I suggest this is restricted to thanking volunteers rather than paid professionals)
Who Does the Best Man Thank?
The best man’s speech should include thanks to…
- The hosts
- The groom, for asking his to be his best man/for being a good mate
This list is short and sweet. The best man speech has the most room for creativity and fun and less need for thanks. Although his speech is to provide amusement rather than sincerity, the best man should see if the groom wants him to take any thank you messages off his plate. This can be particularly useful if there is a thank you that will tip him over the edge!
That’s the high level summary. Please don’t assume anything and always check with the other speakers that you are not going to cover the same ground.
Guest post by Lawrence Bernstein of Great Speech Writing
Image from Mirrorbox Photography