The mother of the bride (or groom) speech is one my favourite speeches to help out with, but it’s also one of the hardest. There is no tradition, no requirements, no box ticking of thank you’s or welcomes – you have the rare opportunity of a blank slate. But in a crowded line up of fathers, brides, grooms and besties, where do you fit in?
I’ve outlined below some of my tips on where to start with your mother of the bride or groom speech to make sure you stand out for all the right reasons.
- How to add value in a crowded line up
Before you decide you want to speak at the wedding you need to ask yourself a really important question – ‘why do I want to speak? What value can I add that isn’t going to already be said by the father of the bride or groom role, the maid of honour or the best man?’
You have always added value to life’s major events, so a wedding is no different – use your own history and experience as a mother to set the scene for your wedding speech.
For example -are you a mother that likes to give advice with your life experience? Here’s your chance to give meaningful advice to the couple. Are you a mother that teaches and prepares your children? Then use this as the base for your wedding speech and prepare your son or daughter for the trials and tribulations of marriage.
- General lay out
The layout of the speech will depend mostly on whether you are taking over the role of the father in addition to mother.
If you are just playing the role of mother of the bride or groom, here is my rough outline for a speech:
- Welcome and introduction – introduce yourself, tell us what you want to talk about tonight
- What kind of mother are you and anecdote – explain what role you want to fulfil in speaking tonight and then apply this to an anecdote that is relevant to your son or daughter.
- Talk about your new son-in-law or daughter-in-law with a relevant anecdote.
- Offer advice, offer your wisdom, talk about your hopes for your son or daughter, tell me about your son or daughter but make sure its relevant to the event – stay on point.
- Wrap it up – keep it short, simple and relevant and you will absolutely steal the show.
If you are also fulfilling the role of father of the bride, you’re going to need to merge the roles – see my guide on the father of the bride speech here for more tips.
- It’s not about you
It’s tough to say and tougher to hear sometimes, but I cannot stress this enough – this wedding, this event, is not about you. When you tell a story, make sure it is relevant to the couple and the wedding itself. The cornerstone of your speech should be about how your child got to this moment today. How did life events shape them to be this person? How did they get to this point where they are ready for marriage? Use this and their future as your inspiration for a great speech.
- Some final tips
As much as possible, keep the tears to a minimum – it’s a hard speech, and there is plenty of emotion available but the only way you are heard and add value is if you can actually talk. So if you are getting stuck, change the line – save the emotion until right at the end.
Time limits – it’s a crowded dance card so always keep it short. Less is more, you have so much to give and you are so important to this night and many more, you don’t need to prove it, I promise. So try to keep it to five minutes, or about a page of regular typed writing.
And have fun with it! This is a great moment, you have so much to add, make your time count and enjoy the celebration.
Ms ZigZag: Thank golly for Lynda’s tips! Whether you’re the Mother of the Bride, Father of the Bride or anyone that has been asked to speak at a wedding, I think you can gain some serious speech making know-how from this post.
About Lynda: Hi, I’m Lynda and am currently navigating the transition to mum with a beautiful six month old son who hates to sleep. During his forty minute naps, I love to help people find the right words to celebrate love with Silvertongue Speeches, a speech writing service specialising in weddings.