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Mothers of the bride are having their say

09 August 2019

Gemma Waldron tells us how the mother of the bride can write a speech she (and her daughter) will be proud of.

A mother of the bride gives a speech at a wedding

Traditional wedding etiquette doesn’t always cut the mustard with modern families, so it’s hardly unusual for weddings to include a mother of the bride speech these days. Sometimes mums are asked to say a few words because the bride’s father has passed away, and sometimes they’re asked because the bride knows her mum’s brilliant and has a lot to say.

As the mother of the bride, you have two jobs to do: make everyone feel welcome and make your daughter feel loved. It’s likely the two of you have an especially close relationship – you’ve pacified her panics from age two to two minutes ago, after all – so what better way to honour this unique bond than by giving her a heartfelt send-off speech?

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With their background in BBC comedy, the Speechy team know all the tricks of the writing trade. Follow their expert advice to nail your mother of the bride toast:

Less is more – stick to no longer than six minutes. Always cut your first draft down by half – it’ll instantly be twice as good.

Don’t be too formal – there’s no need to address guests as ‘ladies and gentlemen’ – chances are they’re not! Throw out stuffy decorum and just be your warm, loving self.

Make them laugh – humour should be at the heart of all wedding speeches, but don’t feel under pressure to tell jokes. A playful account of your daughter’s childhood (ideally illustrating qualities that everyone will recognise in her today) will have guests giggling. Show them she got her wonderful sense of humour from you!

Celebrate the woman she’s grown into – a touching tribute to your daughter needn’t be filled with clichés. Focus on what makes her unique. Is she a library lover, an indie chick or a technology fiend? Tell guests the good stuff, the lovely stuff, but most importantly, the funny stuff.

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Don’t steal the groom’s thunder – it’s his job to thank people for coming. That said, now’s a good time to give your daughter’s new in-laws a mention. Recount meeting the groom for the first time and how you’ve grown to love him and his family (it helps if there’s an element of truth in there although it’s not compulsory).

Prepare to be emotional – of course you’ll want to remember loved ones who’ve passed away but be careful not to turn your speech into a eulogy. Think of creative and joyful ways to honour those no longer with you; perhaps make a toast with dad’s favourite tipple or offer some funny marriage wisdom that grandma always swore by.

The toast – traditionally, guests drink to the married couple’s ‘health and happiness’, but feel free to create something more meaningful. You may want to offer some funny or heart-warming advice to the newlyweds. Nothing too profound or pompous – the more irreverent the better!

All the mothers we’ve worked with have enjoyed giving their speech on the day. So even if there’s the odd moment in the run up when you scream into a blank piece of paper, it’s worth it in the end. However wobbly you feel, don’t forget to smile – it’s scientifically proven to be infectious!

For more wedding speech help visit


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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