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What parents say at rehearsal dinner?

A Supreme Guide to Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Speeches

rehearsal dinner speech

You have enjoyed all the pre-wedding events leading up to your big day, but you have one left: the wedding rehearsal dinner. You might have been to rehearsal dinners in the past and were moved by the heartfelt, sincere, speeches that were given at those pre-wedding celebrations. But who gives rehearsal dinner speeches, anyway?

Now, it is your turn to take part in that special moment, but you are not sure who should give the unforgettable toast or what to say. No worries! Here are the answers to your rehearsal dinner questions.

What is the Purpose of a Rehearsal Dinner Speech?

rehearsal dinner speech and toast

Delivering a memorable speech is an important part of the wedding rehearsal dinner. During the rehearsal dinner, a funny or heartfelt speech is given while raising one’s glass to honor the bride and groom. You and your guests are guaranteed to laugh or cry during the rehearsal dinner toast.

Now on to your biggest rehearsal dinner question:

Who Should Give a Speech at a Rehearsal Dinner?

speech at wedding dinner

Although there are some typical rehearsal dinner speech traditions, there are no set guidelines for your toast. In other words, it is up to you to decide who gives the speeches at the rehearsal dinner.

However, if you want a guide to typical toasting traditions to steal for your wedding rehearsal dinner, here are the traditional candidates to consider for your dinner toast.

The Groom’s Parents

First and foremost, the groom’s parents should give the toast to congratulate the happy couple. Traditionally, the groom’s parents take on the task to host the wedding rehearsal dinner. Therefore, it is customary for the groom’s parents to say a few words.

Again, it’s not mandatory for the groom’s father or mother to speak at your wedding rehearsal toast, but you probably won’t regret letting them make a speech, especially if they share funny stories about the groom that you’ve never heard before.

It’s common for the father figure to speak, so check out some father of the groom speech tips here!

The Bride’s Parents

Don’t hesitate to ask your parents to say a few words at your wedding rehearsal dinner. Since the wedding is usually hosted by the bride’s parents, it is not customary for the father or mother of the bride to give a speech at the rehearsal dinner.

But nowadays, it’s not so clear who is responsible for planning and paying for certain wedding events, which means that the bride’s parents can also share a couple of words regardless of who hosts the rehearsal dinner.

Other Family Members

Your other family members are up next. Other immediate family members such as siblings, aunts, cousins, uncles, and grandparents are also guests who are typically asked to give a rehearsal dinner speech.

Since these are the guests that you probably don’t see often, there is no better time for these loved ones to share a couple of kind words to congratulate you and your partner. Perhaps they’ll share a couple of memories or stories they have of you that’ll make your rehearsal dinner all the more memorable.

Friends or Out-of-Town Wedding Guests

Many couples decide to extend the rehearsal dinner guest list to invite their friends and other out-of-town friends who they don’t see often.

Since the wedding speeches are reserved for the maid of honor and the best man, the rehearsal dinner is the perfect time for your other guests to jump in and express their happiness and best wishes for the soon-to-be-married couple.

The Happy Couple

You and your beloved may also speak at the wedding rehearsal dinner, after all, the whole event is about celebrating you and your partner, the happy couple. It’s common for the groom to give a speech at the rehearsal dinner.

Perhaps you should take this opportunity to thank the hosts for planning the dinner and for making an unforgettable toast. Or maybe you want to add on to what other guests already said and respond to their toasts. It is also a perfect time to thank specific people who have helped plan and paid for your wedding expenses.

Marriage Officiants

Yes, your wedding officiant can also participate in the rehearsal dinner speech. Maybe you are close to your wedding officiant, and maybe they have been in your life for a very long time.

Certainly, your wedding officiant is in charge of the biggest task for your wedding, that is, officiating your wedding ceremony and making sure that you and your partner get legally married. That’s why the rehearsal dinner is the perfect time for your marriage officiant to remind you of the importance and the meaning of marriage.

Who Shouldn’t Give a Rehearsal Dinner Toast?

best man speaking at wedding dinner

Well, this is really up to you to decide. As stated before, the bride’s maid of honor and the groom’s best man, usually wait until the wedding day to make their speeches. But sometimes, the maids of honor and best men chime in by making short speeches at the rehearsal dinner, too.

When to Give a Toast at the Rehearsal Dinner

man giving wedding speech

According to Wedding Words , most speeches are usually recited right before dinner. But it also depends on what you have planned for the event or the rehearsal dinner schedule.

Who Gives the First Toast at the Rehearsal Dinner?

rehearsal dinner toast

Typically, the people who are hosting the dinner are the first ones to make a speech. As mentioned before, the groom’s parents usually host and make the first rehearsal dinner speech. After that, feel free to say a couple of words or let other attendees congratulate you and your beloved.

Tips for Giving The Perfect Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Speech

bride laughing at dinner speech

It is an honor and privilege to take part in the rehearsal dinner speech, but public speaking might not come naturally to you. But don’t worry; there is no need to stress out about giving the perfect toast or speech. We’ve got you covered! Consider the following tips that will prepare you for the dinner toast.

Introduce Yourself

Whether you are the host, the bride, or an out-of-town guest, it is always a good idea to introduce yourself before giving a speech at the wedding rehearsal dinner. This way, you’ll let everyone know about your relationship with the happy couple. Remember to also thank everyone for coming to this special pre-wedding event.

Keep it Short & Sweet

Consider sharing short stories that highlight positive traits of the engaged couple. Keep the speech under five minutes or the guests will most likely stop listening and reach for their phones. Just get straight to the point.

Speak from the Heart

If you are just going to wing it and have no idea what to say, don’t fear! Just speak from the heart and share a few words that you know will mean a lot to the guests and the happy couple.

Use an Anecdote

You can share a funny anecdote about the bride and groom. Some examples include telling the story of how the couple met. If you’re not the couple, you can share a funny story about your first impressions of the bride or groom. If you’re the bride or groom, you can share the story of how you met your partner or your engagement story.

Use a Funny Quote

Another wonderful idea is to insert a witty quote into your rehearsal dinner speech. Perhaps you can take this opportunity to roast the happy couple. But you don’t want to offend the couple, so don’t go overboard with humor.

Raising a Glass and Toasting Etiquette

toasting at a rehearsal dinner

When raising a glass for the dinner toast, keep the focus on the bride and groom. In other words, don’t make the event about you, unless you’re the couple. Also, make sure your glass is not empty before making the toast. Get everyone’s attention by clinking your glass or using a microphone. Next, raise a glass toward the couple and then invite the guests to take a sip from their glasses.

The recipient of the toast, which in this case is the bride and groom, should never drink or raise a glass to themselves. They should remain seated and just enjoy the toast. However, the couple may also raise a glass to honor their hosts and their guests. But it’s not mandatory.

Don’t Drink Too Much

You don’t want to be all clumsy and sloppy during the wedding rehearsal dinner speech. That’s why you should take it easy on the drinks during cocktail hour. Even if you’re nervous, it is never a good idea to drink excessive amounts of alcohol because you’ll end up embarrassing yourself or the soon-to-be-married couple.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice makes perfect. Therefore, if you are going to give a speech at a wedding rehearsal dinner, it is a good idea to rehearse what you’re going to say. Write something down that you can then memorize. Consider reciting your speech in front of a mirror until you feel you are ready to recite it in front of everyone. You can also practice in front of someone who can also give you advice on how to improve your speech.

If you have stage fright, however, the nerves might get the best of you, making you forget what you had planned to say. Therefore, your other option is to read off the paper while giving your speech. This way, you will avoid forgetting to say some words or lines for your memorable speech.

Wrap Up

Consider these tips for making a memorable wedding rehearsal dinner toast. Let us know which tips you’ll steal for your unforgettable rehearsal dinner speech.

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These Are the People Who Commonly Give a Speech at the Rehearsal Dinner


How many (or how few) people speak at the rehearsal dinner is totally up to you as a couple. But just so you know the rules before you break them, we asked Sharokina Pazand and Kerrie Gallagher, CEO and Event Planner, respectively, of Citygirl Weddings & Events, to share the list of people who are typically expected to give a toast the night before the wedding.

The Groom’s Parents

Since the groom’s parents are traditionally the hosts of a rehearsal dinner, they should be prepared to say a few words of welcome to guests in attendance. «Typically, the parents of the groom, will start off the dinner by inviting guests to be seated (if it is a seated event) and welcoming everyone in attendance to the wonderful evening that has been planned,» Pazand and Gallagher say.

The Maid of Honor and Best Man

Even though these two will be expected to shine on the main stage, it’s nice for the maid of honor and best man to play a role at the rehearsal dinner, too. If they intend to say a few words, their toasts should follow the parents of the groom. Keep it short and sweet—maybe share a story that didn’t fit into your big reception speech. If you’re having co-maids of honor and two best men, whoever isn’t speaking at the wedding should give a speech now.

The Bride and Groom

Your rehearsal dinner is one of the few occasions during your wedding weekend when you’ll be able to spend uninterrupted time with your VIPs. They’ve no doubt invested a lot of time, money, and emotional support to the wedding planning, so now is your chance to thank them and let them know how truly excited you are to have them by your side. (Pro tip: Don’t forget to thank your parents, too!)

The Wedding Party

While the maid of honor and best man are usually the ones to talk at the wedding, everyone in your bridal party is there for a reason. This is their chance to say a few words. A good way to prepare for this is to reach out in advance and take stock of anyone who would be interested in speaking. Be sure to assure your friends there’s no pressure to be the next Hemingway—sharing a favorite memory is totally fine.

«We encourage more detailed, story-based speeches to play a role at rehearsal dinners rather than at the wedding,» Pazand and Gallagher say. «The rehearsal dinner guest list consists of the wedding party and close family that are involved in the wedding. They will likely understand and appreciate the more ‘inside’ stories.»

Extended Family Members

Maybe grandma wants to say a few words. Give her and any other special family members the option to speak, but have a plan in place for the number of guests who will speak overall. «We don’t recommend an open mic situation,» Pazand and Gallagher say. When the allotted time for speaking is up, have a plan for communicating this to guests. «Ask a trusted friend or relative to emcee or diplomatically segue from speeches back to the dinner portion of the evening so as not to have too many irrelevant toasts or speeches continuing on into the evening after more alcohol has been consumed.»

What to Say in a Mother of the Bride Speech: Ideas and Examples

Whether it’s instead of or together with the father of the bride speech, here’s what to do if it’s mum’s turn to speak up!

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23 of August, 2018

More and more mums are choosing to deliver a mother of the bride speech at their daughter’s wedding. It’s a moving moment in the day which will mean so much to both you and her. It’s traditional to have a father of the bride speech, but that certainly doesn’t mean that mums can’t give speeches too!


Image: Leo DJ Photography From offering marriage advice to revealing your daughter’s embarrassing first celebrity crush, it’s a wonderful opportunity to laugh, honour her and raise a toast to the couple’s future. Read on to discover what you need to include in a mother of the bride speech, along with some examples and ideas.

What to Say in a Mother of the Bride Speech?


  • Welcome and thank everyone for coming
  • Pay a short tribute to the bride’s father (optional)
  • Pay tribute to the bride and share stories and memories of her from childhood and today
  • Talk about meeting their new husband or wife for the first time, getting to know them and welcoming them into the family
  • Offer wise and funny advice to the couple
  • Finish with a toast to the newlyweds

Should the bride’s father have passed away, you’ll want to pay tribute to him. This could be a very emotional moment for you and your daughter so be prepared for a few tears with a hanky handy. It can be a tricky balancing act between keeping the speech joyful and remembering those you’ve lost.


If you are giving a speech in addition to the father of the bride speech, you can give a condensed version of this. The guests will have already been welcomed and thanked, so offer a concise one line on this and focus on your daughter instead.

A shorter mother of the bride speech should:

  • Thank everyone for coming very briefly
  • Pay tribute to the bride and share stories and memories of her
  • Welcome their new husband or wife into the family
  • Offer marriage advice and wisdom
  • Finish with a toast to the newlyweds

Be wary not to steal thunder from other people’s speeches. You may feel like there’s lots of people you want to thank but this is usually traditionally the groom’s job. He will raise a glass to the guests who’ve travelled from far and wide, and to the bridesmaids and groomsmen. Leave the thank yous to his speech and focus on your daughter and new son or daughter-in-law. However, if both sets of parents have helped a lot in the wedding preparations or financially contributed, you should definitely offer them a few words of gratitude.

Inspiration For Your Mother of the Bride Speech


The minute you need to write a speech, it’s like every memory drains from your brain! Here are some questions that’ll hopefully point you in the right direction for some great stories to tell about your daughter. Anecdotes really bring a speech to life and you’ve got a whole lifetime’s worth.

  • What was she like as a child? Did she ever have any funny school reports? Did she have an odd nickname? How does she compare now?
  • Who was her first celebrity crush? How do they compare to her partner?
  • What job did she want as a child? What does she do now?
  • Did she start planning her wedding as a child?
  • What does she do that always makes you laugh?
  • What’s her worst/weirdest habit?
  • Any memorable moments in your first holiday abroad/school play/day of university? Are there any arguments with siblings that have gone in history in your household?
  • How did the couple meet? When and how did she tell you about them?
  • Do the couple share any unusual hobbies together?
  • How do they tolerate each other’s quirks?
  • Did her partner ask for permission? What did you immediately think? What did you first say?
  • If they’ve got a child or children together, how did you feel when she became a mother? What advice have you given her?

Mother of the Bride Speech Examples


Your wedding day is said to be the happiest of your life, and while it was very happy indeed, it couldn’t compare to the moment our daughter came into the world. You have brought me such joy and happiness (and a few sleepless nights!) but I couldn’t be more proud of the beautiful, smart, strong woman you’ve grown into today. Simon may not know this, but Sarah started planning this wedding at the age of 9. I’ll never forget walking in on her sister Jodie playing vicar at a wedding ceremony between Sarah – dressed up in my red lipstick and heels with a toilet paper veil – and a poster of Gareth Gates!

Thank you so much for joining us today on Hannah and James’s big day, I hope you’ll all agree with me that it has been absolutely beautiful. It’s an honour to welcome you here today and see so many of you having travelled from far and wide to celebrate with us. Traditionally this speech would be given by Hannah’s dad, but although Matthew can’t be with us here in person, he has never left our side today in spirit. I know he’d be as proud of you as I am standing here, so let us raise our first glass to Matthew and all absent family and friends. Instead of champagne, we decided it would be more fitting to have a dram of his favourite whiskey for everyone. To Matthew!

Hi everyone, I’m Louise, Kat’s older sister. I’m just joking! Kat and I have always been so much more than mother and daughter, we’re best friends, so I couldn’t let this moment pass without saying something – and as her dad will tell you, I always have to have the last word! It’s with love, pride and joy I stand here today. Kat has been lucky enough to find true love with Anna and that will forever make me so grateful. The two of you are perfect for each other and I couldn’t imagine anyone better – or as patient! – as Anna to start this new adventure with. I knew she was the right person for you when …. Your dad and I have always tried to be an example to you to show that through ups and down and across the years love can grow and last. Seeing you two together, I know we’ve taught you all the lessons we can and all we can do is wish you a lifetime of happiness as you start your own family. Don’t worry, I’ll always be here to show you how to change a nappy!

I wish to raise a toast to my daughter and her new husband. Although she’s too old to hold my hand, she’ll always hold my heart. Watching you grow from my little girl into the beautiful bride standing before me has filled me with such joy. Everyone you meet is touched by your kindness, generosity, love for life and cheeky humour. I am incredibly lucky to have you as a daughter and as a treasured friend too. I feel blessed to welcome Sam into our lives and thank him for the laughter and happiness he brings my daughter. I couldn’t wish for a better man for Alice than Sam; may the two of you have a long, happy and healthy life together. To Alice and Sam.

When is the Mother of the Bride Speech Given?


If the mother of the bride speech is in place of a father of the bride speech, then it will follow the traditional wedding speech order and go first. It’s followed by the groom’s speech and best man’s speech.

However, if the mother of the bride speech is an additional speech, then it’s a complement to the father of the bride speech and will come just after. If you’d both like to say a few words, then a joint speech is a lovely idea, but if you’re divorced, for example, and would both like to speak, then keep both speeches short. They’re both lovely for your daughter to listen to, but most guests will be wishing for their cake after 10 minutes!

Stick to a rule of 6-8 minutes for a mother of the bride speech, and 3-5 minutes maximum if the father is speaking too.

Tips for Giving a Mother of the Bride Speech


Prepare to get emotional. It’s a rare mother who won’t tear up at some point during her daughter’s wedding day. Combine all that emotion with speech nerves and perhaps a glass of champagne and you’re likely to shed a few tears during your speech. Have a tissue on hand and take a second to compose yourself if it gets too much.

Be funny. You will definitely have some funny tales to tell about your daughter – know that everyone’s on your side and just go for it.

Be wary not to steal thunder from other people’s speeches. You may feel like there’s lots of people you want to thank but this is usually the groom’s job. He will raise a glass to the guests who’ve travelled from far and wide, and to the bridesmaids and groomsmen. If there isn’t a groom, then decide between yourself and anyone else giving a speech who would like to do the thank yous!

Don’t forget the new in-laws. That said, if both sets of parents have helped a lot in the wedding preparations or financially contributed, you should definitely offer them a few words of gratitude and welcome to your family. You’re likely to have lots of shared grandparent duties together in the future.

Remember it’s not a CV. You’re proud, we know, but no guest really wants to hear you listing off everything from your daughter’s swimming badges and exam results.

Relax into it. A mother of the bride speech should be warm and witty. Don’t go too formal or you’ll sound stilted. Speak from the heart instead.

Ask her friends. They’re a fantastic source of background information. Ever wondering what really happened when they were 16 and you returned from a dinner out to find a flower pot in the fridge and all the toilet roll gone? You’re all old enough now to laugh together at the true story.

If you’re looking for that perfect mother of the bride outfit, check out our selection of gorgeous mother of the bride dress designs.

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