Who says what at the wedding.

All you need is love and … a run down on wedding speeches.


Wedding speeches can scare the beejezus out of even the most confident person, and it can be the part of the wedding day that stresses people out the most.

There is a list of who traditionally performs speeches at a wedding, but this is really just a guideline and many couples choose to add extra people to the list, or lots of couples do away with the speeches altogether, knowing that sometimes people just want to get into their dinner and dessert and then the dancing part of the wedding. Fair enough I say.

Here’s a brief description of the traditional list of wedding speeches.

It is your Master of Ceremonies role (among others, see that list here The role of a Master of Ceremony) to seemlessly introduce the speech section of the evening, and to introduce each speaker, and then thank them afterwards.


Father of the bride – (or whoever gave the bride away, not always the father)

  • Welcomes and thanks the guests for coming.
  • Expresses how proud he and his wife, are of their daughter.
  • Welcomes the groom into the family.
  • Possibly shares one or two stories about the bride.
  • Shares words of wisdom and good wishes for the couple.
  • Proposes a toast to the couple.


  • Thanks his father-in-law for his kind words and the toast.
  • Thanks the brides parents for all their work raising the woman of his dreams (his new wife) and all their help with the wedding
  • Thanks the guests for coming and for the wedding gifts.
  • Acknowledges his best man for all his help, and any other helpers.
  • Acknowledges the bridesmaids, and thanks them for all their help with the wedding, and proposes a toast to them.

Best Man

  • Adds to the comments about the bridesmaid, lamenting how great they look today.
  • Congratulates the groom, on his good fortune, in marrying his new wife.
  • Possibly shares a story about the bride and groom, maybe about how they met.
  • Reads any messages to the bride and groom, from guests that couldn’t make it. Traditionally this was in the form of telegrams, and letters, these days it’s most likely to be texts and/or emails.

Invited guests

  • There may be other guests that have asked before hand to speak, or who you would like to include. Make sure that you have a general idea of the content of their speech, and that you communicate to them how long they have to speak. I would not recommend the Master of Ceremony, ask if anyone else would like to speak, on the fly, it opens you up to Great Uncle Barry, who’s had one too many beersies ramble on, or say something inappropriate.

This is by no way an exhaustive list, and it is very common for couples to include mother of the bride/groom, the bride herself, and a bridesmaid/maid of honour.

Make sure all your speakers know their time limit, say 5 mins, so they can tailor their speech accordingly.

I would not recommend forcing any-one to speak if they absolutely loath public speaking, it will either cause stress for the person, possibly stress your relationship with the person and probably lead to a bad speech, better to address everyone before hand, asking them if they are comfortable doing so (don’t assume, they may not have even thought they had to speak)and if they are not comfortable, then ask someone else or not have them speak at all.

Rehearsal? Hells yeah!!

All you need is love and … a wedding rehearsal.

Fridays in wedding season are rehearsal days for our house hold.  Why? … because I believe a rehearsal is an essential part of the wedding planning process.

I have a checklist that I use for every wedding rehearsal to ensure that I cover all the essentials before the big day.

Here’s whats on my checklist:

Logistics – where is everyone going to stand, the guys – hands in front vs behind, suits open vs closed, how far apart will they stand?



Rings – Who will have them, are they carried by the ringbearer, or just held by the best man? If carried by the ringbearer when will he give them to the best man at the beginning or will he be responsible enough to hold onto them throughout the ceremony and then give them to me for the ring exchange?

Signing of the marriage licence – who are the witnesses, do they know they are signing, where are we going to do the signing?

Procession (walking in) – the order of the processional, how the bridesmaids should walk, where to, where they should stand.  Where should the flower girl/ring bearer walk to and stand during the ceremony.


Double check of all pronounication of names – do I have the pronounication correct?

Recessional (walking out) – where to walk to, who’s walking with who (sometimes its the first time bridesmaids/groomsman meet each other)

Touch base with the MC – who are they, what time will they be there on the day, let them know I will be giving the couples copy of the marriage licence to them on the day, and remind them not to leave it on the back seat of the taxi (haha)

Music – who will be controlling the music? If we are using my PA then teach who ever is going to be in charge of the music how to control the volume etc. Also use the rehearsal to time the music to make sure the bridesmaid and bride know when to start walking etc.


Any special elements – if there are any special elements to the wedding – ring warming/unity ceremony etc, its a good chance to make sure everyone knows where that’s going to be done, and how.

Microphone – test the volume for the event.

Pick up the licence – take the licence from the couple, so I have it for the wedding day, and there’s no chance of it being forgotten.

Vows/Readings – show the bride and groom how the vows are written out for them and that I will have them on the day for them, and show whoever is doing a reading how that is written and where they will stand while they are doing the reading.

Wedding rehearsals can be done anytime during the week leading up to the wedding, if you have little people in your bridal party I think it’s best to do it the day before, because they have such small attention spans/memories, they need to know what they are going to do tomorrow, not in 3 days time, they won’t remember that far away.

A rehearsal settles everyone’s nerves, a wedding day can be stressful enough, so my aim to to make sure everyone feels happy about where/what/how they are going to do on the day.

A day in the life of a celebrant

All you need is love and … here’s what a saturday looks like for a celebrant.

So generally Saturday’s are game days for me.  That is wedding day for most couples and while a bride is getting herself made up and sipping champagne, and a groom and his boys may be sneaking in a round of golf, this is a run down on how I prepare.



Every Saturday morning starts with a 6.30 session at the gym.




The best celebrants are fuelled by coffee.



Checking that everything is sorted, filling in the date and address of the venue, making sure that I have everything, and then I pack it all into an envelope ready for the ceremony.  Checking that I have my pen, incase the couple don’t have a special one they want to use for the signing of the licence.



I always practice every ceremony 4-5 times, running through the entire ceremony, paying special attention to timing, and jokes and pronounication of names.  Doing this means that I feel completely comfortable with the ceremony.  I also practice with the microphone to make sure I can juggle it and the folder, and rings etc.

Testing the tools


Testing the public address system, making sure it’s charged up, making sure the volume is set correctly (it needs to be changed between inside and outside) checking the batteries in the cordless microphone, running all the songs for the wedding through to make sure the volume is correct and songs are all in the right order on the playlist.

Packing the car


The car gets packed up, with everything I’m going to take. PA System, bag of essentials (paperwork, microphone, water bottle, lollipops etc) The car always gets a bit of a wash the day of the wedding, it is my mobile business card after all.

Getting dressed


I pretty much always wear black to weddings.  When I meet with a couple in the planning stages I always ask what colour theme they are going with, this determines what I will wear. I wear black so that I don’t stand out, the attention needs to be on the bride and the bridesmaids.  If the bridesmaids are wearing black then I will wear another dark colour so I don’t look like I’m part of the bridal party.

Hair and Make-Up

hair and makeup

Not the same at the bridal party, but it’s important that I look my best, it is after all a wedding and I will be in a few of the couples wedding photos. I also make sure my toe nails are painted, because I nearly always wear open toed shoes.  It’s really important to me that I look my best.

On my way


So after a double check that everything I need is loaded into the car.  I’m on my way.  I always arrive at least 45 mins before the service. I recommend to the groom and his boys that he arrive at the same sort of time, because guests will always arrive early to a wedding, and it’s nice for him to be there early to greet his guests and make sure everything is spot on.  I set up my PA, make sure everything is working properly, brief the MC on using the music system during the ceremony. I set up the licence, on the table where it will be signed, checking to see if the couple needs my pen or they have their own. Then it’s time to check with the groom to see if he needs help with anything, quite often I’m pinning on buttonholes, making sure all the boys look great. I usually get a quick word with the photographer when they arrive to check if they need anything, and to brief them if anything special is happening during the ceremony, sand ceremony, candle of rememberance etc.

Ceremony time

Sorry no photos of the ceremony, it was an unplugged ceremony, so I asked the guests to refrain from taking photos during the ceremony.

After the ceremony


After the ceremony the photographer normally tries to get a group shot of all the guests, this is when I make sure all the paperwork is signed correctly, I place the couple’s copy of marriage licence into an envelope containing a copy of their ceremony and the cards that they use when they recite their wedding vows (as a keepsake of the day).  I then find the MC and give them this package to keep safe for the day, to give to the couple the next day. I pack everything up, and then have a little mingle with the guests, and go and find the couple to congratulate them and give them a quick hug.  I then make my exit, usually I get asked if I want to stay for a drink, but I think that a couple should celebrate with their family and friends, so I quietly leave.  Happy that I was able to share a couples special day with them.  It truly is a privilege, and I thank my lucky stars every time that I get to do this amazing job.

Mailing the paperwork


The next day the paperwork is placed in the mail box, on it’s way to Wellington, to make the marriage official.  I always message the couple the next day to congatulate them to let them know their paperwork has been mailed and to make sure they are happy with everything.

So there’s quite a lot of preparation for me on a wedding day, alot of behind the scenes work that needs to be done to ensure that everything goes off without a hitch.


The role of a Master of Ceremony

All you need is love … and a great Master of Ceremony

When I talk to a couple in the initial stages of their wedding ceremony planning I always ask if they have organised who will be their MC.  The MC is the person I will liaise with on the wedding day if there are any issues, and it is also the person who I give the couple’s marriage licence to after the wedding.  So when choosing your MC think about the person who you know will not leave the licence on the back seat of the taxi on the way home.

Why have a MC?

A MC will be like a ‘Person Friday’ on your wedding day.  They will be the person who will be the point of contact for any guest questions, any vendor questions, and ensure the smooth running of the wedding day.  They are not just for the speeches at the wedding reception.

How to choose an MC

  • Choose someone who’s personality fits the tone of your wedding/wedding reception. If you want it to be humorous/casual then choose someone who can pull that off, if you’re going for a more formal/traditional vibe then go for someone that way inclined, normally someone a little older.
  • Choose someone who feels comfortable speaking to an audience.
  • Choose someone who is organised and a good communicator, someone who can keep to your time line, and can communicate to event staff to ensure everything runs smoothly.
  • Someone with a can-do attitude, who is going to be OK pitching in to help when needed.
  • Someone who either doesn’t drink, can stay sober or can control their drinking, they need to be in control throughout the day/night.

How to be a stellar MC

  • Spend some time before the wedding, liaising with the bride and groom to create a time line of the day.  It’s a great idea to also be at the wedding rehearsal to make sure you have a good grasp on what’s going to happen. Make sure you know the names of the bridal party, parents, grandparents, it makes it a bit more personal.
  • Test the microphone before the reception, and practice using the volume and the acoustics of the space.
  • Make sure you are seated near the front so you don’t have to constantly move through the guests to get to the microphone.
  • Introduce yourself at the beginning, and a little spiel about how you know the bride and groom.
  • Be humorous, but appropriate, remember there will probably be grandparents/and or small children at the reception. No jokes about what happened on the stag night!
  • Introduce the speakers, and make sure you actually know who they are before hand, so you’re not aimlessly looking into the crowd after you introduce them.
  • Be able to go with the flow, sometimes things don’t always go according to plan, be able to roll with it.
  • Communicate with event staff, bride and groom, parents etc. Make sure every one knows what’s going to happen and when.
  • Be the point of contact for event staff, you may need to be able to perform last minute errands, if someone forgets something, or you run out of juice etc.
  • Stay relatively sober.  No one wants to listen to a slurring MC.
  • You will be the person to make announcements during the day, family photos, social media requests, when dinner is served, introducing the bride and groom, cutting the cake and the first dance.
  • Make sure the guests are aware of the house rules at the beginning of the reception, where the toilets are, smoking etc.

It is an honour to be asked to be a MC, its a big job which can definitely have an impact on a couples wedding day.  Think carefully when choosing a MC and think carefully before saying you’ll do it.