Who says only the dads get to take the mic at their children’s weddings? Many moms are breaking with tradition and are choosing to deliver a speech at the weddings of their daughters as well.
The perfect mother of the bride speech will not only talk about what makes your daughter so special, it will be heartfelt, emotional and may make you and your daughter cry. But it’s also the perfect time for you to share your wisdom with the newlyweds and welcome a new family member into the fold.
Unless you’re used to speaking publicly, trying to craft and deliver a touching mother of the bride speech can seem like a tall order. But compared to giving birth, running after a toddler or dealing with teenage shenanigans, giving a speech will seem like a breeze, especially if you follow our tips. Our mother of the bride speech guide will not only help you create a speech you’re proud of, but will help you deliver it with style.
15 Things to Remember for a Marvelous Mother of the Bride Speech
Your daughter’s wedding is a happy, yet emotional time. To help you deliver a memorable speech that will touch her heart, keep these 15 important tips in mind.
1. Brainstorm for ideas
Writing a speech is not for the faint at heart. It takes time, effort and a lot of planning. That’s why we recommend brainstorming before putting pen to paper.
Try thinking about:
- What was she like as a child and how she has changed over the years?
- What hobbies did she have?
- Did she have any childhood obsessions? (ie: pretending she was a Disney princess or having to climb every tree she saw)
- What memories of her make you proud or make you laugh?
- What job did she want as a child and what does she do now?
After choosing your favorite one or two memories, write your speech so it revolves around them. Remember, choosing one special memory and talking about it in detail is always better than touching briefly on five amusing anecdotes.
Pro tip: Having a speech that is brief is far better than speaking too long.
2. Make your opening memorable
As the mother of the bride, you’re the most important woman in attendance after the bride, so make sure everyone knows it by delivering a great opening. Introducing yourself as the mother of the bride is, of course, important, but be creative about it.
Rather than saying, “Hi, I’m Alison, mother of the bride,” try something like, “good evening, I’m Alison, proud mom of Mallory, our beautiful bride.” Not only does this opening show more affection for your daughter, it’s a simple yet effective way to grab everyone’s attention.
3. Briefly acknowledge guests
While your speech should primarily focus on your daughter, it’s still important to take a few seconds to express your thanks to the guests for joining you in celebrating her special day.
You won’t need to offer any other thank yous, however. That job belongs to the groom as the host of the evening. It will be up to him to offer more in-depth thanks to the guests, as well as acknowledge the vendors and anyone else who helped make the wedding a success in his speech.
4. Keep your speech short
As a mom, you could probably talk for hours about how awesome your daughter is, but it’s important to focus on a few key points or your speech will be way too long.
As lovely as a mother of the bride’s speech is, the guests will quickly lose interest if your talk drags on and on. The best mom of the bride speeches are typically between three and five minutes. If however, you’re giving a speech in place of the traditional father of the bride speech, you can make it a bit longer. Between five and six minutes is perfect for a standalone parent speech.
5. Reminisce about the bride
If you followed our tips about brainstorming, you should have a ton of material from which to choose for your speech. The key is to choose the best one or two memories that truly give insight into who the bride is.
Some of the best wedding speeches talk about the bride during childhood or adolescence and then transition to who the bride is now either because of or in spite of her earlier experiences.
Perhaps you can talk about how as a child she always played caregiver with her dolls and stuffed animals. You can relay how she put bandages on their knees, took their temperatures and listened to their heartbeat with her toy stethoscope. Given her passion for healing her toys, you can say, it’s no wonder that she went on to study medicine and is now well on her way to becoming a pediatrician.
Or maybe you can share how she used to love to put on an apron and a chef’s hat and create delicious desserts for the family to try and her very first creation, an apple cake, has since been revamped and is now her specialty as a professional caterer.
No matter what stories you choose to tell, sweet is always better than embarrassing.
6. Don’t talk about yourself
As the mother of the bride, you’re likely the one who knows your daughter best and you no doubt have countless wonderful memories of the times you’ve spent together. While relaying a story about some mother-daughter time you shared can be very special, keep the focus on the bride rather than on you.
After introducing yourself, reference yourself as little as possible. The goal is to talk about the bride and her new spouse.
7. You don’t have to be funny
While a lot of speakers at weddings attempt to get laughs from the crowd, you shouldn’t feel pressured to do so. Writing a speech from the heart is far more important than telling a few jokes. If that comes naturally to you, then go for it! Otherwise, stick to what you know — saying complimentary things about your daughter.
Pro tip: If you have an inside joke or two with your daughter, your speech is not the time to share them. If the wedding guests don’t understand what you’re talking about, they will stop listening pretty quickly.
8. It’s OK to cry
If you’re the type of mom who cries easily or gets emotional expressing her love for her kids, you may be worried about crying during your speech. But proud tears, happy tears, sentimental tears — they are all a mother’s prerogative.
Whether you shed a few tears, get very emotional or don’t cry at all — it’s OK. Not a single one of the guests will fault you for crying or not crying. Just be your authentic self and your daughter will be happy.
9. Make your speech unique
If there’s one thing all loving moms have in common it’s that they think their daughters are wonderful. So it should come as no surprise that many moms use the same complimentary words to describe their daughters in their wedding speeches: Amazing, smart, kind and talented.
Rather than using flowery words and adjectives to describe the bride, however, try to explain why she is all of those things instead.
Instead of saying your daughter is smart, tell the story of her being the reigning spelling bee champion at her elementary school. Rather than saying she’s kind, tell your guests how she, as a teenager, volunteered time every summer to work with children with learning disabilities.
There are some adjectives you can use as much as you like, however. Beautiful, lovely, stunning, gorgeous — you can never overdo it when describing a bride’s beauty.
10. Talk about the new addition to your family
We know you’ll have a lot to say about your daughter, but it’s important that you mention her new spouse too. This is your chance to truly welcome your daughter’s partner into your family.
If your daughter and her sweetheart have been together for a long time, you may even have a short story to share about how you’ve watched their love grow or about how well they complement each other.
11. Mention the bride’s father
If your speech is taking the place of the traditional father of the bride speech, then mentioning your daughter’s dear old dad is a nice touch. Whether you’re still together or you’re divorced, you can talk about a memory that involves him and your daughter, talk about a particularly great characteristic she inherited from him or mention how special their relationship is.
If the bride’s dad has passed away, then your speech should pay tribute to him. As emotional as that moment might be, don’t avoid mentioning him because you’re afraid you’ll cry. The key is to balance the poignant with the joyful for a truly touching speech.
12. Share your wisdom
If you’re still happily married to the bride’s dad, your speech is the perfect time to share some tips on how to have a good marriage. If you’re divorced but your parents are still married, ask your mother for her advice and incorporate it into your speech. Your daughter will love getting advice on a successful marriage from her grandmother.
13. End with a toast
The best way to end your speech is by offering your congratulations to your daughter and her spouse and then toasting their happiness.
Feel free to ask your guests to rise and lift their glasses of bubbly along with you. Just make sure that you give everyone a chance to stand before giving your toast.
14. Don’t talk too fast
It’s completely natural to feel nervous about speaking in front of a large group of people. Sometimes that nervousness can make you want to talk quickly so you can also be finished more quickly. Rushing through your speech, however, will make it harder for the guests to follow and spoil what should be a fond memory for your daughter.
One of the best ways to deal with nerves is to take a few, calming deep breaths before stepping up to the mic. Don’t look out at the guests, if that makes you nervous, instead concentrate on your daughter, her spouse and anyone else who makes you feel relaxed.
It’s also important to use a moderately-paced, conversational tone. Imagine you’re sitting down for coffee with your daughter and try to emulate that same casual way of speaking when giving your speech.
15. Practice beforehand
You know the old saying (you’ve probably even said it to your children). But practice truly does make perfect. Or as close to perfect as possible.
Memorizing your speech isn’t necessary, but experts do recommend practicing until it flows and the delivery feels natural. Start practicing roughly a week before the big day and rehearse as much as you need to to feel comfortable.
It can also help to practice your speech in front of your husband or partner or a friend to get feedback. If they suggest a few changes, be open to tweaking it. Experts also suggest practicing in front of the mirror to work on your body language and recording yourself to polish your enunciation, pacing and pausing in the right places.
If you’re still in need of inspiration, these examples will have you well on your way to crafting your own amazing speech for your daughter’s big day.
Good evening, everyone. I’m Helen, mother of our gorgeous bride, Kristina.
Thank you for joining us today to celebrate Kristina and Matt as they embark on this brand new chapter of their lives. Don’t they both look fabulous tonight? They really are a beautiful couple.
Kristina, as our one and only daughter, we’ve always prayed that you would love and be loved by a man who thinks the sun rises and sets on you, just like your Dad and I do. And it makes us so thankful that you have found that with Matt. Watching your love story unfold with Matt has been our privilege. And let me tell you, there truly is nothing more special than watching your little girl find her happily ever after.
Kristina, from the time she was four years old, was in love with all things Disney Princess. She had all of the princess outfits and would dress up in the different dresses and act out the scenes from the Disney movies with Mr. Fluffles, her favorite teddy bear, playing the role of the handsome prince. Her favorite pair was Cinderella and Prince Charming and we got to see the reenactment of that story many times over the years.
While her time of dress up and reenactments did come to an end when she was about 10 years old, Kristina remained a romantic at heart. While she may have lost her passion for Disney as she entered her pre-teen years, her dreams of happily ever after continued. She had a special wedding scrapbook where she would write ideas and cut out and paste pictures from magazines of the perfect dress, perfect bouquet, the perfect cake. I guess you could say Kristina has been planning this wedding for a very long time.
Aside from being a romantic, Kristina has always been unfailingly kind and tenderhearted. From the time she started school in kindergarten to the time she graduated high school, she always made it her mission to befriend everyone she met. It truly did hurt her heart to see anyone excluded or made fun of and she was even known to stand up to a bully or two on behalf of her friends.
There are many things your father and I are so proud of Kristina, your intelligence, your determination, your optimism and your quick wit are just a few of the things we love about you. But it is your compassion for others and the way you live your life in service to others as a special needs educator, as a volunteer and as a friend that makes your father and I the most proud. We couldn’t have asked for a better daughter than you, sweetheart. You are so precious to us.
As hard as it might be to let go sometimes, we can give you with confidence to your Prince Charming, Matt.
Not only does Matt fit into our family seamlessly, but Kristina has also been welcomed with open arms by Matt’s parents, Alice and Bill. I am so thankful to both of you for treating our daughter as one of your own.
Matt, we have watched the way you have loved and cared for our daughter over the past four years and we are so thankful that you found each other. You are everything we could have wanted for Kristina and more and we are excited to witness the life you’ll have together as husband and wife.
If there’s one piece of advice I can give you it is that you never take your love or marriage for granted. Love is a precious gift, and it must be nurtured daily so that it can thrive and grow. My hope and prayer for you both is that you will make a conscious decision every day to choose each other no matter what comes your way. We wish you many years together of love, laughter, health and happiness.
Let’s toast the bride and groom together. (wait for people to grab their glasses) To Kristina and Matt!
Thank you everyone for being with us tonight to celebrate this beautiful couple. My name is Lisa, the proud mother of the bride. I promised Bree that I wouldn’t get emotional, but I know if I do all of the parents here tonight will understand. When you witness your child say “I do” to the man of her dreams and start a brand new life with him, it’s hard not to tear up a bit, isn’t it?
Bree, I just want to say how stunning you look tonight in that dress. Twenty years ago when you were a tomboy climbing trees and playing in the mud, you refused to wear a skirt let alone a dress. And, at that time, I often wondered if I’d ever see you in one. While you did relax on your no dress rule over the years, tonight’s dress tops them all. You look like a princess.
Bree has always loved the outdoors. When she was a child, she’d spend as much time playing outside as she possibly could and, inevitably, always came home filthy. Luckily, she liked taking baths a lot more than she liked wearing dresses. She and her best friend Bobbi, tonight’s maid of honor, were always off on some adventure. From building forts to catching fireflies, they were always busy and I know Bobbi always went home just as dirty as Bree did.
Once the pre-teen years set in, Bree’s outdoor exploits, thankfully, became a lot less dirty. It was at this time that she discovered her love of reading and writing and she would often take a new book or a notebook and pen outside to read and write under her favorite tree. Her dad and I could quickly see that she had a flair for the written word and were always so interested to read the imaginative tales that she penned. Her love of adventure and zest for life were present in every single story.
As she got older, her tales changed from wild wilderness adventures to mystery stories full of intrigue. When she was 16, she entered an amateur fiction writing contest where she was competing against many college-aged writers. Her dad and I were so proud when she took second place. We knew it was the beginning of something great for her.
We would have many proud moments over the years from graduating from Columbia, to getting your first job in publishing to starting work on your first novel. Despite your successes, we are most proud of you for the way you love. You love life and tackle each day like it’s an adventure. You love your friends and are always there for them when they need you. You love your family and are the best daughter we could ever have asked for. And most of all, we are proud of the love you’ve found with Shawn.
You have always been a happy person, but since falling in love with him, you have a new type of joy. It’s the kind of happiness your father and I have always wished for you.
Shawn, we are so pleased to welcome you into our family as our son. We love you for your sense of humor, generosity and the way you put everyone at ease. But we love you most for the way you love Bree. We have no doubt that you will love and care for our daughter just as much as we do and we know that you can make her happy like no one else can.
As the two of you embark on the adventure of marriage, I encourage you that no matter how busy life gets with work, kids or other commitments that you will set aside time for each other. Take time daily to talk about your day and share what’s on your minds with each other. Set aside time weekly for a date night, whether that means going out or staying in, devote that time strictly to each other. Keeping your connection strong is as simple as investing time in each other and your relationship.
Your dad and I wish you a wonderful marriage full of joy and many, many blessings.
Let’s toast the happy couple together. (wait for people to grab their glasses) To Bree and Shawn!