Whether you find them boring, are concerned a member of the wedding party is going to blow it, or just want more time to dance and drink — there are plenty of reasons to not want speeches at your wedding.
So, can you have a wedding with no speeches?
Yes, you can have a wedding with no speeches. They’re not required, so you can either skip them entirely, do a slight twist on the traditional speech, or replace them with speech-free alternatives.
Wedding Speech Alternatives
If you’re convinced no speeches is the right way to go, or if you just want to do something a bit different, our list of wedding speech alternatives has something for every bride.
Note: To avoid any confusion or misunderstandings with potential speakers, be sure to communicate your plans ahead of time with everyone that needs to know.
If you’re dead set on not having any speeches, then you’re sure to love at least one of these speech-free alternatives.
Have the DJ make an announcement
You’ll need to coordinate with your DJ on this, but it’s as simple as them making a quick intro.
Depending on your timeline, this could be during the transition from cocktail hour to reception, or from ceremony to dinner.
Short and sweet is best, here’s an example: “Dinner is starting shortly. The happy couple welcomes and thanks you all for being here. Please join me in raising a glass to [Bride] and [Groom]. Let’s have a great night!”
Use the back of your wedding program
Make the most out of your wedding programs by using the back side to thank everyone for attending.
Just type up a thank you and put it on there – it’s as simple as that!
Here’s an example: “We are so honored and grateful to have you join us on this special day. Thank you all for your unwavering love, generosity and support in making today happen. We truly appreciate each and every one of you.”
Put together a slideshow
This one’s super easy – grab some photos of you the guests, add some words thanking them for coming and you’re all set!
With that being said, there’s a few ways to go about this, so let’s list them out:
- Create the slideshow yourselves (bride and groom)
- Have the wedding party put together a slideshow in lieu of their speeches
- Collaborate with the wedding party to create a joint slideshow
As for when and where where it should be played, you have a couple of options:
- Have the slideshow play once, either during cocktail hour or dinner
- Have the slideshow play on loop throughout the reception
Read a poem
While reading poems is still a form of public speaking, there are a few reasons to choose them over speeches:
- You (or the wedding party) can read them line-by-line off a piece a paper
- They don’t have to be written just for the occasion (it’s perfectly fine to use an existing poem that fits your theme)
- And most importantly, they aren’t very long!
Tip: End on a high note with a short toast after your poem.
Traditional Speech Alternatives
If you’re not sold on skipping speeches altogether, then consider incorporating one of these twists on the traditional speech.
Have speeches at the rehearsal dinner
Instead of forgoing speeches altogether, you could have anyone that wants to make a speech do so at the rehearsal dinner. This way everyone that wants to say something nice still has that opportunity, and you get to nix speeches from your wedding day.
But if you don’t mind speeches – and are more concerned about the potential time suck – another option could be to have some speeches during the rehearsal dinner and the rest on your wedding day.
Give a joint speech
If being the center of attention is daunting, have people do them as a pair (or even as a group). Potential combinations include:
- Bride and groom
- Mother and father of the bride
- Best man and maid of honor
Giving the speech together should make it more fun and enjoyable for everyone involved, not to mention less stressful!
Give a thank you speech
If you’re dead set on not having traditional speeches, you might want to consider at least giving a quick thank you speech (or toast) at some point. Whether it’s between the cocktail hour and dinner, at the rehearsal, or some other time – it’s important that guests know you appreciate them being there.
If you opt to do it at the rehearsal dinner, then make sure to do something for the people that weren’t there, like going from table-to-table at the reception to thank guests personally.
Change the speech-givers
Tradition dictates that only certain people should be allowed to (or even need to) give a speech, but doesn’t that seem rather outdated?
Consider breaking that tradition by allowing anyone that wants to give a speech the opportunity to do so. With that being said, make sure they adhere to proper speech etiquette and follow any guidelines that are important to you.
Limit the number of speakers
If your potential speech-givers are introverts (or aren’t the greatest of public speakers), then consider limiting the number of speakers to a select few. We suggest you turn to guests that are both enthusiastic about speaking and are likely to follow general speech etiquette (no unnecessary details, excessive rambling, etc.)
Make speeches optional
Chances are, at least some of your potential speakers would opt out of speaking – given the choice – so let them decide for themselves! The last thing you want at your wedding are guests doing something they don’t want to (for obvious reasons).
Alter the timeline
Depending on how many speakers you have, it might make sense to slot them in at different parts of the day to avoid speech fatigue. Or if you’d prefer to have speeches during unconventional times – for whatever reason – then go for it! It’s your wedding after all and tradition is just tradition until it’s not.
Limit speech time
Instead of doing away with speeches altogether, consider telling your speakers to keep it short and sweet. As a rule of thumb, under three minutes is ideal, but you might want to tell everyone they only have one to two minutes (if you want their speeches to come in under three minutes).
Alternatively, have someone look over the speeches in advance to see if they need to be cut down.
Assign an editor
As mentioned above, having someone look over speeches to ensure the right length is great, but having a speech editor is even better because you can monitor the contents of the speech to make sure that there are no embarrassing details, vulgar language, inside jokes, etc.
Instead of having speech givers rely solely on their own research, consider setting your own guidelines to ensure the speech is well received by guests and you alike. Here are some suggested tips/guidelines for them to follow:
- Keep your speech concise (under three minutes)
- Focus on the groom and bride
- Don’t talk about yourself
- Never talk about exes
- Avoid inside jokes
- Be funny (in moderation)
- Use a common theme
- Don’t talk too fast
Print out speeches (or use cards)
If it helps the speaker deliver a stellar speech, then let them use print outs or cards when they’re in front of an audience. Some consider it unnecessary given the length of speeches, but every speaker is different so make sure to be accommodating.