The wedding rehearsal acts as a run-through for everything on the wedding day, including the speeches. Therefore, it should come as no surprise to know that many of the people who are asked to give speeches at the wedding reception are also included in the rehearsal dinner's lineup. Though it's not recommended that the speakers give the same speech both nights, it gives them a chance to work out their nerves in a smaller setting.
The Rehearsal's Host
The person hosting the rehearsal dinner -- usually the groom's father -- gives the first speech of the night. The speech occurs after the serving of the first course, and the groom's father thanks the guests for coming to celebrate with him. It is also courteous to thank the bride's parents for hosting the wedding, if they are doing so. He then wishes the bride and groom well in their marriage and introduces the next speaker.
The Bride's Father
The bride's father traditionally speaks second, taking his turn to wish his daughter and her fiance well. But it's also a good idea to include a funny anecdote during the speech, as the rehearsal dinner offers an opportunity for the guests to relax before the intensity of the wedding day. In addition, it's appropriate to thank everyone for attending, particularly if the rehearsal dinner acts in part as a mixer for out-of-town guests. He then introduces the next speaker at the end of his speech.
The Best Man
Because the best man's speech holds such a prominent place in the wedding reception, not all couples will ask their best man to perform twice. If they do, however, remember that the rehearsal dinner is less formal than the reception itself. Therefore, it's acceptable to be lighthearted in your speech. As with the reception speech, keep any remarks that could be seen as offensive to yourself. If the bride and groom want to speak as well, introduce them when you have finished.
The Bride and Groom
If they wish, the bride and groom may also give speeches at the dinner. Traditionally, the groom will speak after the best man. He should then toast the bride and her family, thanking them for their acceptance of him into their family. He then introduces the bride, who will toast the groom and his family. She can thank them for their support of their relationship throughout their engagement and earlier relationship. Both the bride and groom may want to say a few words to everyone, thanking them for their help with the wedding planning. They can then hand out gifts to their attendants before everyone retires for the night.
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Andrea Hamilton has enjoyed being a writer since 1996. She has been published as a poet in "Fine Lines Magazine." Hamilton holds a Bachelor of Arts in literature from Iowa State University and is pursuing a Master of Arts in creative writing from London South Bank University.
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