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Wedding etiquette: the speeches

09 APRIL 2010

While the speeches, like many parts of the wedding day, are open to interpretation, there is a traditional order that many newlyweds like to follow.

Father of the bride: The first speech is traditionally given by the bride's father, during which he shares memories and tender words for his daughter before proposing a toast to the happy couple.

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Bridegroom: The bridegroom then makes his speech, during which he will get the opportunity to say 'My wife and I' for the very first time, usually to a round of applause. He then thanks all the guests for attending, as well as those who have helped with the organisation of the wedding, and may wish to present the bride's mother and his own with a bouquet of flowers.

After thanking the bridesmaids and presenting attendants with any gifts, the groom then speaks about his new wife. After her husband's speech, the bride may also like to say a few words.

Best man: In contrast to the father of the bride's heartfelt speech, the best man is expected to share funny – but appropriate – anecdotes about the groom and memories from the past. He should finish with some kind words about the bride before proposing a toast to the happy couple.

The cake: After the speeches, it is traditional for the toastmaster or best man to announce the cutting of the cake. The couple make the first cut together before the cake is taken away to be sliced and distributed to guests.

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