rehearsal dinner speech

by | Apr 24, 2024 | inspiration

The rehearsal dinner is where the magic of the wedding weekend begins to sparkle. It’s an evening filled with anticipation, laughter, and the unmistakable warmth of gathering close friends and family. Here, rehearsal dinner speeches aren’t just a tradition—they’re a highlight, offering a chance to share heartfelt stories and express joy in an intimate setting.

Whether you’re a parent, a close friend, or the couple themselves, crafting a speech that resonates with humor and sincerity can elevate the occasion. Are you ready to create a moment that shines as brightly as the celebration?

Who gives speeches at the rehearsal dinner?

While the wedding day often follows a strict script, the rehearsal dinner offers a more relaxed stage for voices to be heard. Traditionally, the hosts—usually the groom’s parents—kick off the speeches. The couple’s parents often follow them, extending warm welcomes and sharing their joy. However, this is also a perfect opportunity for others close to the couple, like siblings or lifelong friends, to deliver their messages.

But why limit the floor to family alone? Anyone who has played a significant role in the couple’s journey or has poignant words to share is welcome to speak. This can include mentors, grandparents, or even colleagues with special bonds with the bride or groom.

By setting the expectation that the rehearsal dinner is a time for meaningful reflections, the evening becomes an open platform for all to express their sentiments, ensuring a rich tapestry of memories and well-wishes that set a heartfelt precedent for the wedding day.

When to give rehearsal dinner speeches

Rehearsal dinner speeches typically take place after the meal has been served but before any final festivities of the evening begin. This timing allows guests to relax and enjoy their dinner under the soft glow of string lights, setting a receptive mood for the speeches.

Bridal bingo

It’s common for the host to initiate the speeches, setting the stage for others to follow. Planning the order and timing can help ensure the evening flows smoothly and keeps everyone engaged.

Crafting your rehearsal dinner speech

Creating a rehearsal dinner speech that captures the essence of your feelings and the occasion’s significance can seem daunting. But with a thoughtful approach, you can compose a speech that resonates deeply with the couple and all the guests. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

Start with gratitude: Begin your speech by expressing thanks. Acknowledge the hosts, the guests, and anyone who has helped make the wedding festivities possible. This sets a positive tone and connects you with the audience immediately.

Share a personal story: Choose a story highlighting their qualities or a memorable moment you’ve shared. This personal touch adds warmth and invites the audience into the intimacy of your relationship with the couple.

Consider decorating your tables with simple yet elegant bud vases to enhance the intimate and personal feel of your rehearsal dinner.

Connect to the bigger picture: Link your story to a broader theme, such as love, commitment, or growth. Discuss how these themes have manifested in the couple’s relationship and what they suggest about their future together.

Offer your blessings or advice: Towards the end, share some words of wisdom or heartfelt wishes. Whether it’s advice based on your experiences or a blessing for their journey ahead, this part of the speech should inspire and uplift.

Conclude with a toast: A well-chosen wedding rehearsal dinner toast can significantly enrich your speech. When selecting your toast, consider one that mirrors the warmth and humor you share with the couple, infusing it with a personal touch that highlights their unique qualities and shared experiences.

Crafting your rehearsal dinner speech

Elevate your message by weaving in a poignant quote that resonates with their journey together. This approach adds depth to your words and makes the moment memorable for everyone present.

Rehearsal dinner speech etiquette

Adhering to certain etiquette and practical tips when preparing a rehearsal dinner speech can ensure it resonates well and is remembered for all the right reasons. First, consider the timing: keeping your speech between three and five minutes is ideal, as it holds the audience’s attention while allowing enough time to express heartfelt sentiments.

Humor is a cherished element in any speech, but it’s crucial to gauge the tone and content so it’s appropriate for all guests. Personal stories or jokes should be inclusive and respectful, enhancing the speech without overshadowing the focus on honoring the couple.

Adorning your tables with flameless LED candles can create a warm and inviting atmosphere, perfect for heartfelt speeches.

In terms of content, balance is key. Sharing personal details adds authenticity and warmth, but it’s important to choose stories suitable for a diverse audience that positively reflect on the couple and their future together. Remember, a great speech often involves what you say and what you choose to leave out wisely.

Practice and delivery tips

Practicing your speech is essential to delivering it confidently. Rehearse in front of a mirror or with a trusted friend to refine your delivery and adjust your pacing. The more familiar you are with your speech, the more naturally it will come across, allowing you to engage with your audience rather than just reading from a note. For those nervous about speaking in public, consider practicing in the venue or a similar setting to get comfortable with the space.

Enhance the ambiance of your rehearsal dinner with our expert tablescape services. Let our designs add elegance and personality to your special evening.

Avoid holding your glass while speaking, as it can become a distraction, especially if you manage a microphone and your notes. Instead, place it on a table nearby and have someone hand it to you when it’s time for the toast.

After raising your glass, make sure to take a sip. This gesture completes the toast and symbolizes your genuine wishes for the couple. Even if you’re toasting with water, it’s a fitting close to your speech.

Rehearsal dinner speeches can be emotional. If you think you might become teary or overwhelmed, plan pauses in your speech where you can take a moment to compose yourself. Keeping a small handkerchief or some tissues handy isn’t bad either.

Techniques such as pausing for emphasis, making eye contact, and using gestures can greatly enhance your delivery, making your speech more dynamic and engaging. These small details can help convey your emotions and ensure your message resonates deeply with the couple and the guests, fitting perfectly within the dynamics of wedding rehearsal dinner speeches.

Memory lane

As you prepare your rehearsal dinner speech, remember the key elements that make it memorable. For additional guidance on every aspect of rehearsal dinner preparation, explore our comprehensive rehearsal dinner ideas & tips.

Rehearsal dinner speech examples

Speech by the parents of the couple

Good evening, everyone. Tonight fills me with immense pride and joy as a parent. Watching my child on the brink of this beautiful new chapter is a profoundly touching moment. The journey has been extraordinary, from the early days of bright-eyed dreams to the wonderful person standing before us today.

I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to each of you here tonight. Your support and love have immeasurably enriched our lives and contributed to this day’s happiness. To my child and their wonderful partner, your love story is a testament to commitment and mutual respect, and it has been a privilege to witness your love flourish.

As you stand on the threshold of this new life together, remember that love is the cornerstone to sustain and nurture your union. May your path be filled with joy, laughter, and the deepest love. Let’s raise our glasses to a future replete with happiness and love!

Speech by a member of the wedding party

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a thrill to stand here today, celebrating the journey that has led to this moment. For as long as I have known [name of the bride/groom/partner], I’ve witnessed a love that exemplifies dedication and joy.

This evening, as we come together in joy and celebration, let’s reflect on the moments that have defined their relationship—a journey marked by laughter, support, and deep love. [Consider inserting a personal anecdote that highlights the couple’s relationship.]

Thank you, [couple’s names], for letting us share in your special day. Here’s to a future filled with adventure, happiness, and an ever-deepening love. Cheers to many wonderful years ahead!

Additional example speech for friends and family

Hello, everyone! It’s a joy to celebrate this significant day with all of you. Seeing [couple’s names] happy and in love together truly blesses our family.

speeches for friends and family

Tonight, we honor a union of two incredible people and the joining of families and hearts. [Feel free to include a memorable story about the couple here.] As we look forward to their future, let us toast to their happiness, the love that binds them, and a life filled with joy and laughter.

To [couple’s names], may your love continue to be your guiding light. Cheers to a beautiful beginning and a lifetime of happiness!

Final thoughts

As you prepare your rehearsal dinner speech, remember the key elements that make it memorable: heartfelt gratitude and well-chosen words. Keep your speech concise, engage with humor wisely, and balance personal details with inclusivity. Most importantly, let your authenticity and genuine affection for the couple shine through.

Speaking from the heart isn’t just a tip—it’s the essence of a speech that will resonate with every guest and leave a lasting impression on a special evening.


What should I do if I accidentally say something embarrassing or make a mistake during my speech?

Simply acknowledge the slip with a smile and move on. A quick, light-hearted remark can help diffuse any awkwardness. Remember, the audience is generally supportive and forgiving.

How can I ensure my rehearsal dinner speech resonates with all generations present?

Use universal themes like love, family, friendship, and shared memories. Keep cultural references broad, and explain personal anecdotes clearly so everyone understands their significance.

What should I do if I get too emotional during my rehearsal dinner speech?

If emotions get the better of you during your speech, it’s perfectly okay to pause, breathe deeply, and then continue. Audience members typically appreciate the sincerity and are often touched by the emotion.

How can I practice my speech effectively if I’m short on time?

To make your practice more efficient, try practicing in different environments (like your car or while walking the dog). Record yourself to catch nuances you might miss while reading, and play it back to refine your delivery.

Is it appropriate to reference past difficulties or challenges the couple has overcome in the speech?

Yes, but handle it with care. Frame challenges in a positive light, focusing on growth, resilience, and the strength of the couple’s relationship. Always maintain respect for the couple’s privacy and sensitivity.

Olga and Vlad Picnic Makers

Vlad and Olga

Hello, beautiful souls! 🌸 We’re Vlad and Olga, the storytellers behind each journey. Join us on this adventure as we share tales of joy, celebration, and a life well-lived. Thanks for being part of our magical story! 🌟

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