Raise your glasses to the moms taking the mic at wedding receptions to give their very own mother-of-the-bride speech (why should fathers have all the fun?). While we know moms are basically superhuman creatures with an endless array of skills and abilities, public speaking can be a feat to shake even the supernatural heroes amongst us. Not to mention the added flood of mixed emotions that will be present throughout the day. Delivering a heartfelt speech to a crowd of family members and newly-minted in-laws will surely have you feeling a bit nervous; and we can't dismiss the act of finding the right words to convey everything you're feeling in the first place. But rest assured, mamas, we've got a guide to help you ease your minds and fortify your wits. We suggest you share your new expertise with any tongue-tied dads out there.
Here, expert tips that will help you write—and deliver—the perfect toast on your daughter's big day. Cheers to that!
1. Write Down All Your Thoughts on Paper
This momentous occasion is probably not the best time to wing it. “Start the process informally by simply writing down any and all things you want to make sure to include, from fond memories to advice on love for the newlyweds. As you lay it out on paper, you’ll see that an organic flow may come together quickly,” says Kylie Carlson, CEO of Wedding Academy Global.
2. Choose Happy Memories to Share
As you choose memories, focus on positive, happy moments—telling a story that highlights how your daughter overcame something unpleasant or embarrassing shouldn't be shared on her wedding day. Never mention previous relationships or marriages and don't talk about unfulfilled dreams. Only talk about the best memories of your daughter's life.
3. Welcome Your New Son- or Daughter-in-Law
No mother-of-the-bride speech would be complete without a warm welcome to her daughter's new partner. Amy Abbott, owner of Amy Abbott Events, explains that a good way to honor your new son- or daughter-in-law is to make it clear that you feel you're gaining a new member of your family and that they are welcome, as well as a nod to how they have changed or complemented your daughter for the better.
4. Highlight Your Daughter’s Accomplishments, But Don’t List Them All
Theoretically, the guests should already know what the bride does for a living. Reciting every success she's ever had, in detail, is completely unnecessary. Being proud of her accomplishments is fine, but you don't have to list each and every one of her achievements at her wedding to make a point.
5. Remember to Pause and Breathe Throughout Your Toast
If your nerves are starting to get to you, you might start speeding through your speech. To combat this, take a deep breath and remember that it’s alright to take a pause. “Many people forget just how powerful a pause can be. If your nerves are getting to you, take a moment to gather yourself before continuing. Most guests will take this silence as you giving them a moment to fully receive the last bit of sentiment you shared. Center yourself by making eye contact with the bride, breathe, and continue,” says Paulette Alkire, lead wedding planner at Chalet View Lodge in California.
6. Don’t Feel Pressured to ‘Be Funny’
Sure, humor is great—but if you're not a naturally funny person, don't push your limits on your daughter's most important day. Just be yourself—be sincere and honest—the rest will follow and your daughter will love it.
7. Practice Beforehand
Write your mother-of-the-bride speech well in advance of the wedding so you’ll have plenty of time to practice it. “Try giving the speech out loud on your own, run it by a few trusted friends or family members, and then set it aside for a bit. This gives you time to return to the speech in a week or two with a fresh perspective. You’ll want to increase your time to practice on it in the last month. No matter what the speech, the calmest of presenters are the most practiced.” says Carlson.
8. Avoid Inside Jokes
You might have some amazing inside jokes that will make your daughter laugh, but no one else will find them funny. "Avoid inside jokes to keep the speech inclusive of everyone listening," says Alkire.
9. Keep It Short and Sweet
You're talking about your daughter, and we know you could probably go on about how amazing she is for hours, but a good rule of thumb is to limit your speech to three to five minutes.
10. Don't Worry About Crying
This is one occasion that indisputably warrants tears—if you're afraid of getting choked up during your delivery, just remember no one will judge you for it. In fact, most people will think it's incredibly sweet and you just might make them need a tissue, too.
Examples of Real Mother-of-the-Bride Toasts
Does the mother of the bride give a speech? For these women, the answer was a resounding “Yes!” Get inspired with these actual toasts from loving moms.
Eileen Roth’s Mother-of-the-Bride Speech
Eileen Roth, from Scottsdale, was able to write her speech by reflecting back on all the things that had stood out in her daughter’s life, including her friendships, gymnastics, and cheerleading. Here are her words:
“Today is your wedding day. It's something a mother wishes and waits for from the time her daughter is born until she walks down the aisle.
When Jewel was young she surrounded herself with lots of friends, some of whom are here today. They know our basement was always full with high school friends, just as your wedding is full of yours and Jason's friends today.
Time doesn't stand still, it is fleeting and it is amazing how quickly it passes. Like time, Jewel has never stood still. It seems like she is always running after one adventure after another. When her sister Mindy ran a marathon, Jewel had to keep up, so she started running. Mindy was content to say she checked a marathon off her bucket list, but Jewel had to keep on running, competing in a triathlon, and then an Ironman. Even getting her engagement ring was a race, a scavenger hunt adventure, but still a race. This one she and Jason won together. Partners all the way.
Jewel and Jason, now it is your turn to embark on your own journey as a couple, to experience life with a loving partner. As you find your own route through life, remember to cherish each other. We know that through all the twists and turns of the road, you will support and care for each other with true love.
As you celebrate this wedding day, know it is not the best but the first of many blessed events in your lives together. We're thrilled you two have found the one for you. We wish you both joy, laughter, and love—from our hearts to yours.”
Barbara Kennedy’s Mother-of-the-Bride Speech
Barbara Kennedy gave this speech at her daughter Adrienne’s wedding on July 29, 2017, and it was even followed by a song and dance performance put on by Barbara and the entire bridal party.
“I’m a strong mom, I have a strong daughter, and after this I know I will need a strong drink. Thank you all for coming.
I would like to welcome Steve, and his parents Helen and Larry, and all of his wonderful, huge family into our family. I will not begin to mention all his brothers and sisters lest I forget one.
Steve: You are an amazing young man that I have grown to know and love. I met you after I fell skiing and I had cracked my ribs. I was on morphine and I was very happy...so please note that I am not always that crazy. Steve, when you asked to take me to lunch at my office, I knew that something was up. And it was—you asked to marry my daughter and we both cried. You have such a kind heart.
Adrienne: You are a strong, smart, and beautiful woman. I’m going to take this opportunity to apologize for the many things that I did with and to you while you were growing up. I’m sorry for many of them, but not really for others, as they may have helped make you who you are today.
- I am sorry for always giving you peanut butter for lunch every day...as we found out later that you were deathly allergic to peanuts.
- I am sorry for dragging you to all the boys’ hockey and baseball games, however, you and Alysse retaliated by dragging them to all your dance recitals.
- I am sorry for the overkill of health foods—especially quinoa. But on the bright side you have become a fabulous cook. (And have now married a Cook.)
- I am sorry that I made you follow me down the black diamond ski hills...but you have become a great skier.
- I am sorry for taking you on all those crazy adventures—an impromptu helicopter ride, a million Walk Of Life events, travel to England, Wales, California, Boston, Chicago, New Orleans...but hey, they were lots of fun.
- I am sorry I made you watch all night episodes of Gilmore Girls.
- I am sorry for eating bags of BBQ chips...actually, that was just me.
- I am sorry for taking you to so many dance workshops and involving you in many choreographies...but wow, you have become an accomplished dancer, actress, and teacher.
So, as a tribute to your dancing, I offer a musical toast to you and Steve. And the music is to ‘New York, New York’...the place where Steve proposed to you.”
Marla White’s Mother-of-the-Bride Speech
Marla White, from Burbank, said it was hard to hold back tears as she gave her speech—but her daughter loved it, and to her, that was all that mattered.
“I want to thank everyone for being here celebrating Kayleigh and Adam; the Hodgins family, our family, and friends who have become family—welcome. Kayleigh’s father, her Derd, and I are tickled pink to host this beautiful evening.
As most of you know, Kayleigh faced physical challenges as a newborn and toddler but with every year, grew stronger and even more delightful. As she got older, she excelled in basketball and show choir, and happily graduated from FIDM. She then embarked on what promises to be a fulfilling career. Kayleigh—it always has and always will be an honor and absolute joy to be your mom. You light up any room just by being in it.
As a parent, you of course want your child to succeed in life—both personally and professionally. But one of the most satisfying rewards is seeing your child experience true love and happiness, which she has absolutely found with Adam. Thank you, Adam, for loving our girl, we’re thrilled you are part of our family.
Please join me in a toast to the bride and groom—congratulations! We all wish you the best for everything this new journey has to offer.”