This morning those lovely folk at BBC Radio Cambridgeshire asked me to participate in a discussion about the rise in brides giving speeches at weddings. They’d noted that it was a rising trend on the Andie Harper show, a discussion-based programme which invites a high level of listener participation, and wanted to know whether their listeners thought it was a good new trend or that we should stick with tradition. I was invited to give my perspective on the trend, and wanted to extend the conversation here.

The most important point to get across is that it is YOUR wedding so you make the rules! Once the actual legalities are covered, you can decide which traditions to stick with or you can break them all. I don’t think this is a feminist issue by the way, more one of the couple going with what feels right to them. As I mentioned in the interview, the ONS states that around only 30% of wedding ceremonies are now religious and we find this tends to dictate whether couple’s tend to stick with tradition, not exclusively, but certainly in most cases.

There’s nothing wrong with tradition. Personally, I wouldn’t want anyone but my dad to walk me up the aisle if he was there, but actually in weddings anything goes for this, church or otherwise. We’ve seen mothers, brothers and even the chief bridesmaid walk a bride up the aisle, sometimes due to circumstance, sometimes due to pure choice.

 

The same should go with the speeches. We’ve heard some wonderful speeches from brides who wanted to have their say – if you want to ladies then go for it! Sometimes a bride just wants to say her own thanks or make a tribute to someone dear to her who is no longer around. Occasionally we meet a Groom who is so shy he can’t bear to get up and speak, so why shouldn’t the bride then speak on their behalf? You could even do the speech together which makes for a really lovely touch and can be even more emotional.

Other women have got up to speak, such as mothers and friends. Why shouldn’t the bride’s mother make a speech if she has been a single parent and the main person to bring up the bride? It is common in the US for the chief bridesmaid/maid of honour to make a speech about the bride, and we have seen this start to happen here.  At Jasmina and Dave’s intimate wedding, the bride’s long-term friend got up and gave a ‘tribute to the bride,’ which consisted of some great stories as well as talking about the great qualities Jasmina has, and then finishing with a poem which had us all in tears, not least the bride and groom.

On the other hand, we have met brides who are the dominant personality in the relationship, who just want to enjoy one day of leaving it all to him, and why not?  Funnily enough, tradition seems to dictate the bride makes most of the wedding plans so who can blame her if she wants to take a back seat on the day.

Whatever you are planning for your big day, just remember that it all about the two of you, so discuss what you would like to do and then run with it. There is a time and place for tradition if you want it, but it is also entirely your prerogative to completely ignore all of it and really have the wedding day you want.

 

You can listen to my chat with Andie here

Not sure whether to go with tradition in any aspect of your wedding? Leave a comment and let’s talk it through! I’d love to hear your views if you did give a speech or if you are planning to – or indeed if you definitely won’t be taking the mic.

Alternatively, I’ll be speaking with the lovely Miss Sue Flay at the Vintage and Alternative Wedding Fair on September 15th at the Cambridge Union, on another increasingly broken tradition at weddings – the idea of replacing the traditional meal with an afternoon tea. Is this something you are considering? Tom and I will be around all day so feel free to come and talk to us about any queries you have about whether tradition (or not) may be right for you!

 

Update: Since first writing this blog my dear sister has reminded me she gave a speech at her wedding nine years ago!! I don’t know how I could have forgotten – she read my brother-in-law (another shy groom who didn’t want to elongate his speech) the fantastically witty poem by Pam Ayres ‘Yes Dear I’ll Marry You‘ if I remember correctly. Obviously a trendsetter Jo!