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Wedding Speech Traditions From Around The World

Want to switch up your wedding speech? Why not take a leaf out of another country's book and learn a new tradition in this article, thanks to Heidi Ellert-McDermott and her team!

A great speech can be a wedding highlight; a chance to add personality, humour and poignancy to the day. Of course, around the world, speech traditions vary dramatically. Heidi Ellert-McDermott, the founder of Speechy and the author of The Modern Couple's Guide to Wedding Speeches, shares some of the wedding speech traditions she’s spotted from around the world. Get inspired…

The Modern Couple's Guide to Wedding Speeches, by Heidi Ellert-McDermott


There’s a definite ‘more the merrier’ vibe surrounding Swedish wedding speeches. A free for all where guests are encouraged to stand up and say a few words once the wedding party has kicked off the lineup. Siblings, relatives, and friends can share stories about the happy couple and offer good wishes and advice throughout the dinner.

One thing to note if you’re about to be a guest at a Swedish wedding – it’s probably worth checking in advance whether the couple is going for this relaxed tradition before clearing your throat to give your two pence (krona) on marriage.


Expect to hear a round of speeches from many different speakers at your average Indian wedding. Both the bride and groom’s parents will deliver a speech and encourage others to say a few words. Siblings give a toast and spring funny coming-of-age stories on the newlyweds, who in turn will often deliver their speech to one another, recounting the proposal story and the first date, and occasionally working together on a joint speech (a growing trend around the world).

Indian weddings are big affairs, so these speeches can often seem like mini-TED talks, with mics, lighting and screens to match! Don’t be surprised if the heartfelt sentiment delivered has actually been written by a professional speechwriter.


A sweet part of the wedding toast is the Canadian tradition of newlyweds citing an ideal couple who inspires their marriage goals or who has been particularly significant in their lives. This may be someone who’s taught them something profound about relationships or just demonstrated that a happy marriage can last a lifetime.


The Japanese are known for their formal business culture, and weddings are run with a similar agenda. It’s not uncommon for the first speech to be given by the bride or groom’s boss before the thank yous from the newlyweds themselves.

Very close friends may be invited to give a speech or performance, which often takes the form of a pre-recorded video. But it’s a highly organised affair – guests shouldn’t presume to take the mic unless invited to and rehearsing is a must to keep it slick.


Elders are deeply respected in African countries, and Auntie – the universally respected title for an important older female relative or powerful older woman – takes centre stage to give hot-blooded life lessons and humorous advice to the newly married couple. She will not pull any punches and the couple will be expected to listen closely. We love a woman’s voice being front and centre at a wedding.


Of course, not every wedding speech is toasted with Champagne. In some countries, it’s Vodka or the local spirit.

Getting married in Jamaica? Research the local rum.


Whatever wedding speech traditions you take with you and whichever ones you choose to adopt from your wedding destination, make sure that your speaker lineup, toasts and speeches reflect, not only the style and location of your wedding, but you as a couple.

Are you fun? Adventurous? Romantic and sincere? Make sure your speeches say more than the usual clichés and platitudes and inject your personality into the day.


Heidi Ellert-McDermott is the founder of Speechy and the author of The Modern Couple's Guide to Wedding Speeches (Publishing on 10 March)


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