Of course, you’ll have the best man doing a speech, as well as the father of the bride and the groom himself – that’s traditional. It’s a bit man-heavy, though, isn’t it?

If you’re thinking about redressing the gender balance a bit, what better way to do this than to have one of your girlfriends deliver a speech as well, or even instead of? The thing is, you’re going outside of the box a bit here – the best man, the groom and the bride’s dad are dictated by tradition so no-one will think there’s any favouritism; similarly, if the groom’s not a great public speaker, no-one’s going to expect the Gettysburg Address.

Choosing someone extra is making a bit of a statement, so it’s got to be done right and by the right person. Here are the qualities you should look for when selecting this speaker.

She should be confident

This goes without saying, really. Of course, some people are quite shy until they have all eyes on them and then they just rise to the occasion, but realistically, you need to pick someone who’s not going to be crippled with nerves right up until the moment they stand up. Choose reliable.

She shouldn’t take herself too seriously

Let’s face it, she’s putting herself in the public eye in what’s considered a man’s role. There may be some heckling and so she must be able to handle herself – but with humour and diplomacy – no bra-burning at the top table, thank you.

Your friend should also know you well

This doesn’t necessarily mean your friend from kindy who you see once or twice a year; newer friends can also fill this role if you have enough of a bond and if she’s supportive of your marriage. She should be genuine.

She should be known to at least some of your guests

Or your family at the very least. If the speaker is a complete stranger to your other guests, then they’ll spend more time wondering who she is than listening. Your guests need to trust her, even if only by word-of-mouth.

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