Speeches – when to do them

Traditionally the speeches are after the wedding breakfast. They mark the end of the ‘formalities’ of the wedding and the beginning of the party. This is still the case at […]

Traditionally the speeches are after the wedding breakfast. They mark the end of the ‘formalities’ of the wedding and the beginning of the party. This is still the case at the majority of the weddings I shoot. Having said that it has become increasingly popular to tinker with this format…

  • Have the speeches before the meal. Everyone comes into the wedding breakfast, you get announced in to rapturous applause (obviously) and go straight into speeches. The most common reason for doing the speeches at this point is so that the three speakers can ‘get it over and done with’ and enjoy their meal. I can understand this to a certain degree but be aware that everyone else in the room wants something to eat and probably haven’t had anywhere near enough to drink to make them laugh at all  the jokes or funny annecdotes. As a result the speakers will almost certainly have a harder audience.
  • Have one speech between each course. This usually means that Dad does his after the starter, the groom does his after the main course and the best man does his after the dessert. It seems that this is often employed in an attempt to be ‘different’. The problem is that, as with most attempts to be ‘different’ with the timings of the day, it doesnt really work very well as there is no flow or continuity to the speeches.

In my opinion the speeches are almost always better after the meal for the following reasons…

  • It’s when you’re supposed to do them. Very often traditions regarding the timings at weddings exist because they have been shown to work best. All your guests get fed and watered and will be much more receptive to speeches post-meal. They will almost always thank you for it.
  • At the end of the speeches the MC can announce what happens next regarding dancing etc. It helps move from the one thing to another in an appropriate way.
  • The speeches shouldnt be seen as something ‘to get out of the way’. No one wants the speakers to fail. Everyone is on their side. Just stand up and say the right thing to the right people. It is never as hard as it looks.