Updated: Mar 19
The Wedding Speeches. One of the most fun parts of the day. Traditionally a chance for the Father of the Bride to share stories of his little princess. The Groom to thank everyone and express his love for his wife. And for the Best Man to take the opportunity to annihilate the Groom with embarrassing stories. The speeches are always full of emotion and laughter. And a part of the day I love to capture. Speeches have also changed in their presentation and style with same sex weddings and more commonly couples not always wanting to stick with the traditional format and speakers.
On the point of tradition, speeches used to take place after the Wedding Breakfast, so called because it is the first meal after being wed. Recently many people have started to do their speeches before the meal! Why? Well, it is a matter for personal choice and in this blog, I will try and list the pros and cons for either. Most importantly though as with everything on your wedding it should be what you want to do and not just about sticking to the rule book because that is what everyone else does, no it is your wedding day you decide!
From my experience I would say it is now about half the weddings I cover doing speeches before and half doing them after. I have been observing at weddings to try and see if there is a difference in the atmosphere and how this effects the day in general. Now, I do have to say that whether you do your speeches before or after makes absolutely no difference to me. Also, there is nothing wrong with whichever order you choose to go for. I have personally found that when speeches are done before the wedding breakfast the atmosphere often feels more relaxed and less formal.
For anyone that does find the idea of public speaking rather daunting, they will probably appreciate the idea of getting this out of the way and being able to enjoy their meal and relax. It does not necessarily mean they will be any less nervous, however it does mean they are not going to have to sit through the meal worrying about it, drinking too much and then having a complete drunken mishap!
The guests also seem more relaxed and less restless during speeches before the wedding breakfast. Sometimes it can be a challenge to get everyone’s attention after they have eaten and people will want to go out, stretch their legs, smoke a cigarette, check their social media, make phone calls and getting them all back together again can drag out the course of this part of the day and change the atmosphere.
Another thing I have noticed is children. Some weddings have no children. But many are full of them. Children at weddings are great. Make for great pictures. They love all the attention they get. Also, depending on their age they can be easily overwhelmed and not understand the full meaning of different parts of the day. To put it bluntly, to a young child, speeches can be boring! Children are far more restless after the meal; they have now been sat on best behaviour for quite some time and have built up energy that is ready to be released running round the tables and causing chaos to the waiting staff!! This would usually mean someone has to go with them and the more children there are the more adults needed to supervise. What I have seen though is that when speeches take place before the meal children are much more likely to sit through it and be less of a distraction. They are often hungry and will happily nibble on the bread set out for the soup whilst they wait for food. Sometimes party bags are put out for them at their seat. This is a great way to keep their attention during the speeches if done before the meal but if the speeches are after the party bag has long since been played with and forgotten.
Whichever you decide for your wedding speeches one important factor is that you must discuss this with your venue organiser and caterers as they would need to allow for this before the food is served, or they will be serving cold food! Also make sure all glasses are full for those important toasts.
Of course, as I have already said, this is just my opinion and just set out as advice for people to think about when planning their day. There is no right or wrong way. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with speeches after the meal. I know if I were getting married, I would be planning for speeches before the meal. But everyone is different. And the most important thing is that you do what makes you happy on your special day.
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