The Wedding Speeches. One of the most fun parts of the day. 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 embracing stories. The speeches are always full of emotion and laughter. And a part of the day I love to capture.
Traditionally speeches used to take place after the Wedding Breakfast (the main wedding meal). But recently a large number of people have started to do their speeches before the meal! Why? Well this is something that really intrigued me once it started and I’ve actually enjoyed looking into the difference speeches before or after the meal can make to your day.
About three years ago whilst on a pre-wedding shoot a few week before the wedding the couple said to me, “We have decided to do our speeches before the meal. Is that ok?”
I couldn’t see that for me it made much difference and told the couple this was fine with me. But I was interested in why they choose to do this as I had never heard of this before. The Groom explained to me that he was very nervous about doing his speech and did not look forward to the idea of sitting through the meal not really enjoying his food because he would be so nervous about his speech. This made perfect sense to me. And I could immediately see why he choose to do this. Of course everyone is different and certain things effect us in different ways. But since this time three years ago I have seen a large increase in speeches before the meal. I would say it is now at 50/50 with half the weddings I cover doing speeches before and half doing them after.
This is something I have paid close attention to and carefully been observing at weddings to try and take in the difference atmosphere and how this effects the day in general. Now, I do have to say that whether you do your speeches before of after makes absolutely no difference to me. And also there is nothing wrong with whichever order you choose to go for. But as a personal opinion I do find that when speeches are done before the meal the atmosphere often feels more relaxed and less formal. I do also believe there are certain advantages that depending on your plans and sometimes guests, can be gained from speeches before the meal.
Firstly, for anyone that does find the idea of public speaking rather daunting, they will probably appreciate the idea of getting this pout of the way and being able to enjoy their meal and relax. It doesn’t necessarily mean they will be any less nervous. But it does mean they are not going to have to sit through the meal worrying about it.
The guests do also seem more relaxed and less fidgety during speeches before the meal. It can sometimes be a challenge to get everyones attention after they have eaten and people will want to go out, stretch their legs, smoke a cigarette which can drag out the course of this part of the day.
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. Love all the attention they get. But also depending on their age can be easily overwhelmed and not understand the full meaning of different parts of the day. To but it bluntly, to a young child, speeches are boring! lol Now what I have noticed when it comes to the speeches is than when done after the meal children are restless. More so than any adult. They want to get up, play, run around. This would usually mean someone has to go with them and the more children 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 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 partly to keep their attention during the speeches. But if you think about it, food or no food. Once they see this it’s opened and explored and forgotten about by the end of the meal.
If you was planning for speeches before this is something you would need to discuss with your venue organiser and caterers as they would need to allow for this before the food is served. And also to 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 was getting married I would definitely 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.