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I’ve shot almost 400 weddings at this point in my career so I’ve seen a lot of different timings over the years for various parts of a wedding day. Sometimes I see things that are done differently than is tradition and think – well, that was a good idea. Other times I see things done and you realise why there is a tradition for something as it just doesn’t work :-).

A few weeks ago I shot a wedding where they decided to have the Speeches in between each course. The couple were worried about people getting fed up of listening to one speech after another so thought they would give the audience a break and split them up throughout the meal. An interesting idea I thought and I could see the logic behind it. It turned out though to have more negatives than positives. I’ll explain why;

  1. Gathering peoples attention at weddings can be a testing thing. What we found was that after each course people would often wander around to talk to others, or visit the toilet, or get some fresh air or have a cigarette outside etc. Gathering everyone up multiple times and getting them to go back to their sets became very frustrating for the wedding couple, the events team and the person speaking. As they got one person sat, another would leave their table unaware of what was happening. The person stood up waiting to speak was either having to wait for the crowd to settle or was interrupted by people re-entering the room.
  2. The catering team had no idea how long each speech would be and so it made it very difficult for them to have each course ready at the optimum time, it meant sometimes food being plated ready to come out only for the speaker to go on 15 minutes longer than they planned to. Or the speaker finished earlier than predicted and there was a delay getting the next course out leading to impatient guests waiting for food.
  3. Some people were still eating as the speech was being made and I could see they felt very self conscious of it. There were plates left half eaten as they felt it was rude to carry on but were slow eaters
  4. The entire meal took much longer than planned due to all of the stop and start and evening guests began arriving whilst the guests were on desert with yet one more speech to go. This also delayed the first dance and the evening entertainment as the band couldn’t get in to set up  due to the meal taking much longer than expected.

Overall there didn’t really seem to be any positives about doing the speeches between courses. I’ve since had a few weddings where instead of splitting it between courses they have done some before and some at the end. That worked a lot better because there was an obvious start and finish to the meal and it still ticked the box of not having the speeches all in one lump. This often happens if you have more than the standard three people talking and the speeches are going to be a bit longer than normal

So there you have it, just my unbiased perception of speeches and how best to do or not do them 🙂