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Why I Don't Think Speeches Between Courses is The Best Idea...

It’s no secret that wedding trends and styles change all the time and I am sure 2024 will be no exception, but not everything changes… Wedding speeches have been a longstanding tradition and while the format may change from time to time, generally speaking, speeches are still a key part of many couples' wedding day and it’s easy to see why.

They are memorable and emotional, and when they’re done well, they create some amazing photo opportunities too. So where am I going with this? Well here it is, while I love the idea of couples doing speeches in the style that suits them, whether that’s a stand up formal affair, a more relaxed slideshow style or even a wedding rap (yes, it does happen), what’s not my favourite, and I have to be honest here guys, is doing the speeches between the courses at the wedding breakfast!

Now I’m not just being grumpy about this one I promise. I do in fact have some key reasons why I don’t think this is the best idea, and that’s what I am going to share with you all in this blog post, so without further ado…Here’s why I don’t think doing speeches in between courses at the wedding breakfast is a good idea…

It interrupts the flow of the day - and the meal!

I’ve been to enough weddings in my time, both as a guest and as a professional wedding photographer to know, that while the wedding ceremony may be the most important part of the day, the wedding breakfast is often the highlight of the day for most guests. After all, who doesn’t love a good meal?

So with that in mind, it’s probably no surprise that people don’t want to keep stopping and starting their meal to listen to speeches, no matter how well written they are. It can also lead to hungry guests if the speeches don’t run on schedule or someone writes 18 pages of A4 (FRONT AND BACK (for the Friends fans out there)), and hungry guests are not happy guests. On top of this, if your guests are more focused on their food than the speeches, then the speeches may not end up getting the full attention they deserve.

In my experience, doing the speeches between courses is a time management nightmare.

Wedding schedules are often tight. There’s a lot to include in a wedding day and sometimes, adding speeches in between the courses at the wedding breakfast can expand the duration of the reception. It can delay clearing plates and serving courses, and all of that can have a knock on effect on other key moments such as the first dance and cutting the cake.

It’s also important to remember that some wedding suppliers like bands, photographers and other entertainers have time sensitive bookings, so you don’t want to waste the time you’re paying to have them at the wedding by making them wait around through the whole wedding breakfast just because of the speeches. You also don’t want your guests, especially if they’re attending with young children, needing to leave the event before the party really gets started because the speeches and the wedding breakfast ran on for hours.

And it’s a logistical nightmare now I think about it.

Even just organising speeches between courses can be hard work as well. I’ve already mentioned the fact that it can cause delays in clearing and serving the wedding breakfast, but it can also cause issues such as setting up or passing around the microphone too. It’s also common for guests to start getting up, walking around and socialising during the wedding breakfast, and that can lead to missing speakers, or missing guests and rounding them all up again can be easier said than done. All in all, I’d have to say that doing the speeches in one go, just makes so much more logistical sense, if only because you can keep everyone contained in one place while the speeches take place!

And speaking of doing them in one go… if I had to give you my recommendation on when to do your wedding speeches, then I’d have to say BEFORE the wedding breakfast is the right time. And I say that for two reasons… Not everyone is confident about making speeches. In fact, many people I know who’ve given speeches at weddings, while totally honoured to be asked to speak, absolutely dread doing it. They’re nervous all day, and don’t relax until it’s all over. For their sake, doing speeches sooner rather than later can really help.

My second point is far more selfish, but hey, I’m a photographer. I like things to be aesthetic. One thing that’s not, is messy tables covered in half eaten plates of food, screwed up napkins and empty glasses. So that’s my second reason not to give speeches between courses, and why it’s better to do them before the wedding breakfast even starts. It means your tables and table decor are still perfect, picture ready and beautiful, and it means you’ll get far more aesthetic pictures taken during those all important speeches!

You lose the attention of your wedding guests.

Speech fatigue is a real thing! That means that lots of speeches throughout your wedding day, especially between courses, can lead to guests getting tired and to be honest, a little bit fed up - especially younger guests! It also means the impact of the speeches can diminish as the event goes on, so spare a thought for the person speaking last.

And last but by no means least, it disrupts the party!

Guests go to weddings to celebrate with the happy couple, catch up with old friends, family and colleagues and have a good time. That means they want to move around, mingle, chat and have fun, so forcing them to sit down throughout the wedding breakfast to listen to multiple speeches can disrupt the social side of your wedding. Getting the speeches all done and dusted before the wedding breakfast means you have your guests’ full attention over a shorter period, so your speech makers get the reception they deserve and your guests get the time they want to socialise and have fun. It’s a win win.

Of course, your wedding day is your wedding day, so it’s important you make the right decision for you when it comes to how you’d like to do speeches, if you even do them at all! Speeches between courses might absolutely be the right choice for you and fit the atmosphere, flow and formality of your wedding vision, but it is a good idea to be aware of some of the potential drawbacks to scheduling speeches between courses, so you can think about ways to address them. And as a professional wedding photographer, it’s my job to capture every moment and be in the right place at the right time, so whatever you decide to do, we can definitely take some amazing photos of your wedding reception, speeches and all.

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