Tags: Bride Debate

Bride Debate: When should the wedding speeches be held?

01 Nov 2019

Bride's editors take two different stances on the subject of wedding speeches

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The wedding speeches are one of the most anticipated parts of a wedding day, but when should they be held: before or after the meal? Bride's editors, Sarah Harris (digital) and Amanda Griffiths (magazines), did it different ways...

After, says Sarah Harris who married Jon Harris in 2019

“Traditionally, the father of the bride, groom and best man give the wedding speeches and we stuck to this running order on our day. However, my husband had three best men (his brother and two of his closest friends) so two speeches were given by the best men. Each spoke for about 10 minutes, reciting stories and anecdotes about Jon and me, as well as making the toasts.

“We chose to have the speeches after the wedding breakfast and before the cutting of the cake. We felt this gave our guests something to look forward to after the food and provided the perfect close to the daytime reception.

“Some couples opt to have the speeches before the wedding breakfast, which can help a speechgiver if they’re prone to nerves. Some choose to intersperse the speeches throughout the day, while others don’t have speeches at all. There is also a marked rise in the bridal party taking the spotlight, with more brides and mothers of the bride addressing the guests.”

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Above: Sarah and Jon enjoyed the speeches after the meal (Nick Murray Photography)

Before, says Amanda Griffiths who married Andrew Woollacott in 2015

"Forget nerves, the main reason we chose to have our speeches before the wedding breakfast was simply to encourage the speakers to be short and sweet.

"We’d attended a wedding previously where the father of the bride must have spoken for an hour and a half about his daughter, taking us through every year of her 30-something life…

"Not for one minute did I think my dad would talk for so long – public speaking is not his strong point – but the best man might have been a different story.

"We asked both to keep it to under 10 minutes – we’d chosen goat’s cheese souffle for starters, so the hotel was obviously keen for the speeches to be kept short too.

"We stuck to the traditional running order. I think there were a few guests who expected me to get up and give a speech too and, although I’d thought about it (briefly), I decided that I was keener to get to the starter than have my say."

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Above: Amanda and Andrew chose to hold the speeches before dinner (Lisa Aldersley Photography)

What we agree on: Traditions don’t have to be followed when it comes to your speeches, so do them in the way you feel embraces the vibe and flow of the day. 

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