Traditionally, the wedding speeches were delivered after all the guests had had their starters, main course, dessert and tea/coffee. The people had been ‘fed and watered’ so to say, and were ready to sit back and hear all about the bride and groom i.e., their growing up years, how they met and why they were made to be together. The father of the bride would speak first, then the father of the groom would speak and after them the groom and finally the best man; all done and dusted in about 30–40 minutes. With the speeches over, the guests then knew that this formal part of the wedding was over and could do whatever they wanted to for an hour or so and then return to the room (or a room) for the bride and groom’s first dance together.
Today wedding venues are being asked by the bride and groom if they can deliver the speeches either before, during or after the meal or indeed during all three periods.
So, when is the right time to deliver the speeches?
There really is no right time, it really can be at the discretion of the wedding venue; however, here are some thoughts about each of the three delivery time options:
- Before the meal
- During the meal
- After the meal
Delivering the wedding speeches before the meal
This option allows all wedding speakers to enjoy their meal, with no pressure, stress and anxiety thinking about them during the meal. However, wedding guests probably are hungry and when they hear the MC or best man say that we are going to have the wedding speeches now; wedding guests think that it will be at least another hour before they eat, and may give their tummies and not give the wedding speakers their full attention. Also, the Chef(s) are waiting to serve the food, not knowing how long the wedding speeches could last.
Delivering the wedding speech during the meal
Delivering the speeches during the meal takes some pressure off the wedding speakers, but they still might not be able to enjoy their food. Wedding speeches delivered during the meal are usually delivered after the start and before the main course. Therefore, wedding guests have something to eat, but there is still the issue with the Chef(s) not knowing when they can serve the rest of the meal. Sometimes the father of the bride and the father of the groom can speak before or during the meal and the groom and best man speak afterwards.
Delivering the wedding speeches after the meal
Delivering the speeches after the meal is the traditional way and overall keeps everyone else happy, except for the four (traditional) wedding speakers. With the Chef(s) allowed to serve the food at the preferred time, the guests to eat the food at the expected time and then hear the speeches at the right time; can all help to ensure a wonderful meal and great wedding speeches for and from everyone.
Remember it is all about the guests and of course the bride and groom!