The wedding speeches are an important part of every wedding day. They are an integral part of the wedding reception. A wedding would not be the same if they were missed out. Inevitably the question arises of when to have the speeches. Should they take place before or after the meal.
When discussing arrangements with the bride I always say that it is your day and you must have everything as you want it to be. As Master of Ceremonies my job is to ensure that everything runs smoothly in accordance with the wishes of the Bride and Groom. It is not my place to insist that we do things this way or that. I can offer advice based on my own experience but the couple must make the decisions.
There seems to be several reasons why people consider having the speeches before the meal.
- They want to get the formalities out of the way so that everyone can relax.
- One of the speakers is very nervous and wants to get the speech over with as soon as possible.
- They don’t want the speakers to be put off their food by worrying about their speech.
- They don’t attach much importance to the speeches.
There is nothing wrong with having the speeches before the meal if that is what you want to do. I have attended weddings where this has worked very well.
Sticking with the conventional format of speeches after the meal has many benefits.
- The wedding guests get to eat sooner.
- The audience is more relaxed having had their fill and partaken of a few glasses of wine .
- It’s what most people expect.
- The audience is more receptive, they are if you like warmed up and ready to listen. They are looking forward to hearing what is going to be said. They are anticipating hearing some words of emotion, of gratitude and of humour.
- People are always a bit more enthusiastic after the meal. There is more atmosphere. They will be more responsive to funny stories and jokes. They’ll probably clap more too due to the good food, good wine and good company!
- The speeches are a nice way to conclude the meal. They signal that the formalities are coming to an end.
Weighing up the choices my own conclusion is that speeches after the meal has more going for it. For those who are nervous about giving a speech I would say have courage. The experience will be much less daunting when everyone has had a chance to settle in and enjoy themselves. They will be with you all the way ( even if you think your speech isn’t that good ) Have faith, it will be fine.
Incidentally I have known people who have been dreading making their speech. People who have been terribly nervous and yet stand up and come across really well.
I hope you found this post useful. What’s your view? Comments welcome, thanks, Ron