When Is The Best Time For Wedding Speeches?

Speeches At The Beginning Or End Of The Wedding Breakfast?

As a professional magician, I’ve attended well over a thousand weddings.  So People often ask my advice on what makes a good wedding day.  Probably the question that I’m asked most often is, “When is the best time for wedding speeches?  Should we do the speeches at the beginning or the end of the meal?”

Now, there are many details that I think should be left to the personal whims of the happy couple.  I’m sorry to say that this isn’t one of them.  Even though it seems just a small detail, the point that at which you make your speeches can make a HUGE impact on your big day.

So what is the best time for wedding speeches? Let’s look at why speeches are traditionally made after the meal and why people sometimes break with convention?

A wedding speech

Great reactions come at the best time for wedding speeches?

Can’t I Enjoy The Meal Too?

So you’ve planned your delicious wedding breakfast and you really want to enjoy it. The only thing that’s preventing you is the looming fear of performing your speech at the end of the meal.

There are very few people who genuinely enjoy speaking in public. In fact, if you type “top ten fears” into Google, you’ll find that public speaking usually appears within the top five.

So, doesn’t it make good sense to perform the speeches at the beginning of the meal?  That way, the speakers can relax and enjoy the festivities.

But hold on a second. Maybe it’s a bit more complicated than that. Here are a few things to consider before you decide.

Before-Dinner Speakers?

Have you ever noticed that although many people make their livings as after-dinner speakers, you’re unlikely to see adverts for “before-dinner speakers”. So why is that?

Ask any professional speaker what the slot before the meal is known as and they’ll tell you it’s “the graveyard shift”.

If you’re genuinely worried about your speech, you’ll want the most receptive audience possible. So you have the choice of performing to a “dry” hungry crowd before the meal or a full “merry” crowd after the meal.

So that’s why you only see adverts for after-dinner speakers! From a performer’s perspective the best time for wedding speeches is unarguably at the end of the meal.

The Catering

As I mentioned earlier I’ve attended a LOT of weddings.  In all that time, I’ve rarely listened to speeches that haven’t overrun by at least a few minutes. (I once had the dubious pleasure of listening to a best man’s speech that overran by over an hour. I kid you not!)

Now, for me, that’s a little inconvenient. For the caterer’s it’s a disaster!

Fine dining on a large scale needs precision timing.  Speeches that significantly overrun at the beginning of the meal can mean that ALL your courses could be ruined.

By now, you’ll have gathered that I’m not a fan of early speeches.  But if you really can’t bring yourself to do them at the end, it’s imperative that give your speakers an ABSOLUTE time deadline.  Fail to do this and you run the risk of ruining your meal. (As a rule of thumb, seven minutes is considered the ideal length for a wedding speech.)

A beautiful wedding table setting

Chill: Doing your speech at the right time will help you relax.

Ask any professional caterer and they’ll also tell you that the best time for wedding speeches is after the meal.

What Type Of Wedding Day Are You Planning?

Now most couples will want their guests to enjoy a drink on their big day.  Most guests know their limits.  But, of course, sometimes the occasional guest will overdo it a bit.  This can sometimes put a bit of downer on the day.  So, why am I mentioning this here?

Well, by arranging your speeches at the beginning of the meal your empty-stomached guests will be sitting for at least half an hour around tables groaning under the weight of delicious fine wines. And this can really set the tone for a messy day.

But I REALLY hate public speaking!

Even as a professional entertainer, when it came to making my own wedding speech, I have to admit that I was pretty nervous. (When people know that you perform for a living they have high expectations … and I hate that!)

But, of all the things that people said to me beforehand, a comment from may father-in-law stuck with me the most. He said, “Simon, no matter how many speeches you do in your life, you’ll never have more people on your side than at your own wedding speech. So just suck it up and get on with it!”  And that sounds like good advice to me!

So, I hope you find that little pearl of wisdom as useful as I did and that this article has  helped you decide the best time for wedding speeches on your big day.

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