Before, During or After the Wedding Breakfast?

I’ve decided to write this wedding blog back to front, hopefully by the end you’ll see why.

I’ve shot a lot of weddings at this point in my career now so I’ve seen a full range of wedding breakfasts and speeches and the differences depending on when they’re done during the breakfast. The couple usually choosing when the time in coordination with their wedding venue.

Like the running order of the speeches, Father of the Bride, Groom then it’s the Best Man’s turn, traditionally this seems to be the most common time that they’re done, honestly though I’m really not too sure why.

Times change and as it becomes more common for the Bride to give a speech these days too or join in too, wedding breakfasts have changed a bit too.

So when is the best time to do them and why?

Bride sitting down looks up at her dad smiling as he reads his wedding speech


Ok so if you’re currently planning your wedding, however far along you are with it, perhaps you’re still looking at venues or you’ve now sorted that out and are starting to think of how the room is going to look when it’s decorated. There is going to come a time on the wedding day after the ceremony has finished and everyone has said their congratulations, you’ve done all the family groups, the formal photos and finally had the chance to grab a drink the coordinator on the day is going to want to proudly show off what they’ve created for you, the picture in your head of how the room is going to look now laid out in front of your eyes. You’re now going to eagerly invite 50+ hungry and thirsty guests to see the room too, serve them a lovely three course meal and plenty of drinks from the bar, the kids will have opened their activity packs and in short, the room isn’t going to look like it did when you first saw it a couple of hours ago. It’s unlikely that you’re going to be able to hide all that in the photos, especially when it comes to wide photographs of a full top table, surely it’s got to be better not having photos in your album with the inevitable food slops, half full glasses and the mens’ jackets off and hanging on the back of the chair with the buttonholes now starting to droop having usually been squashed flat after they’ve been sat back on? That’s not to mention how it’ll look when the unavoidable kid-nados have torn through the room 🌪 🌪 🌪


Bride smiling as her new husband gives his wedding speech
Groom standing looks down at his wife smiling as she claps his wedding speech


I’ve shot a wedding or two where the couple had decided to have the wedding speeches in between each course as they were a bit worried about the guests getting bored and fed up with listening to one speech after another, so they thought they’d give the guests a break and split the speeches up during the meal, I understand why they might think that but I’d have to say seeing it unfold, it turned out though that negatives outweighed the positives, here’s my thoughts on why…

Getting everyone’s attention at weddings can be tough, trust me. Trying to line everyone up and all look at the important camera (mine) while everyone else is either stood behind or to the side of me and all pointing their phones at them at the same time is not easy. It’s the same with the speeches. Usually after each course people will often wander around to have a quick chat, nip the loo, grab a drink at the bar or get some fresh air or have a quick smoke or vape outside etc. Getting everyone back together and back to their seats gets very frustrating, very quickly for the couple, the events team and the person up next waiting to deliver their speech, more time for any nerves to kick in. Imagine it, as one person sits down another gets up and leaves their table, no idea that the person stood up for their turn to speak was waiting for the crowd to settle or be interrupted by guests coming back into the room.

Spare a thought for the kitchen and service team, they have no idea how long each speech is going to go on for and it makes it very difficult for them to have each course ready and out at the right time and at its best, food being plated ready to come out only for the speaker to go on 15 minutes longer than they planned to, that or the speech finishes earlier than predicted and there was then guests waiting for the next course to come out, people got up again, nipped the loo, nipped the bar….etc. People eat at different speeds so it meant people were still eating their course as the speech got underway, I’d imagine that they felt a bit self conscious and guilty carrying on eating instead of listening so it ended up that there were plates of good food left half eaten while I’m over here with a rumbling stomach.

As with the caterers, timings are pretty important on a wedding day, if the meal takes much longer than planned due to all the stop-starting, evening guests are going to be arriving whilst the guests are only half way through their desert with yet another speech to go. At one of the weddings, the knock on effect of the wedding meal running over meant guests were checking into their rooms late and it affected the evening party too, it delayed the cake cutting and first dance as the DJ was late starting because they couldn’t get in to the room and set up their rig early enough.


Groom cringes eyes and faced screwed up during the best man’s speech
Groom sits arms folded as the best man hands him a small dolls potty during the wedding speech


So as I said right at the beginning, I’ve written this blog back to front and here why, it’s because I’ve saved the best for last and honestly, having the speeches before the meal is THE BEST.

Why? Well aside from being the complete opposite of everything I’ve written about in the AFTER THE MEAL section, the room and the tables will look just how it should in the photos, there’s less likely to be droopy squashed flowers and best of all, no messy tables!!!

There’s an extra bonus point for having the speeches first too, think of the poor speakers nervously waiting to stand up in a room full of people and deliver a witty, clever, heart warming, heart felt speech. Seems a bit harsh to make them worry about it throughout the wedding breakfast, it’s enough to put a nervous person off their food. It’s bad enough having to give a speech anyway so please be kind and don’t put them through that, be kind and let them get it out of the way first, so they can properly enjoy their meal.


So there you have it, it’s just my unbiased-ish and humble opinion of the wedding speeches and when it’s best to do them or not.

Groom laughs and turns away as the best man hands him a small dolls potty during the wedding speech