I Film a lot of Wedding Speeches and they vary wildly in both length, amount of people speaking and even when they take place during the day. I thought some of my experiences may help you when planning your wedding speeches.
Wedding Speeches in the UK generally take place just after the wedding breakfast. Speeches tend to last between 20 – 50 minutes and consist of speeches firstly by the Father of the Bride, followed by the Groom and then finally the Best Man. There is of course no set rule for how the speeches run and who speaks. It’s totally up to you. Below I will try and offer some advice on planning your speeches and how your decisions might have an impact on your wedding day.
You’ve just got married, you’re celebrating with friends, having your pictures taken and getting ready to sit down for your Wedding Breakfast but who normally gives a toast? And in what order do people speak during the wedding speeches? The first thing to note is that there is no set rule for the wedding speeches or any other part of your day. It’s your day and it can go however you like, it’s just important that however your day is going to run, you try to plan it as much as possible.
When Do The Wedding Speeches Take Place?
In the UK, the wedding speeches (Toasts) normally take place after the wedding breakfast has been consumed, at the point just after the desserts the reception staff will clear the tables and refill your drinks ready for the toasts. The venue coordinator will usually announce the speeches and introduce the first speaker.
As a Wedding videographer this is by far the easiest way of scheduling the speeches, this approach gives time for the wedding videographers to rest while you eat and then set up any equipment while the bubbly is being served.
There are variations of the speeches timings that you may want to consider. You could have speeches between meal courses or during dessert. Another common approach is to have the speeches before the meal which may help nervous speakers who just want to get it out of the way before enjoying the rest of the day.
While it’s fine to have your speeches before your wedding breakfast there are some things you should consider when doing this. You will need to make sure that your suppliers are aware of your intentions, the room may need to be ready earlier to enable guests to take their seats, this should be communicated to your wedding decorators/florists. The videographer will need this info to help plan their day also and most importantly your venue will need this info to help with their planning, particularly with the timing of food being prepared.
What Order Do People Speak In Wedding Speeches?
The vast majority of speeches follow a standard pattern in the order of speeches but again it’s entirely up to you. From my experience speeches usually start with the Father of the Bride, then move onto the Groom and finally the Best Man. Occasionally the Father of the Groom will also give a speech, this will normally take place before the Grooms speech but after the Father of the Bride who is the main person who welcomes guests and opens the speeches.
Other people who may wish to speak are Mums, Friends or even the Bride/Partner. These speakers also tend to talk before the Groom and the Best man. Generally you will want to end the speeches with the Groom introducing the best man and the best man closing the speeches.
You might want to consider asking any guests if they want to speak from their seats once the main speakers have spoken. Ideally you would communicate this beforehand so that there is no awkward silence or a dumbed down ending of the speeches if nobody wants to speak.
LGBTQ+ Weddings follow the same general rules at heterosexual weddings. You will generally have speeches by the parents followed by the happy couple and then onto the Best Man/Best Woman or Maid of Honour. You might want to consider a joint speech as a couple but be sure not to repeat yourselves. As With any other part of the day, how you plan your speeches is entirely up to you.
How Long Do Wedding Speeches Last?
Shorter is often best when it comes to speeches. People don’t want to be sitting listening for hours and often the speakers are nervous and don’t want to talk longer than they have to. 10 minutes per speaker would be a good compromise allowing enough time to thank people and tell a few funny or heartwarming stories while not being so long that people get bored.
I have filmed speeches that were over and hour and a half long and while they were entertaining (Professional speakers) it’s by far the norm. Most of the speeches I film tend to last between 20 and 45 minutes in length.
Do I Need A Microphone For The wedding Speeches?
Not always. Microphones can help speakers get their voice projected but they can often cause problems. When you’re given a microphone then you tend to talk a lot quieter assuming that the microphone should be doing the work. The problem is that if we are not used to using microphones we may not realise that we are not using it properly. It may be forgotten about and hidden behind your speech cards, or you might be holding it too far away from your mouth. Microphones can often fail too which could disrupt the speeches. Ideally not using a microphone might be better because it forces you to project your voice to the audience. Microphones do have an advantage of allowing the speaker to have something to occupy their hands that could help with nerves.
If you’re having a Wedding Videographer they will probably attach a voice recorder or lapel microphone to speakers to record the speeches. These microphones will not project and sound into the room and will simply record the speaker’s voice.
Tips for Nervous Speakers At A Wedding
I’m not a public speaker but I’ve had some presentation experience and of course filmed a lot of speakers Here are a few tips I think might be useful.
Plan your speech properly
This goes without saying really but try not to over plan. you want a few headlines to talk about and pick out a few funny or emotional stories or famous quotes. Just don’t leave it until the last minute.
Stand up straight!
Stand up straight and talk to the back of the room, it will help to project your voice and you’ll also get over nerves by not seeing the people at the front of the room. If you’re really nervous look at objects in the back of the room.
Props are great to stimulate conversation and get audiences on side. Be it a photograph, poster or even a number plate, (yup I’ve seen that.) Props will help distract the audience and may help you keep your composure more easily. One of the best props I’ve seen was a comic book which contained the brides story and was referred to throughout the speeches.
Don’t use a full script
Probably my biggest tip and it’s entirely down to my personal preference. I find it much easier to use simple headlines on paper as prompts with key talking points written down. You already know what you want to say so just use some headlines written on small index/flash cards to remind you of the stories you want to tell. I think this method allows you to talk more easily and you will not have to worry about losing your way in the script and getting flustered.
Do you have any tips for wedding speeches? Have you seen any strange props at Weddings? leave us a comment below!
I hope some of this information has been helpful, please have a look around my blog for more Wedding and film making tips. Be sure to check out my website if you’re looking to have a wedding video!