Wedding Wednesday Discussions: Speeches Before or After Vs Between Courses with Bride Vs Groom

 Speeches Before or After Vs Between Courses

Today it’s time for a bit of a discussion on the Blog. I have enlisted the help of the wonderful Dom and Matt from Bride vs Groom. Dom and Matt are married to each other and also work together in the wedding industry. This makes Dom and Matt the ideal people to discuss all things weddings and today we are looking at the tradition of the speeches.


These days the timing of the speeches and where they will be placed in the running order is a big factor of the day. The main question used to be if the speeches were going to be before or after the meal. Putting them before meant that the people giving the speeches were able to carry them out and then relax and enjoy the wedding breakfast, have a drink and really get into the proceedings of the wedding. Where as having them after (the more traditional approach) rounded off the meal and gave the guests something to look forward to.

However now there is a new option, having the speeches split up in between courses. Personally from a logistical point of view and with my experience as a wedding planner this can often be a nightmare. Getting the food out all at the same time for around 100 people can often be a catering headache, throw in a speech in-between each course and it really can thow the kitchen in to disarray! It only takes one speeker to go on longer than expected (and beleive me this happens A LOT) and the whole meal can be ruined! Also this is often the only time that some of the wedding suppliers there for the whole day, like photographers, planners and videographers get to have a break and a sit down. If the speeches are split up then this isn’t going to be possible. Belive me working a 12 hour day at a wedding is hard work and we really need that hour sit down when the wedding breakfast is going on to take a break and re group.

So that’s my point fo view, but I know not everyone will feel the same!


I’ll pass the Blog over to Dom and Matt…………….

In the Red Corner, fighting to keep the speeches all together in one go, it’s Dom The Bride.

In the Blue Corner, fighting for speeches between course it’s Matt ‘The Groom’


Let The battle commence

Dom: As Kelly said For the caterers it’s difficult enough to get the timings right for the food when all the speeches are before the meal, let alone when people are talking for an indeterminate amount of time between serving each course, you could easily end up with some very cold courses!

Matt: yes but for the guests it can be great as you get bite-size entertainment between the courses and can actually encourage the speakers to be much tighter on their timings knowing that the next course is on its way.

Dom: But the guests generally get themselves into the right mood for speeches and having them interrupted with meals in between means they have to get into the mood several times rather than the speeches just flowing nicely into one another and drawing everyone in.

Matt: But speeches do often drag on and sometimes by the time the best man gets to deliver his speech everyone is struggling to concentrate on what he’s saying and he ends up with a much harder job. Breaking it up means that everyone gets time to relax and means they’re alert and ready for the next one. It really is like a 3-act comedy – you get the father of the bride which introduces the story and the characters and gets you intrigued, then the groom, where a lot of the plot is told and the relationships between the characters grow, then the best man, where the plot twists occur and you get the punchlines! It’s a formula that works.

Dom: But do the guests really want their meal interrupted for long periods by the speeches? A 3-course meal is much harder to stomach if you have lots of time to digest it between courses and it’s somehow much more pleasant to just eat the whole meal in one sitting. You wouldn’t go and watch TV between courses if you were eating at home and it’s no different with the wedding breakfast.

Matt: Speakers often have different feelings about when they’d prefer to give the speech. Some like to get it out of the way so they can relax and enjoy the meal, others prefer to have the meal first to prepare themselves and do the speeches after. Splitting them up between courses offers you the best of both worlds and means the first speech can be done and out of the way early on.

Dom: But is it really any better for the speakers? When you’re just one of three speeches in a row you somehow feel under less pressure. Your speech doesn’t have to stand out that much or last too long because there are another two for people to enjoy right before or after yours.

Matt: You often end up sitting with people you don’t know on your table at a wedding and the speeches can provide a great talking point as you progress through the meal and really help to break the ice.

Dom: For the videographers having the speeches so broken up can really have a negative impact on the film as you lose the natural pace and flow of the speeches. The wedding breakfast is also generally the videographer and photographer’s only chance for a break and to eat their own dinner and if the speeches are between meals they can’t really leave the room at all or have any dinner as they have to be in a constant state of readiness should one of the speeches start.

Matt: More and more speeches are now featuring props, videos and all sorts of things that often need a bit of time to set up. Having the speeches split up means that you have the time to set it all up properly, swap videos over etc.


Interesting views there I have to say! So what do you think? Are you planning your speeches before the wedding breakfast? After it? or are you turning tradition around and choosing to have them in-between each course. If so what has made you decide this and has this discussion made  you think differently?

Feel free to leave a comment in the box below.


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    Jaye Cole | Tux & Tales Photography

    In all honesty, speeches between courses are really not a great idea for a few reasons –

    1) Your photographer will need a 1 hour uninterrupted break which is generally taken during the meal. By this time s/he will have generally been working 5-7 hours and will not continue to be at their best unless they get some food and some time off their feet. In our case, our insurance company also requires that I not work for longer then 6 hours without a meal break as I am type 1 diabetic. It is obviously understandable that a diabetic would be prone to potential mistakes and injury after more than 6 hours without a meal break. However, I would hazard that most people are more likely to injure themselves or others (or make other kinds of mistakes) if they don’t have this kind of break (hence the reason a meal break after 6 hours is mandatory by law for all employers).

    2. On rare occasion we have photographed weddings like this (alternating between myself and my assistant to have the breaks and still cover speeches) and honestly…. honestly…. your guests hate it. The moans and groans from the guests are palpable. People checking watches. People remarking to others that they wish they could just get on with eating and talking to each other. Remember – interrupting your guests 4 times keeps them from being able to visit with each other.

    Obviously, brides and grooms should make the decision that is right for them, but I would strongly suggest they check with their vendors (the caterers, photographers, venue, etc) to make sure it is okay with the way they work. I think a lot of the brides and grooms who choose to break the speeches apart are not thinking through the logistics and may be surprised it is not a very viable idea.


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