Wedding Speeches (Don’t be scared we’re all behind you!)

Feb 3, 2023

Wedding Speeches // Speeches are the Marmite of the wedding world – some people love them, and some people hate them. And that’s on both guests, and couples! But generally, you’d like to think that the people who are invited to your wedding are people who don’t mind hearing you speak every now and again, so the problem isn’t the speech itself; it’s how badly organised they usually are. As your friendly alternative wedding photographer, I thought I’d break down the basics of your wedding speech, so that everything can run smoothly on the day.

Father of the bride does wedding speech at Sissons Barn. Top table all laughing.

When do wedding speeches happen?

Wedding speeches most often happen in the same slot as food. Traditionally they came after the meal, but increasingly couples are choosing to do their speeches before the meal begins. One of the reasons for this may be that the longer you leave it, the more chance you have to drink, and thus the larger the worry that you may careen from dutch courage to being plain ol’ hammered (a very valid concern). Another, also valid, reason may be that you’re worried about the speech and want to get it out of the way to be able to enjoy your meal and the rest of your evening. 

Whichever way you want to do it, it does require a bit of coordination with your suppliers – namely me, your caterers, and your planner (if you have one). I, of course, need to know what time you’re planning them so I can snap away at photos of you being your hilarious/emotional/charismatic self (delete as appropriate, or keep all 3) and your guests falling about with laughter/sobbing/looking at you in awe (delete as appropriate, or keep all 3). Your caterers need to know what the plan is to make sure they can serve food at the appropriate times, especially if it’s hot food. If you have one, your planner can keep this all in check, and keep the kitchen updated if you do run over. 

Guests make a toast during wedding speech at High Billinghurst Farm

Who does a wedding speech?

Traditionally, the wedding speeches were threefold; the father of the groom, the best man, and the groom himself. You’ll notice an unsurprising lack of gender equality there, but I’m really glad to say that in recent times, more and more women have been saying their fair share too. I will always champion more female voices and visibility, no matter whether it’s a bride, a mother or a bridesmaid speaking. 

Bride raises a glass during her own wedding speech toasting the room at London wedding

Something else I really like is the Swedish approach to toasting: that is, any of your guests can actually join in to raise a toast and make a speech. Without organisation it could quickly descend into chaos, so they appoint a toastmaster ahead of time to help coordinate the toast-givers; some guests even band together in advance and rehearse little performances. It’s a really lovely way of connecting with all of your guests! 

Bride and Groom laughing during wedding speeches at The Foundling Museum Wedding in London over high tea

What if I’m nervous about doing our wedding speeches in front of the camera?

Don’t worry about the speech full stop – you’re talking to your family and friends, that’s all it is, and they love you dearly – but definitely don’t worry about doing a wedding speech in front of a camera. Although I will be there to capture you in the zone, and all your guests’ authentic reactions and emotions, you won’t notice me – it won’t be like a press briefing or paparazzi fight, I promise. I also promise not to get in the way of your guests, as I’d hate to ruin their enjoyment of your speech – plus, it’s hard to get photos of them enjoying themselves if they’re scowling down the lens at me in the way! As a documentary photographer, I’m adaptive and reactive, able to scuttle about quickly when new people take over the mic or a guest across the room does something picture-worthy. You do your thang, and I’ll do mine. 

Having said this, I do appreciate being given a heads up as to who’s speaking, if they’re scattered about the room, and also if there’s any big reveals or props you’re using in your speeches – this helps me plan my approach, and guarantees the best photos of the big reveal. 

Superfun and colourful wedding for Carla and Glenn in Kent. Wedding speeches were a lot of fun!

I hope you found this post helpful! There are loads of other useful posts (and more on the way!) HERE. If you have any burning questions you can ask me anything either through the website or over on FB or insta – always happy to have a chat.


Award Winning London Wedding Photographer. Photographing weddings all over London, UK and Europe for laid back & fun loving couples.


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