When Is the Best Time for Wedding Toasts and Speeches?

There are conflicting opinions about the appropriate time to let your Best Man, Maid of Honor and other speakers deliver their toasts. So let’s review some of the pro’s and con’s of each option.  

Speeches before dinner 

Pros: at the beginning of dinner, all of your guests’ attention is focused on the wedding party table. The guests haven’t gotten deeply into their table conversations yet. That’s what makes it a perfect time for all of your speeches. They’re all out of the way, and your guests are then free to talk and move around at 

Cons: one or more of your speakers may have written a 10-minute novel. And delivering a long-winded speech when everyone is sitting there hungry will certainly take some of the joy out of the moment. Plus, the food may get cold. And if your venue is serving multiple events in multiple rooms, it may throw them way off schedule for all of their meals.   

Speeches after dinner 

Pros: everyone gets to eat right away. 

Cons: going directly from the wedding party introduction into dinner may make some couples feel rushed. But with no buffer between the intros and the meal, the only other option is for everyone to sit uncomfortably for several minutes, hungry, wondering why they’re not being served. Also, if the speeches are delivered after dinner, most of your guests will already be finished eating, and they’ll be milling around the room talking to guests at other tables. That means, you won’t have their full attention, and your speakers may have to shout on the microphone to be heard. Plus, if you decide to visit all of your guests’ tables during dinner, it’ll likely take 30 minutes to an hour, and there will be a huge lull in the party as all of the people who have finished their meals get impatient for the dancing to start.   

A good compromise  

If you’re just not ready to have your speeches before dinner, or you’re worried that someone is going to take forever on the microphone, why not have your blessing before dinner, then save the speeches until after the salad is served? Everyone gets a chance to settle down. Everyone is still at their tables, awaiting their entrees, so you still have everyone’s attention. And you can tell your venue or caterer that it’s okay to keep serving while the speeches are going on. That way, everyone eats, every speaker is heard, and the party stays on schedule. Sound good? 

© Fourth Estate Audio, 2016 – Jay Congdon is president of Fourth Estate Audio, a professional Chicago DJ and Chicago Wedding DJ company.     

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