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The Wedding Speeches- Who, What, When, Where and Why??

Wedding at the Wright Anglers Rest in Dublin

Often dreaded by those who deliver them, but thoroughly enjoyed by the extended wedding party, the speeches are regarded as an integral part of the wedding day. They are generally remembered as a key feature of the day.

Afterwards people will ask, ‘how were the speeches?’, so it is vital these verbal addresses are well planned, prepared and practiced!

They say there are two types of people in the world; those who enjoy public speaking and those who lie….

Lyrath Estate Wedding

Speaking in front of a crowded room can be very daunting for even the most confident of people! If you have been entrusted with delivering a speech during the wedding day, you want to do the couple proud. After all, you are part of their special day, and should feel privileged to share in their festivities. Getting to speak on their wedding day is an honour, right??!

So, let’s have a thorough discussion about wedding speeches…..

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Traditionally, it has been a chore of the main men of the day; the fathers of the bride/groom, the groom and the best man. The best man is responsible for being the MC of this part of the day, he will introduce each speaker, generally following the order of father of the bride, father of the groom, the groom himself and then the best man is responsible for closing the show- no pressure so!! However, modern day weddings often break away from tradition and many ladies opt to say a few words. It is not unusual nowadays for brides to make speeches, along with or instead of grooms! Mothers of brides and grooms may also contribute to speeches, and bridesmaids. Whoever speaks, once ‘the rules’ are followed the speeches will be memorable for all the right reasons….

Wedding at the Martinstown House - wedding photographer Kildare


So what do people say during their speeches? There are some hard and fast rules for this…. It is mandatory that the bride is complemented! And of course, the bridesmaids, and also a mention of any flower girls/page boys that may have participated in the ceremony. It is customary for the fathers to welcome their new son/daughter-in-law into their families. Many people should be thanked for their role on the day, including (but not limited to) the staff of the venue, bridesmaids and groomsmen, and any family and friends that have contributed to the day in any form. It is also a real crowd pleaser for the groom to refer to his ‘wife’ for the first time during his speech, after all the deal is signed, sealed and delivered at this stage! The best man should perhaps share a fun story about the groom from how they know each other; they may be brothers or life-long pals and although many guys may revel in teasing each other, it is a sign of true fondness, daresay even true love, to be asked to be someone’s best man. Some things should be included in the best man’s speech, and others should most definitely not be discussed. The guidelines for best men when preparing their speech should be well researched and adhered to before delivering on the big day!

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For the speakers, there is generally a big sigh of relief when they utter the final words of their speech. This beggars the question, when is the best time to actually have the speeches? Traditionally, speeches would be done after the meal has finished but like most things in the year 2020, tradition is not necessarily followed anymore! Some couples may choose to have their speeches before the meal, so that the speakers can actually enjoy their dinner anxiety-free! Some may even incorporate the speeches into the meal, for example after the starter or after the main course but before dessert. Of course, these potential options must be discussed with those at the venue before making a decision. Try to establish what the general consensus is among those who are making speeches and go from there.

Wedding at the Martinstown House - wedding photographer Kildare


Again, if tradition is being adhered to, speeches would be delivered in the room where the guests are dining. However, with the potential for wedding ceremonies to occur in different areas nowadays, the speeches may take place in a variety of places. Some venues that host modern day wedding ceremonies may allow for speeches to take place outside, or in lobby/mezzanine areas before guests proceed to the dining area. Speeches may be delivered during the drinks reception, while the extended wedding guests are sipping their bubbly and indulging in canapes. Wherever the chosen spot is, it should be suitable/ fit for purpose. The acoustics should be appropriate so that guests can clearly hear the speakers, without too many distractions. It is essential that there is no background noise while the speeches are being delivered- including background music and noises from kitchen prep areas etc. The only sounds that should be heard are the voice of the person who is speaking, and the odd applause/cheer from the guests.

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Originally, wedding speeches or toasts were meant to wish the newly married couple health and good luck in their marriage. In general, the purpose of the wedding speech is to entertain and amuse guests. Speeches come in a variety of forms- they can be quite emotional, sentimental and moving. They can also be quite funny, sometimes absolutely hilarious! It is also possible they may be quite sad and poignant. Regardless of how the speeches may come across, they are a very special part of a wedding, and should be handled with care. Guests may be exposed to the softer side of the speakers, just for a few precious moments. Taking this into consideration, it is only fair that guests give the speeches their undivided attention during this time. Remember, the person making the speech may have spent endless hours preparing their piece…. They may be extremely nervous, so be kind! Once the speeches are over, the remaining festivities can be proceeded with…. Bring on the dancing!

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Hope you will find this article helpful and If you would like to arrange a complimentary consultation or just need some advice feel free to contact me. I would be delighted to help you in any way I can!

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