The Speeches

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“Its been an emotional day, even the cake is in tiers”

Photographing the speeches at weddings is one of my favourite parts of the wedding day. For those attending the wedding its the time where they get to hear funny/sad/inspiring/uplifting/embarrassing (delete as appropriate) stories about the couple. Maybe how they met, maybe some tales for when each of them were children, and so on. With great speeches my job of documenting them is an absolute dream. During the speeches I’m looking to capture all of those emotional moments and freeze them in time.  I’ll usually try and split my attention between the speech giver, the couple, and of the reactions of the wedding guests. Its sometimes quite a challenge moving about capturing all those elements but I love a challenge. When I’m booked for a big wedding I usually recommend investing in a second photographer who can roam around more easily whilst I concentrate on the top table and those giving the speeches.

I’ve seen and heard all sorts of things during the speeches. A few memorable moments would be when the Groom tells his new wife that he secretly got a tattoo during the stag do and had kept it hidden until the reveal at the top table. I’ve had one groom give his speech in the form of a poem which went down a storm with everyone. On at least two occasions the Father of the Bride has pulled out a guitar to sing a song about the bride! This has also been the case with at least one Best Man singing about the Groom.

I’ve seen slide-shows and handouts showing photos of the couple during phases of questionable fashion sense, hair cuts, and choices of boy racer cars as well as Grooms being re-united with old stuffed toys that as a child they were inseparable. I’ve even heard Best Men do a full on rap about the Groom accompanied by a backing track of music. And remember, if you choose to have more than one Best Man then you’re in for more stories and revelations from them in the speeches.

It’s also really great when the Bride stands up and gives a speech. Over the past few years this has happened more and more and it adds a great dynamic. Additionally I’ve heard some great speeches from the Bridesmaids so don’t be afraid to mix it up a bit on the day and get more people involved in the speeches.

So, for some advice about speeches.  One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give is around timing.  Both in terms of when to do speeches and how long they should be.  First off, when to do speeches. One of my long lasting memories from speeches was at a wedding where the speeches took place after the drinks reception and before the meal was served. There were speeches from the Father of the Bride, then the Groom, and finally from the Best Man.  By the time the Best Man was in full flow guests were starting to get quite fidgety and more importantly – HUNGRY. From the table with the grandparents, mutterings could be heard with a final “get on with it we’re hungry” much to everyones amusement.  So, feed your guests first – either with plenty of canapés during the drinks reception or with the wedding breakfast meal. Secondly, try and keep those speeches from taking up too much time. It is believed that about 10 minutes per speech is the optimum amount of time.  Generally there are 3 speeches at weddings so 30 minutes for the full set. Perfect. 

Below I’ve pulled together a few of my favourite photos taken during the speeches from the past few years of weddings. Maybe you’ll spot yourself in there!  BTW… the groom’s tattoo mentioned above was only a temporary tattoo for a joke, much to the relief of the bride!

If you’re currently planning your own wedding and are looking for a photographer then I’d love to hear from you. Get in touch and we can chat in more detail about your plans for the day.

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