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The Friday Fight-Out: Speeches Before/After Vs Between Courses

The speeches – eagerly awaited by the guests and dreaded and feared in equal measure by the Groom & best man. Whether to get them over and done with before the meal or wait until after is always a huge topic of debate (and one we’ve fought over previously) but there’s a third option – how about breaking it up a little and giving a speech between each course of the wedding breakfast? Good idea? Time to find out!


In the Red Corner, fighting to keep the speeches all together in one go, well, when she gets talking there really is no interrupting her… it’s Dom “The Tog Bride”.

In the Blue Corner, fighting for speeches between courses… well he does have a theatrical background although I can’t imagine he’s missing working on 3 act plays… it’s Matt “The Gormless Groom”.



Dom: 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: 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. There’s often a long waiting period between courses and it’s great to be entertained during those gaps!

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 to keep them interested and make them laugh. Breaking it up means that everyone gets time to relax between speeches and means they’re alert and ready for the next one. It really is like a 3-act comedy – you get the first act (father of the bride) which introduces the story and the characters and gets you intrigued, then after an interval you get the second act (groom) where a lot of the plot is told and the relationships between the characters grow, then after the final interval it’s act III (best man) where the plot twists occur and you get the punchlines! It’s a formula that works, but try to watch a 3 act play in one and you’ll be running for the exits pretty fast!

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 (generally) another two for people to enjoy right before/after yours. If you have an entire section of the wedding breakfast all to yourself you might feel more under pressure to deliver a brilliant speech and that can be much more nerve-wracking.

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. which might otherwise make your planned speech impossible.


So those are our thoughts on this debate but we’d love to hear yours! Place your votes below or leave a comment to join in the debate!

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