For better or for worse, speeches are often a very memorable part of a wedding day. From the good natured jibes of the best man, to the touching trip down memory lane delivered by a family member and of course the heartfelt tributes made by the bride or groom.
Who you choose to speak on your wedding day, what they say and when they do so, is something that is entirely personal to you and your partner. However, there are some tried and tested guidelines we always share with couples to help avoid any stereotypical wedding day speech pitfalls.
From timings and length to the technical side of things, here at Southend Barns we’ve compiled our top tips for getting the most out of your wedding day speeches. Keep reading to find out more…
Timing is Everything
The key to successful wedding day speeches is timing. Wait too long and focus can get lost following the personalised cocktails or Pimp Your Prosecco cart, strike too soon and you’re competing with reuniting family and friends.
An often-overlooked section of the day that is perfect for speeches is your reception drinks. Whether the Father of the Bride is a little shy and keen to shake off the nerves, or you’re worried about the Best Man indulging a little too much before he speaks, this is a lovely way to close your reception drinks and invite guests into the Threshing Barn to enjoy your delicious wedding breakfast.
The end of the meal is another great time to carry out the speeches as everyone is relaxed, satisfied and ready to sit back and enjoy. It also gives the photographer an opportunity to capture some lovely candid shots of your guests whilst everyone is fairly still and focused on what is being said.
Traditionally the order of speeches tends to be; Father of the Bride, the Groom and then the Best Man, but couples are now carving their own path when it comes to who speaks on their wedding day.
Whether the bridesmaids are taking the stand, your mother would like to publicly wish you well or you’ve decided to address the room as a newly-wed couple. Whoever you choose to toast your big day, we suggest keeping your speeches to a maximum of four and limiting each to around five minutes.
Why you might ask? Well, as a rule guests have an attention span of around 20 mins. This means if you have four people, speaking for five minutes at a time, each of your loved ones should get the focus and attention they deserve. Of course there are no rules, and you and your wedding party should do what feels right for you, however it is worth noting attention may start wavering if speeches go on for too long.
If you are keen to keep speeches short but a loved one is adamant that they have too much to say for your proposed time limit, why not ask them to write a letter filled with anything that can’t be said within the time you’ve given? They could even present the letter to you and your partner on the day so you can treasure this sweet and heartfelt wedding day moment forever.
Testing, Testing, 1,2,3
Both our Threshing Barn and our Collecting Yard are quite substantial spaces to fill, add to that a sea of guests dampening the sound and even the best public speaker would struggle to be heard by all. Therefore, it is a really good idea for your speakers to make use of our in-house microphones which are available to use both inside and outside. Using them ensures everyone can hear without anyone having to resort to raising their voice.
Don’t worry if you are a complete technophobe, our Southend Barns team will be responsible for the set-up and testing of any microphones being used, so all you and your loved ones need do is steady those nerves and speak.
Although wedding day speeches are absolutely personal to you and your loved one, over the years we have noted a few tips which have made for some truly beautiful moments.
Although it may be tempting to write out a wedding speech verbatim, some of the most heartfelt tributes we have witnessed have been read from notes. Perhaps easier said than done, a well-rehearsed speech prompted by notes allows the speaker to be flexible and really engage with the audience, instead of focussing on keeping their place on the page.
That takes us to our next tip – practice! Although a few blessed thespians might be able to wing it on the day, for most of us, a lack of preparation will be rather apparent. Practice won’t just help you iron out any kinks, it will also significantly help ease any potential stage fright.
Finally, if you just don’t know where to begin when writing your wedding speech, it can be helpful to identify one particular theme or story to base your speech around. This is a great way to keep your address focused and to the point and can also help provide a bit of structure.
Raising a Glass
Whatever part of your day you decide to have speeches, our wedding day team will ensure glasses are full before the first toast begins.
Our tipple of choice is sparkling wine from local vineyard Tinwood which we feel fits the occasion very nicely, however we have a range of sparkling wines and champagnes to choose from which can be ordered through Roots prior to your wedding day.
If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask our Southend Barns team for advice or guidance.
Photography: Albert Palmer / Emmie Scott / Charleigh Victoria Photography / Emma Hare Photography