Over the years in the videography business here in Kilkenny and Tipperary I have heard it all, with wedding speeches anyway! I remember 15 years ago at weddings, the smokey hotel function rooms and the speeches that were short and to the point. As time went on the smoking ban arrived and the speeches got longer & longer for some reason.
How long is a good speech? Well I guess the way to answer that is how long in a piece of string… who knows, but the attention span of your guests should not be over looked. The total duration of the wedding speeches is usually 20 to 30 minutes max. If you want your wedding speeches to be short, then you have to make sure all the speakers know their limits and no more. Long speeches can risk repetition and guest boredom and I have see this while videoing weddings all over Ireland.
My advice to couples that ask about what I think regarding speeches is this: I tell them it’s their day but just to be aware a short speech is always remembered and spoken about later, a long speech is soon forgotten because it was too much for people to take in. Also bear in mind that if the speeches are after the meal and are long winded, people get fed up as they need to stretch their legs. I have heard horror comments after the speeches from guests after sitting for nearly an hour listening to a guy that “loves his own voice!” but as I emphasise – it’s your day and your speeches. The traditional scenario of having the speeches after the meal is fine as well, but think of the groom & best man and also the dads all sitting there eating their meal thinking the speeches have to be done soon – it can and will put them off their meal.
A trend that is becoming increasingly popular is to have the wedding speeches before the meal. This really helps people who have a speech to deliver and are somewhat anxious about making it. This will have to be arranged with your hotel in advance so that they can Plan to accommodate it with your meal.
I understand with hotels they have to keep the meal hot while the wedding speeches are being conducted, but from feedback from couples 70% now want their speeches before the meal. This way all involved in the speaking can relax and enjoy their meal knowing it’s done and dusted! It’s a great idea for people that are not used to public speaking. Of course from the hotel’s side of things this can be a nightmare! Also you band can start on time if all is done and dusted before say 9pm, and this way you get value for money from you nights Entertainment as well. The bride and groom tell the hotel they will only be 15 minutes but I have see this 15 mins drag on to an hour! The poor chef is doing his best to stop the veg from sticking to the pans, so i can understand why the hotels frown on this! If your speeches are going to be before the meal tell the hotel this and stay to an agreed time-frame – this way your guests won’t be eating cold food and all will be happy. Brand new blog in the making for next week, very interesting one at that! check back ~ Joe