Get the best out of your wedding photos during the speeches

Today I am talking about wedding speeches! I am going to share some top tips about actually writing the speech, as well as getting the best out of your wedding photos during speeches.

It’s been a while since I wrote one of my wedding top tips posts, so I wanted to pick up chronologically where I left off. In the last post, I shared top tips about getting the best out of your wedding photos during the reception. You can also check out the other posts in the series and find out more about getting the best out of your photos on the morning of the wedding day, top tips for capturing the first look and making the most of your photos during the ceremony.

Writing a speech can be a very scary and daunting task. It’s easy to get blank page syndrome if you aren’t naturally great with words. When you then think about having to stand up in front of a load of people to say those words, it’s inevitable that the nerves are going to kick in. But no need.

When it comes down to it your wedding guests are looking forward to the speeches and they want you to do well. Try to think of it more as sharing some thoughts with all the people who love you the most. See, that makes it easier already!

Where & when to do the wedding speeches

Despite what you may initially think, you do have options for where and when to do the speeches. Most of the time couples choose to do the speeches at the dinner (either before, during or after), which means you will invariably be in the room where you are having the wedding breakfast. When planning the layout of the room for the wedding breakfast think about the space around the room and how well everyone can see you at the top table (if you have a top table). Where to stand to best capture your wedding photos during speeches is always a consideration when checking out the dining room. Your venue can advise you on the best room set up based on the number of guests you have.

Creating enough space between the tables will allow your photographer to move around, without disturbing your guests while they are listening. Having a second photographer can be a great option for speeches. When working with my second photographer I normally position myself at the front of the room, kneeling down so as to not get in the way. This allows me to focus on the top table, and my second photographer goes towards the back of the room, focusing on the reaction of your guests. It’s like a pincer movement and allows us to capture loads of great reaction shots during the speeches.

If you like the idea of a less formal approach you could choose to do the speeches during the drinks reception or in the evening before the dancing starts. In these cases, you have more flexibility in where you do them. It could be either indoors or outdoors depending on the time of year and the weather. I love photographing speeches outside. There’s tons of space to move around, its all lovely natural light and it’s easy to see everyone. If your venue has a particularly lovely garden or outside space do consider doing speeches at the end of the drinks reception, before heading in for dinner.

Wherever you end up doing the speeches think about where the person doing the speaking will stand. It’s easiest if everyone stands in the same place, that way not only will your guests be able to see them all but your photographer will find it easier too. Especially if they have to set up lights.

In many of my other ‘top tips’ posts, I mention natural light…a lot! There is no difference here. Having a room with plenty of natural light will always make it easier for capturing those fabulous shots of you and your guests enjoying the speeches. If this isn’t possible then I tend to use flash to add some extra light. This is often the case for weddings where the speeches are later in the day or for Winter weddings, where the natural light goes very quickly. Maybe your venue is one that doesn’t have much natural light? In this case, using some sort of additional lighting is almost essential unless the room lights are particularly good at illuminating the whole space.

When it comes to your wedding photos during the speeches, the main thing is capturing reactions. This is what the speeches are all about. It’s a perfect time to get the natural, emotional shots as well as the belly laughs and joyous moments. Those truly heartfelt moments that bring your loved ones to tears are wonderful to capture. They show real love that happens on a wedding day. Equally as great to photograph are the embarrassed faces and hysterical laughter as stories of youthful escapades are shared. Pure joy, pure love, real laughter and great photographs.


Who should do a speech?

If you go with tradition, it would be the Father of the bride, the groom and the best man. But why stick with tradition? Have your wedding your way and introduce a different set of speeches if you want.

Maybe the Mums want to say a few words? I have had more and more of my brides do speeches in the last year or two, which is awesome! Bridesmaids can get up to tell some stories and share some love if they are up for it. Why not ask one of the parents who isn’t doing a speech to be MC, that way they can say a few words too without having the pressure of a full speech? You can even open up the floor for anyone who would like to say a few words. I photographed a wedding a few years ago that did this and it was such a lovely thing to do. It can add extra time onto the speeches though, so if you like the idea of an open mic option make sure to work it into the timings.

Ultimately it’s up to you to choose who you would like to do a speech and more importantly who is happy to do a speech!


Captured moment groom and mum laughing during wedding speech

What to consider when writing your wedding speech.

• The length of your speech. Short and sweet is generally best, especially if the speeches are before dinner!

• The Structure. Using a structure makes it easier for you to improvise and not read word for word from notes. This will allow you to engage with the guests and the top table.

• Be yourself. If you aren’t a formal person, don’t make your speech too formal. If you only want to stand up for 2 minutes and say some thank you’s, that’s fine.

• Don’t be afraid to share some emotion. Even if you aren’t normally a gushy super emotional person it’s wonderful to be able to share your true feelings on this special day.

• The thank you’s. There are potentially quite a few thank you’s in a speech, I have shared a few ideas below.

• End your speech talking about the most important person to you. For the Bride or Groom who is doing the speech, that would be your partner.

• Write a speech you are looking forward to saying. This will definitely help banish the nerves and will make things much easier for you on the day.


Who should you be thanking?

• The Parents – The guests, the family of your new son/daughter-in-law for welcoming your child into their family and finally, any specific people who have helped that you want to thank.

• The Brides & Grooms – Your guests, parents, partner’s parents, best man/bridesmaids/ushers and anyone who put in that extra bit of help.

• Best Man & Bridesmaids -  The Bride/Groom for making your best friend happy.


A few more top tips for your wedding speech.

• For a more personal speech, make sure you have eye contact with your other half when speaking to her or him and anyone else you may be speaking about or to.

• If you are doing gifts, do them at the end of the speeches. This way it doesn’t stop the flow and means you don’t lose track!

• Remember… Keep it short and sweet!

• Practice, practice, practice….you can never do this enough, especially if you are nervous about speaking.

• Time yourself so you know roughly how long your speech will take.

• Breathe! It sounds daft to remind people to breathe, but it’s easy to rush, and panic and not breathe and then….! It’s all a bit too much.

• Have fun. Don’t overthink things and at the moment let it flow naturally.

Whether you decide to stick with tradition or not, don’t feel tied down to doing things a certain way. Your guests will remember your wedding day fondly because it has personal touches and something unique to you as a couple.

Have you decided where and when you will do your speeches? Who will be saying a few words at your wedding? I would love to hear your ideas and thoughts about wedding speeches.

I hope this has been helpful with some top tips for your speeches as well as some thoughts about the wedding photos during the speeches.

Thanks for popping by

Fiona x


Here are a few more fabulous wedding photos during the speeches…the joy, the tears, the fun, the laughter, the emotion…

Beautiful bride delivers wedding speech RSA London