Getting the best from your wedding photos during the speeches

I know it’s not my job to lend a helping hand with writing wedding speeches, but over my time as a Shropshire wedding photographer I have picked up some tips!

I am lucky enough to have seen hundreds of wedding speeches, and they are usually all very funny, touching or both.

Photos taken during the speeches are also some of the best photos from the day as they end up showing some fabulous, emotional moments and really capture the spirit of the occasion.

I want to encourage people not to be too nervous about the wedding speeches – I know it can be nerve wracking.

But just remember that everyone there wants you to do well, and that people will more than likely have had one or two drinks by then to help calm the nerves!

In terms of the speeches and getting the best from your wedding photos during the speeches, here are my top tips:

When and where to do the wedding speeches

Like everything to do with weddings these days, there are always options with where you can do the speeches. It doesn’t have to be at the top table after the wedding breakfast if you don’t want it to be.

Most of the time couples choose to do the speeches at the dinner but before dinner has become more popular, so that those who are a little nervous can get it ‘out of the way’ and enjoy their dinner.

If this is your preferred option, have a think about the layout of the room and try to ensure all your guests can see and hear the speeches from where they are sitting, or encourage people to get up and move.

There’s nothing worse than people towards the back not being able to hear what can often be one of the best parts of the day. Try to make everyone feel included.

This also helps with how to best capture your wedding photos during speeches. If you want your photographer to be able to capture the whole room, make sure there is enough space between tables for them to move around.

Or if it’s your preference to focus on those in the wedding party – make sure you let your photographer know so they can commandeer a good vantage point.

Less formal approaches could include doing the wedding speeches during the drinks reception to help people settle in and relax. Or you may not have a sit-down dinner, so you could do them before or after the first dance. Some couples even opt to have the speeches for when the evening guests arrive – to make sure everyone can enjoy them.

But be careful that those doing a speech haven’t had too much to drink by then or not enough to eat! And consider the time of year you’re having the wedding because light may become more of an issue at darker times of year.

Natural lighting

Firstly, it’s important that you choose a wedding photographer who understands light and how to work with it. Secondly, choosing a room or space with plenty of natural light, whatever the time of year, is best for your wedding speeches.

If this isn’t possible then an experienced photographer can always use their flash and/or use the best settings to get the best from the light. This is often necessary for weddings where the speeches are held later in the day or for autumn/winter weddings, where the natural light goes much earlier.

As an experienced wedding photographer, I focus on capturing all the reactions, from hysterical laughter, to tears, to emotional embraces. There are so many heartfelt moments during the speeches, and this will always be one of my favourite times of the day – and often create some of your most treasured images.

Who should do a speech?

Again, this is really up to you. Traditionally, it’s 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. Mother of the bride, children, brides, bridesmaids – these days anyone you like can do a speech or a reading. This is your wedding so you can decide. I have even seen weddings whether they have an ‘open mic’ style situation and pass the mic around to anyone who wants to say a few words to or about the happy couple.

Who should you be thanking?

Traditionally speaking, you want to include thanks to the parents, the family of your new son/daughter-in-law for welcoming them into the family, the bridal party, the bridesmaids and the groomsmen – plus any specific guests who have helped you, such as someone who has done your flowers, or organised your cars.

I hope that’s helped with some information and tips with the speeches. If you have any questions or ideas, you can always run them past me. In the meantime, here are some of my favourite shots of during the wedding speeches.

 

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