What’s the Best Time for Wedding Speeches at the Reception?

Everyone knows that great wedding toasts are all about timing!

Updated 02/20/17

Tim Willoughby

Love them or hate them, speeches are a key part of a wedding reception. Those toasts (not roasts—save those for the bachelor party or rehearsal dinner!) give guests an insight into who the bride and groom are, as well as their relationship, and are a chance for the hosts and the happy couple to speak to and thank their guests for attending. So what’s the best way to arrange these speeches—or just get them over with? Our experts weigh in.

Great wedding toasts are all about timing, both how long the toasts are and when they take place. You don’t want to disrupt the flow of the evening, but you also don’t want to wait so long that the toast givers have either had too much Champagne or have spent the whole night waiting to get the party started. Here are a few options:

Have Speeches Happen Right Away

Getting these formalities out of the way is great for two reasons: Your parents, maid of honor, and best man can enjoy the rest of the evening stress-free and they can serve to set the tone for the night, too. If you want to kick the night off with toasts, schedule them to happen as soon as everyone has sat down after cocktail hour. Make your grand entrance, take your seats, then ask the first person (usually the hosts of the event) to take the mic. You can have the toasts all happen back to back or take a little break between toasts so your caterer can serve the first course, picking up the mic again after the salad plates are down.

Wait Until Entrées Are Served

Another great option (that still has those toasts happening early in the evening) is to hold off until guests are served their main course. This part of the meal is the longest, so it allows for a little more time for talking without interruptions from the waitstaff. Make sure your caterer serves your VIP tables first, so anyone giving a toast can enjoy their meal while it’s hot. Then, as other tables are being served, they can get up and make their speech with a captive audience.

Kick Off the Dancing With Toasts

The third option is to have toasts at the tail end of the meal, when your speechmakers will still have plenty of time to enjoy the reception when they’re done. You can either have them get up to speak at the end of the meal, or invite them to take the stage when it’s time to dance. Schedule the toasts, then head straight into the cake cutting. Finish off with your first dance and parent dances, then open up the dance floor!

Related Stories