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What Time Should Reception Speeches Start?

You have quite a few options.

Contributing Writer
wedding three groomsman toast
Photography by: Katherine Ann Rose

Timing for wedding toasts varies depending on what the couple wants their reception's flow to be like. Some may prefer to get this part of the night out of the way early, while others prefer to wait until later in the evening. Whatever you choose, you'll want to be sure to pencil these moments into the timeline and let your speakers know when they'll be giving their toast. Here are your best options.

 

Related: Is It a Good Idea to Get All of the Toasts Out of the Way During the Rehearsal Dinner?

 

Right when everyone is seated.

If you choose to do the toasts as soon as everyone is seated for dinner, you're sure to have a captive audience. In this case, you'll want to have something on the tables for guests to snack on while the speeches are happening, and you'll want to be sure the waiters have poured wine or Champagne in everyone's glasses before you get started. This way, you can do all of the speeches at once and avoid guests getting hungry or getting up to go to the bar. Plus, everyone will have something in his or her glasses to toast with.

 

Spread out between dinner courses.

This is a little harder for the catering team, as they'll need to know exactly how many speeches are happening between courses so they can time food accordingly, but it's a great way to break up the toasts if you have more than two planned. If you go this route, your speakers will be met with a captive audience assuming their toasts aren't too long. Each speech can begin once the last plate is delivered, allowing guests to eat their meal while enjoying the stories and anecdotes your closest family and friends share.

 

At the end of the meal.

If you're planning only one speech for the night, the end of the meal is a nice way to close out dinnertime and head into the next event. Guests usually start getting antsy and tired of sitting around at this time, so sticking with a one-toast max in this time slot is the safest bet.

 

Before or after the cake cutting.

You'll likely take some time for dancing between dinner and the cake cutting. So, this opens the opportunity for one last speech, maybe by the two of you, if you're so inclined to thank everyone for coming. Most guests will gather for the cake cutting if there's an announcement or if your planning team invites them to share the moment. Though the audience isn't as captive as they are when you're all seated to dinner, it's still a nice way to get a few last words in.