In most cases, wedding videographers will just get on with their job, working with whatever you have decided to do for the various events in your wedding day. However, there are some things to consider that will make for much better results when capturing the speeches. Here are a few things to think about when planning your table layout and arrangements for speeches during your wedding breakfast.

Small weddings with a single table

If you’re having a small intimidate wedding meal with perhaps a single large table, try to position all the speech givers to the left and right of you both. This will make it easier to position the cameras and to get you and your reactions in the frame at the same time as the people giving the speech. If the speech givers were positioned randomly around the table, the cameras would have to continually change position.

Typical top table arrangement

At most weddings you have a number of round tables with a long straight top table which faces everyone. This is so you’re clearly visible and so that all the speech givers are facing the room with no-one behind them. So that’s all good then. This is the usual arrangement at a wedding breakfast in the UK. Cameras can easily be positioned to capture the couple and the speech givers without having to move. However, you might find that a straight top table isn’t very sociable. You can really only talk to your neighbours. An alternative to this is a curved top table which at least allows you to more easily see the other people seated at the table and have a bit more varied conversation. This shouldn’t be a problem for the videographer if they are using two or more cameras to film from either side of the table.

Long banqueting table rows

In a marquee tent or barn style wedding, you often see straight rows of tables with people seated either side like in a canteen. The top table might be a perpendicular row along one end, or the bride and groom might be seated in amongst everyone. The top table along one end isn’t really any different practically speaking from the previous top table arrangement, but if you are in amongst the middle of all your guests, this poses more of a challenge for speeches since speaker may have a certain amount of guests behind them. A good solution here is to place a lecture or microphone stand in a designated spot for giving speeches at one end of the room. This ensures best visibility for the guests, and the cameras can be positioned to capture the speaker easily. Another camera can be positioned to capture the reactions of the couple and guests. The same can be done for any other arrangement of tables where the bride and groom and speech givers are amongst the guests in the middle of the room.

Audio considerations

It’s essential for the videographer to be able to capture decent audio during the speeches. You’ll have various choices when it comes to delivering your speeches and this will inform the videographer’s choice of how to capture the audio.

1. No amplification – in a small room with not many guests you may opt to simply PROJECT, darling. If you do, you’ll need to make sure all your speakers have sufficiently loud enough voices. In this case, the videographer may opt to either mic each speech giver individually with a clip-on mic, or they may place a mic-recorder on the table to capture the speeches. It’s a good idea for this reason, to let the videographer know how many and who is giving a speech.

2. Handheld wireless mic with PA – Many venues have a built in speaker system these days with a wireless mic they can give you for speeches. A common approach here is for the videographer to place a tiny mic on top of the wireless handheld mic, secured with an elastic sleeve. This picks up everything the handheld mic does and goes wherever the handheld mic goes. One consideration here though, is where the PA speakers are placed. They can often get picked up by the little piggy-back microphone. In this case the videographer will use another method of taking audio either directly from the back of a loudspeaker into a recorder, or from the mixing desk where the wireless mic is routed – this will usually result in the best audio for your speeches if a handheld mic is used.

Light Considerations

If your wedding breakfast is in a fairly dim space, like a barn, be prepared for the videographer to need to light things up. Since interior lights are rarely very flattering (they cast quite a yellowish light on everything especially when mixed with cooler daylight) videographers often light a room with their own lights, the colour of which they can control to match the interior or exterior light source. This may involve a light directed at the top table / speech givers and possibly another behind or to the side of them. They’re usually placed quite high up so that you’re not staring into a glaringly bright light whilst trying to give a speech.