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Writing Your Wedding Speech

Wedding Speech tips

Giving a speech at your own wedding can be nerve-wracking for anyone, but it is especially challenging if you’ve been so focused on the wedding planning that you haven’t had time to sit down and formulate your words. Here are my tips on writing the perfect speech that will give everyone the warms and fuzzies without putting too much pressure on yourself.


The best way to start a speech the first time is by telling an amusing story or joke. Humour can help lighten up the mood and make your speech more enjoyable for everyone in attendance, so no one feels uncomfortable.

  • What’s the funniest thing your spouse does in the mornings when they wake up?
  • Was there ever a time they did something so hilarious you couldn’t stop laughing?


Share one of your fondest memories with your spouse. Give your guests an insight into the love story that brought you this far.

  • When was the moment you realised you were falling in love?
  • Where were you when you shared your first kiss?
  • What is something your spouse has done that made you feel proud of them?

Thank yous.

Okay, you’ve shared some heartfelt stuff. Now you can dring your wedding speech to a close with some gratitude. As the host of this big party, it’s your job to let everyone know that their presence is appreciated.

  • Thank your parents, thank your families, thank your wedding party. No exceptions.
  • Shout out anybody who gave up their time and/or skills for your wedding.
  • You can also make your wedding vendors feel special by acknowledging their contributions to the big day.
  • Keep it short and sweet. Whilst it can be very sweet to thank every person individually by name, there’s no need to let it drag on.
  • A final thank you to your brand new spouse! Say “I love you” and you’re done 🙂

A few extra thoughts:


Short and sweet.

Keep it short and sweet. An average speech should last for only about two to five minutes. Keeping your speech concise ensures that you will be able to logically address all of your points without rambling or going off-topic.

  • If you don’t like public speaking, simply say a few kind words, raise your glass for a toast and hand back the microphone.
  • It’s easy to talk too fast when you are nervous. Slow down your speaking in order to allow your guests to hear you more clearly.

Be sincere.

Show your family and guests much you care for your friendship with them and express your gratitude for their participation in the event.

  • Take a moment after the speech to give a hug to your parents or your spouse. Physical touch helps reaffirm the things you’ve just said about them.
  • It’s common for people to get a little choked up while giving a speech. If you have prepared enough in advance, you will be able to push through the tears.
  • Don’t be embarrassed if you do cry, this shows that you care deeply for the person or people who are being honoured.

There are many ways to end a wedding speech, but the most important thing is that you be heartfelt and sincere. I hope these tips will help you on your journey to create something special that expresses how much joy and meaning this day holds for you. Now it’s time to take out those notes on paper and go practice! If this has all been so helpful, please consider sharing this article with others who might need help writing their wedding speech too.

Abby & Amit – Old Coach Stables Wedding

old coach stables wedding portrait

Abby & Amit’s wedding at The Old Coach Stables was emotive, jubilant and picture-perfect. The drive out to Gunning was a clear indication of how the day was going to be; the wide New South Wales country landscapes evoke a romantic escape from the day-to-day business of life in the city.

Words from Amit:

I first saw Abigail at a dance festival. She was wearing this beautiful black dress and she looked total smoking hot. I remembered asking her for a dance to which she said yes. We had few dances and they were definitely the highlight of the night for me. We didn’t get to have a conversation that night as she was with her friends. Our “first” meeting was when she came to a group dinner I had organised (we had common friends). After dinner we were going to a house party, I took the chance and offered her a ride to the party. She agreed to it. Bingo!!!! At the house party, I got tipsy but remembered paying my utmost attention to her all night. The next morning I woke up with a massive hangover but made sure I messaged to check on her to see how she was doing. When I found out she’s having a hangover too, I prepared a little care package (fresh juice, chocolates, water bottle and little goodies).

From then on we got chatting on a regular basis but was not sure if she was interested in me or not. I invited her to Tuesday Latin night that I used to host and DJ at. She cancelled on me last minute a couple of times. I remember one Tuesday night she came and I got butterflies in my stomach when I saw her. I gave her a kiss on the cheek but she seemed a little hesitant and it made my heart sank. My friend looked at me and said “you really like her, don’t you”. That moment it became really clear in my head that I do like her more than I realised at the time. I summed up courage and walked up to her and asked her if she had a minute to chat. I told her that I was falling for her and wanted to know if she wants me to make an effort or if she wanted me to stop. To my absolute delight, she said she wants me to NOT stop and that she likes me too. That was IT! That moment changed my life.

Words from Abby:

Amit and I met through the Latin dance scene. As a new student (he was an instructor at the time) I had seen him in passing and had had a nice dance with him once in Sydney and remember being intrigued, but we didn’t really talk until my best friend invited him to a party she hosted. He caught my eye there because I remember he was well dressed, and from there a conversation started which led to him inviting me to a group dinner. He then asked to drive me to the after-party. He absolutely loves his car and takes a lot of pride in it. I think he was expecting me to be impressed when he drove me to the party 🙂 but I don’t know anything about cars, so I just appreciated the gesture. From there (lots of) tequila got the conversation flowing and we hit it off. We had dance workshops the next day, and he brought me flowers and juice (a hangover cure) in a new thermos. I’m not big on gifts, but it was more of the thought and time he’d put given from his already busy morning to make me feel special and carry on the connection we’d felt the night before.

Old Coach Stables Wedding Venue

The Old Coach Stables have been recently restored into a beautiful wedding venue and restaurant. It is 5 minutes out of Gunning, and 30 minutes drive from Yass, NSW, and provides the perfect rural setting for a beautiful wedding day filled with joy and celebration.

walking down the aisle at old coach stableswedding confettibride and groom cuddlinggunning wedding photos

I was particularly excited to discover that all of the catering Abby & Amit had selected was vegan and vegetarian, cooked by the incredible chefs in the Old Coach Stables kitchen.

old coach stables wedding portrait

Photography: Henry Paul Photography | Wedding Ceremony Venue: The Old Coach Stables, Gunning New South Wales | Wedding Reception Venue: The Old Coach Stables Restaurant | Florist: Louise Sumner | Engagement Ring: Unique Diamonds (Braddon, ACT) | Videographer: Karlo Aliling from Say Hello To Forever | Wedding Celebrant: Sue Jose | Catering: The Old Coach Stables | Entertainment: Steve Amosa | Cake: Rebecca Hannan | Invitations: SayIDo online | Photobooth: Happy Days Canberra | Wedding Bands: Michael Hill (Abby) & Mazzucchelli’s (Amit) | Bridal Gown Designer: Diane Lewis Couture (Bespoke) | Abby’s Shoes: Wittner | Hair: Rachel Kate | Makeup: Elaine Marie Artistry | Shirt: Eaton | Jacket: Reiss | Pants Reiss | Amit’s Shoes: Aquila


Your Wedding Timeline: How to Schedule your Big Day

guide for how to schedule your wedding timeline

Knowing how to schedule your wedding timeline can sometimes feel like doing a 1000-piece puzzle. You have a vague idea of what the end product should look like, but it takes hours of formulating to get all the correct pieces in order.

When you are investing a large amount of money on one big day, it is well within your interests to make sure it’s all going to run smoothly. But you’ll soon come to realise that there is a plethora of conflicting advice from your venue, your wedding photographer and your mum’s best friend.

I’m going to show you how to put together a run sheet that flows well, doesn’t leave your guests with too much spare time and allows breathing room in case of any delays.

1: Work backwards from sunset

I generally recommend working backwards from sunset as a starting point to work out the ideal timing of your day. Keep this in mind when choosing a date for your wedding.

To find out the time of sunset, simply search “sunset” plus the date and location of the wedding. For example, if you type “sunset 21st october 2022, sydney” into Google you will see the sun is scheduled to go down at 7:13 PM.

One of the most important factors in “pretty” photos is working with the best light available. That means that if you are wanting to take your portrait photos outdoors, the “golden hour” leading up to sunset is the best time of day.

I recommend crafting a wedding timeline so that your portraits photos are happening as close to sunset as possible. For a more exact way of finding your sense time, try the Sun Surveyor app, which gives accurate sun movements using augmented reality so you can where the sun will be through your camera lens on any given day/time.

Note: if your sunset is late at night, say after 7:30 PM, then you may like to schedule your portraits earlier in the afternoon and simply set aside 10 minutes at sunset for you and your new spouse to run outside and take a few more photos in that glorious golden light.

2: Ceremony length and scheduling

The length of your ceremony will naturally affect the time you (and your guests) will arrive. Most Australian wedding ceremonies go for 15-30 minutes, however, if you are getting married in a church, or having extra readings or songs featured during the ceremony then the formalities may take a little longer.

Don’t forget that after the ceremony, your guests will want to come up and give you hugs and kisses and take some photos with you. Try to account for this time by giving yourselves a 15-20 minute buffer as to not rush to the next thing.

3: Wedding locations and travel time

If possible, try to choose a location that allows you to do as much as possible on-site. Consider also getting ready on-site, or close to where the wedding will be held. This will save you time on the day, and reduce any stress associated with potential traffic. Having your partner stay nearby can make things easier if people need to travel between the two. Airbnb always has great options!

4: Chat to your photographer about your wedding schedule

Your photographer is the most knowledgeable person to speak to about this topic, as they will be able to give you advice based on the hundreds of weddings they’ve been to. Every wedding timeline is going to be different, accounting for whether the sun is setting at 8:30PM or at 4:30PM. Working with a professional photographer to make the most of your time will save you from stressing out in the lead-up, or even worse, on the day itself.

Let’s look at an example wedding schedule:

  • Sunset: In this hypothetical example of a wedding time, we’ll plan for sunset to be at 6:30pm. In this case, we ideally want to schedule the portrait photos sometime between 5:40pm and 6:40pm.
  • Family photos: Working backwards, it would make sense to schedule some family photos at 5pm, allowing plenty of time for hugs and kisses.
  • Ceremony: Assuming the length is an average 20 minute ceremony, let’s schedule it to begin at 4:30pm, giving us some breathing room if things run a tad late.
  • Arrival: Guests should be encouraged to arrive between 4pm and 4:15pm.

Jumping forward:

In this example, you may then consider starting your wedding reception at 6:30pm for the happy couple to join at 6:45 with a big entrance. Try to intertwine your meals with speeches, cake cutting and any other formalities you are planning.

Dancing: It’s best to have all of your formalities finished before you begin the dancing to not interrupt the flow of the night too much. In this example, I think you’ll be ready to hit the dancefloor at 9:30pm.

Let’s summarise this timeline:

4:00PM | Guest Arrival
4:30PM | Ceremony
5:00PM | Hugs, Kisses & Family Photos
5:30PM | Canapes/Cocktail Hour
5:40PM | Portrait Photos
6:30PM | Reception
6:45PM | Couple’s Entrance
7-9PM | Dinner and speeches
9:10PM | Cake Cutting
9:15PM | First Dance
And onwards | Dancefloor

To summarise this article, here are the key points:

  • Knowing how to schedule your wedding timeline can be tricky without the right information to guide you
  • Sunset is the first piece of information you need to start your timeline planning.
  • The second thing you need to know is how long your ceremony will go for.
  • Finally, you will need to account for any travel time required between locations on the wedding day.

wedding timeline sunset golden hourPhotos featured are Abby & Amit, Sophie & Calum, and Liv & Jess.

Your Wedding Dancefloor: Live Band vs DJ vs Spotify

wedding dance floor entertainmentIf you are currently planning your wedding, it’s highly likely you’ve had to think about what style of dance floor you want to have. Are your guests the type to dance into the early hours of the morning? Or do you just want to celebrate with a couple of slow dances and then head to bed early?

Music is a universal language, and there are typically three choices for how to get the music cranking on a wedding dancefloor: a live band, DJ or Spotify playlist. But there is no one perfect choice for every wedding, which can sometimes make choosing difficult. Whilst a live band will create an undeniable atmosphere, DJs and Spotify literally have every song ever at their fingertips. Plus, we can’t forget that Spotify only costs $11.99!

Here are the pros and cons of each to help you with your important decision.

Live Band:

In my personal opinion, hiring a live wedding band takes any wedding from ‘good’ to ‘great‘. A band is will establish an interactive relationship with your guests that makes it hard for them to say “no” when the music starts playing. Plus, there’s an indescribable feeling when you are watching musicians at the top of their game smash it out of the park. If you invest well, you’ll be hiring musicians who are experts at their instruments and know exactly how to read the room to get the party pumping. I’ve never been able to resist jumping out onto the dance floor myself when the band starts jamming on ‘Uptown Funk’.

From what I can see, there are only two downsides to a live band. One is the cost. The reality is that paying for a top-notch band might be out of reach for some couples who want to spend their night dancing. Ways to compromise is by booking a smaller, 4- or 3-piece band rather. They still know how to bop. The second obstacle is space. If your wedding venue doesn’t have an adequate space for the band to set up, you may end up dancing on top of them!


One of the best reasons to hire a DJ for your weddings is flexibility. They require a smaller setup than a band, they can offer unlimited music choices, and an experienced DJ can still bring a fantastic vibe to the d-floor through lighting and good mixing.

Another benefit of the DJ is that it will generally cost you less than a full band would. And you never know, you might be able to find a really good live music/DJ combo. I’ve seen a DJ who brings a saxophone with them and jams along with the songs live!

Spotify playlist:

I don’t want to spend too much time here. It’s all very self-explanatory: so long as your venue has an adequate sound system, you can probably pull off a great money-saving dancefloor with the right playlist and a few well-positioned lights. It won’t cost much – just the monthly subscription fee, but you might also need to consider Wi-Fi availability. Other than that it should work seamlessly for weddings of all sizes.

Here is a link to one of my favourite wedding dance floor playlists.

In conclusion, choosing the right entertainment for your wedding is entirely dependant on the vibe that you’re after, and the budget you’re working with. Whether it be a live band, a DJ or a Spotify playlist, the most important thing to remember is that this is your special day and you deserve to have the chance to celebrate in your own unique style with your favourite people.

How to Avoid Feeling Awkward in Front of the Camera On Your Wedding Day.

When I sit down with a couple to discuss what they are looking for in a wedding photographer, nine times out of ten one of them will inevitably tell me that they feel anxious or awkward in front of the camera. I usually pick up a bit of shame in their voice as they share this vulnerable piece of information with me as if they are telling me that my job is rendered useless because of their genetics. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. In this blog, I will be discussing why we feel awkward when a camera is on us, as well as some strategies to help manage the anxiety of being photographed.

One of the reasons why we feel awkward in front of a camera is because when it’s on us, everyone else disappears. That is, we become fixated on ourselves and our own insecurities. Feeling insecure is a universal experience, and is a part of what makes us human, so I’m not going to give you some watered-down attempt at making you love yourself more. But I want to posit this one thought about your wedding:

You are marrying the person who loves you more than anybody else on this planet.

Please please let that fact sink in. The sheer fact that you are even having your wedding photos taken in the first place is rooted in the truth that somebody thinks you are hot shit! So here’s my first tip for how to not feel awkward in front of the camera:

Number One: Let your partner feed your ego

Any experienced photographer knows how to leverage the relationship between you and your partner to build your egos and alleviate any insecurities you may be feeling. But even if your photographer doesn’t do this, practise sharing compliments with your partner while you are getting photographed. Sharing small affirmations such as “My favourite body part of yours is…” builds intimacy and yes, confidence.

The more you are able to let go of any self-consciousness, the better you will feel and the more authentic your photos will be.

Number Two: Focus on your partner

When you are having your wedding portraits taken, your attention should be entirely wrapped up in your partner. By chatting with each other, or sharing displays of affection, you are setting yourselves up for a more immersive photo experience. As a wedding photographer, my goal is to always look for the ‘gold’ in a relationship and then work to keep uncovering what is already there. Let me illustrate some different types of gold…

Some couples are very “touchy-feely”. They express their affection for each other through holding hands, stroking, small gestures etc. This type of dynamic between couples is quite easy to photograph and often requires very little guides from me.

However, some couples prefer to express their affection through jokes. They make each other giggle, or keel over in a complete fit of laughter. Again, this is a very easy (and entertaining) dynamic for me to photograph. Leaning into this style of affection means your photos will probably have a lot of genuine smiles and eye contact.

For the quiet couple, affection is often felt rather than shown. This is a beautiful dynamic, and allows for the photographer to experiment with imagery that is less people-focused and more artistic in its expression.

Number Three: Practise!

Practising makes perfect. Book an engagement shoot with your photographer prior to the wedding to get a feel for what it will be like on the wedding day. An experienced photographer will give you a taste of what kinds of prompts and poses they like to use, which might help you feel more confident on the day as you can anticipate your photographer’s vibe and approach.

Similarly, practise wearing your wedding clothes. What we wear makes a massive impact on our self-esteem on any given day, and if you feel uneasy or uncomfortable in your clothes then your photos will show. Become an expert in walking in your new shoes. Learn the limits of how much you can stretch your arms out. Being able to predict how your attire will affect your posture and body language will make a big difference in your portrait photos.

In conclusion, the most important thing when it comes to authentic wedding photos is to focus on being yourself. If your photographer asks you to do something that feels awkward or inauthentic, it’s best to speak up and let them know. Only you know how you feel. And it’s worth putting in the effort because your wedding photos will last a lifetime!

Quick summary:

  • Let your partner feed your ego.
  • Share compliments with each other during the session.
  • Try focusing on your partner as much as possible
  • Practise getting your photo taken together

Henry Paul Photography is a place where all couples are affirmed and celebrated, regardless of their age, gender identity, sexuality, race, religion or disability.

Henry Paul Photography acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. I pay my respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, and to Elders both past and present. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website may contain images or names of people who have since passed away.


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