What would a wedding be without speeches?
From a guests point of view it can become a nightmare. Most people are not professional speakers and hate the idea of standing up to talk in front of all the wedding guests! It's always more relaxed if that part of the celebration starts after a few glasses of Champagne. My advice would be to have your speeches at the end of the meal when all the time is yours. Before eating everybody is hungry, between courses you may be constantly disturbed by friendly waiters trying to clear and prepare the tables.
The best time for speeches is probably after the meal, when you will have as much time as you wish. It's a very important moment for the photographer as some unforgiving expressions can come at any second to be captured forever. If you have a funny friend definitely ask them to prepare a few words and you will see crazy smiles on everybody's faces. If some emotional speeches are made you may see happy tears. In any event speeches will be full of memories and emotion.
The only one thing to avoid is letting them be too long. I have attended a wedding where the speeches lasted for 2 hours. It was clear that people had become bored and wanted to get on and enjoy the celebrations. Speeches are enjoyed the most by all when they hit that spot of not being too short or too long.