Wedding Toasting

“Here’s to the bride and groom, a case of love, pure and simple: Bride is pure and groom is simple.” Anonymous


Associated with joyous occasions, the perfect toast can set the mood for the event and create memories for the future. However, unlike most speeches, the wedding toast often becomes the occasion when a reluctant, bashful person is called upon to speak eloquently in the spotlight.

From engagement parties to rehearsal dinners, there are many opportunities for multiple toasting—some of which follow tradition and all of which are meant to celebrate the wedding couple. At the engagement party, the father of the bride proposes the first toast to his daughter and future son-in-law. Usually the father of the groom responds with the next toast.  Rehearsal dinner party toasts are a more casual opportunity for friends and family to toast the couple, often with personal stories. They typically feature toasts from parents to parents, parents to couple, and best man to groom.  Bridal showers, bridesmaid brunches, and bachelorette/bachelor parties are also toasting possibilities.


Image Credit: blog.timesunion.com


Along with coordinating everything else, the bride (sometimes with wedding planner) has the responsibility of officially inviting individuals to toast/speak as well as scheduling the program. If you are a member of the wedding party (or very special friend/relative) who would like to say a few words, but haven’t been asked, speak briefly. Sometimes others are asked to speak on behalf of someone who cannot be there.

Although many modern brides give brief responses or toast, the bride is not expected to make a long speech.

Wedding toasts/speeches are usually given following the meal; however, presenters may find the meal and festivities more enjoyable, if they speak prior to the meal. This could also ensure that speakers are more coherent—but the guests might be less merry and receptive.

If there is a toastmaster/master of ceremonies (professional or not), prior to the event he/she needs to know who is speaking, order of speeches, and time/s at which speeches will be made. Often the best man serves this function.  Proper wedding reception toasting usually follows a certain procedure: Best Man; Father of the Groom; Father of the Bride; Groom; Bride (if she wishes);  Bridesmaids; Mother of the Groom; Mother of the Bride; Special Friends/Relatives;  Others.  The order may change just as long as all speakers are aware of who is saying what…and in what order. The Father of the Bride is responsible for welcoming groom’s parents and all other guests. The Groom thanks his parents and thanks guests for their gifts and good wishes. In some cultures, it is customary for the groom to present small keepsakes/gifts to both mothers. The Groom may also propose the toast of the bridesmaids to which the Best Man usually responds with humor.

Toasts may be made to the Bride or Groom individually or as a couple



–Prepare and rehearse

–If delivering the principal toast, think of it as a very short speech

–Be sure all guests have been served drinks.

–Always stand and ask others to stand.

–Hold your glass by the stem and raise it to shoulder height. You may toast with a non-alcoholic drink.

–Make eye contact with the person/s you are toasting.

–Be gracious—the recipient/s should feel honored and acknowledged.

–Sentiments should be heartfelt and specific to the toastee/s.

–Including a personal observation, remark, or a touch of humor usually makes for a more interesting      toast.

–Keep it short, simple, and in good taste.


–Look at and listen to person giving the toast.

–Stay seated and smile with appreciation.

–You may respond by thanking the presenter, and may also recognize, thank , or honor others at this time.


–Speak for longer than 4 minutes.

–Try to attract attention for your toast by using your glassware or flatware.

–Drink when a toast is offered to you.

–Deliver a toast to yourself.

–Propose or deliver a roast instead of a toast.

–Make the toast too personal.

–Use/make/allude to jokes that only a few present would understand.

–Clink glasses in a formal situation, unless customary/expected within that culture.

When you feel the need to offer a spontaneous toast or are suddenly asked to deliver one, remember all you need are a raised glass and a few complimentary words.

SECOND/THIRD MARRIAGE TOAST:   “Here’s to the triumph of hope over experience.”  Anonymous


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