Wedding Toasting Etiquette

Whether you're the bride, groom, best man, maid of honor, a mother, a father, grandparent or close friend - wedding toasting is important, touching, and even a little nerve-wracking for the speaker. If you're going to propose a toast at the next wedding you attend, you want everything about your speech to be perfect. So pay close attention to proper wedding toasting etiquette.

10 Rules of Wedding Toasting Etiquette

  1. Be Prepared. A good toast is one which you have a good idea of what you are going to say. Don't wing it!
  2. Tell Them Who You Are. In a room of 100+ guests, many won't know your relationship to the bride or groom, no matter how many years you may have known them.
  3. Be Yourself. You were picked because the bride and groom love you. Don't try to be someone you're not. (If you're not normally a comedian, don't try to be today! If you're sweet, then keep it that way!)
  4. Keep it short. If your speech is too long, you will lose people's attention. Keep it within the 1-5 minute range.
  5. Keep it real. Avoid common quotes or sayings. Explain why you are happy for the couple, what you hope for them in the future and sincerely congratulate them.
  6. If in doubt, leave it out. The toast is no time for stories that only you will understand, past experiences, old flames, swearing or sexual references. Keep it PG.
  7. Toast the couple, not the individual. Today is their day, make sure to toast them both. It's not an ode to your 20 years of friendship. And maintain eye contact with the couple.
  8. Tell a story. That everyone can relate to. This isn't the time for inside jokes not everyone will understand.
  9. Don't pass the mic. The toast was meant only for you to give.
  10. Wrap it up. Ask the guests to raise their glasses and congratulate the newlyweds.

When To Give A Wedding Speech

First things first: you don't want to stand up at the wrong time and be humiliated in front of all the guests. It's a good idea to research the order of wedding toasts prior to the rehearsal dinner and the wedding. Often the DJ or MC will announce when the toasts are during the wedding ceremony. Leave the toasting for when it is announced, this way you will have the full attention of all of the guests.

The rehearsal dinner is just as important as the wedding and consists of just as many toasts.

Toasting At The Rehearsal Dinner

  1. The best man toasts to the bride.
  2. The bride toasts to the groom.
  3. The groom toasts to the mother of the bride.
  4. The father of the bride toasts to the groom's parents.

Toasting At The Wedding Reception

  1. The best man toasts to the newly wedded couple.
  2. The groom toasts to his new wife and her family.
  3. Both the fathers of the bride and groom toast to the couple.
  4. The bride and the groom toast to each other.

Common Wedding Toasting Etiquette Questions Answered

1. Who toasts and when? The mic at the wedding is reserved for your VIPs - Best Man, Maid of Honor, Siblings and Parents; the rehearsal dinner is a better option for cousins and friends.

If you're just a friend or family member wishing to give a toast to the couple, wait until everyone else has finished their toast and sat back down.

2. When Is The Right Time To Have Toasts At The Reception? You don't want speeches ruining the flow of your evening, so it is important that they are given at the right time.

Seated Dinner: The father of the bride / father of the groom should speak before the first course, the best man and maid of honor before the second course, and the bride and groom as the meal is concluding but before guests have gotten up from their seats to mingle and dance. This way the speeches don't take too much time and you have everyone's attention.

Buffet Receptions: Catch their attention just after your guests enter the reception right after the cocktail hour. You could then do all toasts consecutively (just make sure they are quick), or save half for later, right before or after the bride and groom cut the cake.

For either type of reception, just make make sure everyone's champagne flutes are still full. You don't want guests raising empty flutes!

3. Do We Need Champagne? While champagne is traditional, it's also expensive. You can successfully toast with whatever the guests have in their hands (water, soda, beer, wine). It is not necessary or mandatory.

Have a question about wedding toasting etiquette? Email us!
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