When it comes to weddings, there are several people who customarily give speeches or toasts at various festivities surrounding a couple's big day. From the engagement party to the wedding day, there are many opportunities for people to give a toast. If you think you might need to give a toast at some point, you need to know who typically gives wedding toasts, when and where they occur, as well as how to write the perfect wedding toast, no matter what role you play in the nuptial celebrations.
What Is a Wedding Toast?
A toast is defined as a ritual in which a drink is taken as an expression of honor or goodwill, so in reference to a wedding, it is a celebratory speech made to congratulate the happy couple who have just tied the knot. A wedding toast can be given by a number of different members of the bridal party or just by one person, depending on the couple's preferences.
Who Gives Toasts at a Wedding?
Are you wondering about who gives a wedding toast and when during the celebrations? The following people are most likely to give toasts:
- Best Man: The best man is typically the first to make a speech or toast to the couple at the wedding reception.
- Maid of Honor / Matron of Honor: Next up in regards to the order of toasts would be the maid or matron of honor.
- Bride and Groom: It's normal for the bride and groom to say a few words to their guests and thank them for coming.
- Parents of the Bride or Groom: Typically the bride's parents will give a toast, particularly if they are hosting the wedding. The groom's parents may also give a toast.
When Do Wedding Toasts Happen?
Consider the reception timeline when deciding when to give your speech. Customarily the speeches and toasts take place during the reception, during the dinner hour when everyone is seated comfortably. Occasionally toasts will take place during a break in dancing during the reception or near the time of the cake cutting. There's typically an order to keep in mind when it comes to wedding toast hierarchy, so be sure not to speak out of turn.
How to Write a Great Wedding Toast
According to Steve Faber, screenwriter of "Wedding Crashers," there should be five key parts in any toast: background, an anecdote, comic relief, a turning point, and a conclusion.
- Background. Give context by introducing yourself to the room, especially if you don't know the majority of the guests. Even if you do know most of the attendants, this is a good practice so everyone listening has a frame of reference.
- Meaningful anecdote. Share some sweet history by explaining to the room how you know the bride and/or groom. Always include both the bride and groom in your speech, no matter whose side of the wedding party you are part of. Share a brief story of how you met and how you came to know the happy couple in their relationship.
- Comic relief. It is perfectly appropriate to be funny and include humor in your speech, but not at the expense of the bride or groom on their special day. Keep it light-hearted and universal when it comes to humor in your wedding toasts.
- Turning point. Share a moment when the couple knew they were meant to last forever, or a moment when you saw in your friend that he or she had found "the one."
- Conclusion. Wrap it up nicely. Always end the speech with a kind wish or blessing for the couple, and raise a toast in their honor.
Tips for Wedding Toast Success
Don't miss these tips for writing and giving a great wedding toast:
- Be brief, but not too brief. Your speech should last less than 5 minutes and should be sure to hold the attention of the audience.
- Practice your speech. Spend time rehearsing, it's better to speak from the heart than to read off a set of index cards. Practice enough to appear natural, but not perfectly polished.
- Be sure to smile. You're celebrating two people who obviously mean a great deal to you, so do your best to keep a pleasant look on your face the entire time.
- Keep it positive. Share stories or memories of the couple together that are happy and positive. This is a joyous occasion, so leave any sad and heart-wrenching details for another time.
- Use only good-hearted humor. Don't share any truly embarrassing stories about either individual getting married. If it's something they wouldn't want grandma to hear, it's safe to assume the story is off limits.
- Stay away from inside jokes. If a story you'd like to include falls into "you had to be there" territory, it's best to leave it out of your toast so as not to alienate the other guests.
- Stay true to who you are. Don't go for an overly humorous toast if you're more of a sentimental type, and don't go for tears if you're more of a funny guy. Be natural and stay true to who you are and to your relationship with the couple.
- Use meaningful quotes. Consider quoting a meaningful line from a movie, poem or book in your toast to hit the heartstrings of the fellow wedding guests.
With the help of these tips, you'll be sure to write a meaningful, entertaining and heartfelt toast to honor the happy couple on their special day.