Who Gives a Wedding Toast and When?

The Etiquette of Wedding Toasts

Wedding toast
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The classic wedding toast is the rousing, funny, and slightly sentimental best man's wedding toast. But he doesn't have to be the only one to raise a glass to the happy couple! Here are the people you might want to ask to give a wedding toast, and some you might not.

The Best Man

The best man's toast is the most traditional and is as close to non-optional as it gets. It's common for the best man (or groom's honor attendant) to make people laugh a little bit with stories about the groom that few people know about, but are still appropriate for the family to hear. It's also possible that he'll make a few guests cry when he talks about how much he loves the couple and shares some wise thoughts for their future.

The Maid of Honor

Why should it only be the groom's best friend who gets to tell funny stories and sweet sentiments? Though not traditional, it's becoming far more common for the maid of honor (or bride's honor attendant) to also give a short wedding speech. It can be similar to the best man's but with her own personality and style.

The Parents

If the bride's father pays for the wedding, it is his job as host to welcome everyone and thank them for coming. Hopefully, he's already shared the sentimental stuff at the rehearsal dinner so this toast can just be a brief welcoming statement.

If it was a joint effort to pay for the wedding, all of the parents may stand together as one of them gives a greeting on behalf of them all. If the couple has paid for the wedding entirely, then they can give this speech but it would be more appropriate to omit any toasting.

The Happy Couple

This isn't really a wedding toast, as the couple can't raise a glass to themselves. But it is nice if they take the mike for a few moments.

If the couple writes and gives the toast together, they can say thanks to everyone for coming. A special thank you would be nice to their parents and wedding party for everything they've done to make the day possible, too.

If only the groom gives the toast, he can first thank the guests, and then his parents. He can not only thank his new spouse's parents but also express his happiness at being a part of their family. He will often finish by turning to his bride, saying how proud he is to be her husband and how much he loves her. (And hopefully, they finish off with a loving kiss!)

Who Shouldn't Give a Wedding Toast

Weddings are fun affairs and spontaneity is a good thing that can really add to the specialness of the day. However, there are some people and circumstances when you'll want to limit the toasting.

  • Anyone who's drunk has no business on the microphone. Drunken wedding toasts are bound to be rambling, incoherent, and embarrassing. If your best man has gone overboard on cocktails, ask another groomsman to take him outside to sober up. With any luck, he'll be able to give an eloquent and dignified speech before the night is through. If not, then there's no reason you can't skip it. Better no speech at all than something mortifying!
  • Tell your DJ or band leader not to give the mike to any unauthorized would-be toasters. Even if they're not drunk, you don't need to allow anyone and everyone who's feeling loquacious to take the floor. Save the honor for your nearest and dearest, and let other wellwishers express their feelings in a card!
  • If you're looking at your reception timeline, you may prefer to save more time for dancing, mingling, or eating, rather than having so many wedding toasts. You're not even required to have any at all. More commonly, however, is to just have the best man's speech, saving any other tributes for the rehearsal dinner.