Wedding Toasts

Wedding Toast Traditions and Ideas

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In contrast to wedding speeches, wedding toasts are short and sweet. They express good wishes for health, happiness, and prosperity to the bride and groom.

Wedding Toast Traditions

A wedding reception typically includes the following toasts:

  • Best Man and Maid of Honor: The best man makes the first reception toast, following by a short toast from the maid of honor if she wishes to say a few words.
  • Bride and Groom: The bride and groom thank their loves ones for coming out to share their special day. They can toast together or each speak separately.
  • Bride and Groom's Parents: The bride's parents should have the honor of speaking first if they are hosting the wedding, with the groom's parents following immediately after.

The Key to a Great Toast

Great wedding toasts are heartfelt, genuine, and brief – 20 or 30 seconds is normally sufficient. Anything more than two or three minutes can be considered a wedding speech. Toasts are generally sweet, funny, and poetic, as your goal is to make the audience laugh and then cry -- hopefully with the happiness and poignancy of your words!

Here’s what you need to do to prepare a great toast:

  • Practice: The key to the perfect wedding toast is practice. Know what you're going to say by heart, so that you won't stumble over the words when the time comes. If you're worried about forgetting something, it's OK to use a notecard with the key points outlined. However, you don't want to bore the audience by reading off the notecard word for word.
  • Be Yourself: Many people in the audience will already know you, so there's no point in pretending to be someone you're not. Don't try to give a formal toast if you're known as the resident goofball and don't try too hard to be funny if you're naturally on the serious side.
  • Don't Make It All About You: A toast should honor the two people getting married. It's not the time or place to brag about what a great friend you are or how close of a relationship you have with the bride and/or groom. If your toast uses the words "I" and "me" more than a handful of times, revisions are in order.
  • Skip the Inside Jokes: Opening with an anecdote is a great way to get the attention of your guests, but you'll want to avoid referencing any inside jokes. A wedding toast shouldn't make other guests feel like they've been left out of the celebration.
  • Don't Dwell on Past Mistakes: While poking fun at the groom's fraternity days or the bride's excessive shopping habit may be appropriate for a wedding speech, let the toast be just what it's supposed to be – a heartfelt, sweetly funny wish for the happiness of the union of your loved ones. In particular, sexual escapades and run-ins with the law are to be avoided as toast topics. This may sound like common sense, but these subjects have a tendency to pop up time and again with wedding toasters who are unprepared at the critical moment.
  • Don't Overdo it with the Alcohol: Try to avoid excessive drinking before your toast. You're much more likely to speak clearly and evenly if your body isn't trying to balance itself chemically.

Formula for a Successful Wedding Toast

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As you're writing your wedding toast, here's an easy formula you can use to guide the process:

  • State who you are and how you know the couple.
  • Briefly talk about their relationship and how happy they are together.
  • Share a memorable story that shows why you know they are perfect for each other.
  • Wish the bride and groom a lifetime of happy memories together.

Remember, a wedding toast should be short and sweet. Write an initial draft of your toast, then trim it down to the appropriate length a few days later. If you have any doubts about the quality of your wedding toast or whether a particular topic is appropriate to discuss, ask a trusted friend to help you practice your delivery.

Looking at wedding toast examples can help spark your imagination, but remember that your toast should be from the heart. Don't copy something you found online word for word. The best gift you can give to the happy couple is a toast they'll remember fondly for years to come.

Overcoming Last Minute Jitters

Public speaking can be nerve wracking, but remember this is the most receptive audience you're ever likely to face. Every person in this room wants you to succeed, and will laugh or cry at the drop of a hat. If you're still nervous, take ten deep breaths before you begin, pausing between inhales and exhales. Have a few sips of water, close your eyes, and visualize yourself giving the perfect wedding toast. Let the love, admiration, and respect you have for your loved ones run through you, and you can't go wrong.

Written by: The Printable Wedding Team