How to Write A Wedding Toast
The Wedding Toast
The wedding toast is one of the few times at a wedding where someone other than the bride, groom, parents, and officiant get to talk in front of the rest of the guests. It’s a pretty big deal! And unless the person you pick to be your maid of honor or best man are public speakers, it can be a daunting task!
The toast can be a wonderful part of the reception, where the guests get to hear about the couple from someone close to them and who has a different point of view than most of the guests. On the other hand, it can go sour really quickly if the one giving the toast isn’t prepared, tells inappropriate stories or jokes, mentions past relationships, or has maybe had a little too much to drink beforehand.
Who is supposed to give a toast?
Who gives the toast at the wedding is entirely up to the couple, but traditionally the best man, maid of honor, matron of honor, or parents give a toast. The couple should make sure to ask whoever is expected to make a toast far enough in advance so they can start writing down ideas and planning their speech. Tell them to keep their talk between 2-4 minutes; any longer and it’s hard to stay concise, people lose interest, it gets awkward, or they lose steam. It’s ok if they can’t memorize their entire speech and need note cards, but they don’t need to be fumbling with a stack of papers or anything that will be distracting.
There may be some people attending that think they have an opportunity to make an impromptu speech and try to grab the microphone from your best man after his toast, make sure the DJ or MC knows who that might be and they’ll keep it away from them. Do not let anyone you haven’t asked specifically to talk have access to the microphone.
What do they say?
Like any good story, there should be a beginning, middle, and end to the toast. The best toast should be well thought out, concise, put the couple in a good light, and end on a high note that people can raise their glasses too. Stick to the script, don’t go off on tangents, and remember that the toast is about the couple!
Introduction- Introduce yourself, your role in the wedding (even if it seems obvious), and how long you’ve known the couple. Begin by talking in the third person, “I’d like to tell you something about their first date…” If you’re genuinely funny, tell a tasteful joke or a short, funny story.
Middle- Keep it positive! It’s called a toast, not a roast. Articulate positive qualities about the couple, how well they work together, how much they love each other, etc. Think of what makes the couple unique; was their first date interesting, did they have an elaborate proposal, did they go on a vacation or trip with each other? The speech is not a chance to advertise your company, try to score points, or joke about your own love life. It’s about the couple on their wedding day. Next, talk about a more personal story in first person, “One thing I always admired about their relationship…”
The Toast- Finally, talk directly to the couple in the second person for the toast, “May you always find joy in each other…” or “May your life be filled with…” Then, raise a glass and talk to the guests, “To the couple!” or “Lets toast the newlyweds!”
What not to do
There are some things they may feel inclined to include in their toast that may not be appropriate to talk about in front of your entire family. Here’s a few guidelines:
Don’t mention previous girlfriends/boyfriends, partners, or marriages. The couple wants to think about what’s ahead, not be reminded of their past relationships.
Don’t talk about money, how much the wedding cost, or anything that was told in confidence. If there’s a pregnancy, a new job change, or any family dynamics that may be in play at the wedding, it’s best to not mention anything that may not be public knowledge unless you clear it with the couple beforehand.
Everyone knows the couple will be having sex later that night, don’t make it awkward by mentioning or joking about during your toast, especially not in front of their 80-something year old grandmother!
When tasked to give a speech, stay sober until your speech is over. If you have had too much to drink before the speech, it’s best to opt out; you won’t sound sober no matter how hard you try.
Follow these guidelines and use your best judgement! Keep it lighthearted, the toast is meant to shed light into the couples relationship, uplift the crowd, and set the tone for the rest of the night!