1. Style
Send to a Friend via Email

Who Gives a Wedding Toast and When

The Etiquette of Wedding Toasts

By

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:
  • The Best Man (or Groom's Honor Attendant)
    This is the one that's most traditional, and is as close to non-optional as it gets. He makes people laugh a little bit, and maybe makes them cry when he talks about how much he loves the couple and adds some wise thoughts for their future. Tips on Giving a Great Best Man Speech

  • The Maid of Honor (or Bride's Honor Attendant)
    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 also to 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 that this toast can be just a brief welcoming statement. However, if it was a joint effort to pay for the wedding, all of the parents may stand together as one of them gives a welcome on behalf of them all. If the couple has paid for the wedding entirely, then they can give this speech, but should 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 they write and give the toast together, then they say thanks to everyone for coming, and especially to their parents and wedding party for everything they've done. If only the groom gives the toast, he first thanks the guests, and then his parents. He not only thanks his new spouse's parents, but he also expresses his happiness at being a part of their family. He finishes 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

  • 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 you're not that lucky, 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. Certainly, you're not 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.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.