Think about the best wedding toast you've ever heard. Chances are there was nothing especially earthshattering about the toast itself, but the warm emotions that it stirred have had a long-lasting impact. This clearly illustrates the purpose of a wedding toast: to be simple, charming and sentimental, all in honor of the lovely couple that's about to begin their life together.
So why do wedding reception toasts have such a nerve-wracking reputation? If you've been invited to give a toast, put your mind at ease—the couple is surely excited to hear what you have to say about them. And if that makes you feel even more pressured, don't fret; here’s everything you need to know to ensure your toast is free of faux pas and full of warm sentiments.
Tradition dictates that the best man is the master of ceremonies at a wedding reception and kicks off the toasts. This is a great point to keep in mind when selecting a best man—in addition to his ability to plan a stellar bachelor party, of course. If this is not the case for your wedding, consider choosing a good friend or close family member; this person is going to be the one to move the order of events along and make sure the mic is given to the right person at the right time.
Of course, any order to the toasts and persons giving them is completely subject to the bride and groom's preference. Invite the individuals you'd like to give toasts well in advance so they have plenty of time to prepare. Also remember to inform them of the toasting order so they know when not to take a bathroom break. If you prefer to limit the number of speeches on the big day, don’t forget that the wedding reception isn’t the only time for toasting the lovely couple. Some speeches, like the maid of honor speech, could be given during the rehearsal dinner as well.
In formal wedding ceremonies, toasts are given immediately following the meal, before the first dance as husband and wife. This can be done either before or after the cutting of the cake. For less formal affairs, toasts can occur after the first dance, as the first course is served, or virtually any time that feels right to you. Just be sure to have a finalized order of events so everyone is on the same page.
The rehearsal dinner is a perfect supplementary opportunity for toasts and speeches. Traditionally, this is when the groom's father gets to toast. This is also a great time for anyone not slated for a reception toast to speak—after all, the rehearsal dinner is only for those directly involved in the wedding, and a beautiful way to pay intimate tribute to the couple. It's no wonder that these toasts can be impromptu, long, and even more emotional than the reception's.
Remain seated, smile and don't touch your drink until the toast is over, even if the speaker didn't read these tips and the champagne is calling your name! When it comes time to toast as a couple, consider it more of a thank you—you're not toasting yourselves. Graciously thank your wedding party, the hosts for helping you put on the wedding and everyone for attending. Finally, thank each other and say how excited you are to officially begin your lives together—and seal the sentiment with a kiss.
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