Toasting Etiquette

There are so many options for toasts at weddings!  Who gives them?  When are they appropriate?  What should they say?  Here are my opinions on the wedding toasts.

Rehearsal Dinner

The rehearsal dinner is more intimate than the wedding ceremony (typically).  Usually, your close friends and family will be in attendance.  The father of the groom should start the toasting since he is the host of the event.  After that, you can have the best man, maid of honor, or anyone else say a few words.   At our rehearsal dinner, we gave all guests the option to say a few words if they felt moved to do so.

Wedding Reception

Who gives the toasts at the reception?  Typically, the father of the bride will give the main toast at the wedding reception.   He is the host, after all, and probably forked over the majority of the cost for the wedding reception.    After that, it’s your choice.  You can have the father of the groom say a few words, the bride and groom can thank their guests for coming, or your best man and maid of honor can also say a few words.  At my wedding, my father was the only one who gave a toast at the wedding.  Immediately following, we went into the father-daughter dance, so it was a nice transition.

When are the toasts given?  Typically when the guests have been provided with champagne, have eaten their dinner, or when the couple enters the reception.  You choose!  It’s best to have a timeline for the wedding reception so that people know when they are supposed to toast and when.  Plus, you don’t want any unwelcome toasts given by some rowdier guests!  Whenever you want the toasts to be made, make sure that the event planner and DJ/band know the timeline as well so they can hand over the mic!

What to say?

Toasts should be short, sweet, and to the point.  A funny story, words of wisdom, accolades for future success are all appropriate to include.  It’s a good idea to have a script or at least an index cards with the points you want to make (so you don’t forget!).  Remember, it’s all about the bride and groom.  You want your toast to be thoughtful and kind, but humor can be an added perk.  Go with your style.  If you’re a serious person, then give some advice and words of wisdom.  If you can deliver humor, go with it!  But be sure to bring it home back to the bride and groom.

Pro tip:  Make sure it’s well lit where the toasts will be made.  You want to be able to read your notes!