A wedding toast given by the parents of the groom serves an important role in uniting two families. Toasts give the parents an opportunity to welcome their new daughter-in-law and her relatives to their family, offer wisdom to the newlyweds and tell a story or two about their son. The best advice is to keep your toast simple and sweet. Practice ahead of time, but leave room for a little spontaneity.
As the parents of the groom, you want to begin any toast by acknowledging the bride's parents and their contributions to the wedding. A simple thank you for the beautiful ceremony and reception will suffice. You can also take the time to thank the guests for their participation, particularly any guests from your side of the family who might have traveled a long distance to attend or who hold a special place in the hearts of the bride and groom.
The Joining of Families
A toast is a good time to acknowledge the coming together of two families. If you have a story to tell about the first time you met the bride's parents or fun times you have spent getting to know them, now is a good time to tell it. Express your appreciation to them for having raised and cared for your new daughter-in-law.
The bulk of your speech should be devoted to your son. You can share a favorite memory of him as a child or talk about the positive ways in which his new bride has impacted his life. These can be humorous or serious memories. Try to avoid going all the way back to your son's birth and recounting his entire life. While you are certainly proud of every step he has taken in his life, your toast should focus on a story or two that reflects the man he has become and your pleasure at witnessing him take the big step into marriage. Don't forget to express what your son means to you.
Words of Wisdom
End your speech with words of wisdom for the newlyweds. You can share a piece of advice from your own marriage or select a favorite poem or quote on love and marriage. Again, you can be humorous in the advice you give, but do try to end the speech on a genuine emotional note. It is OK for the bride, groom and guests to see the joy and pride you take in your son's happiness.
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Erika Sanders has been writing since 1997. She teaches writing at the Washington State Reformatory and edits the monthly newsletter for the Collaborative on Health and the Environment, a national nonprofit organization. She received her Master of Fine Arts in fiction from the Solstice Program at Pine Manor College in Boston.