A wedding toast can refer to ones given by the best man and maid of honor toasts, by the bride and groom, the father of the bride or those given by guests at the wedding. While each is designed to either honor the bride and groom, thank the guests for coming, or both, there are a few rules of etiquette worth nothing. All speeches should last about 2-3 minutes and remember to practice ahead of time.
The best man speech traditionally starts the show and can be a great opportunity for humor. A best man can tell stories about the groom--keeping them appropriate for the audience--and giving a little insight into the man he has become. The speech from a best man helps get the attention of the guests. Humor can work pretty well in the best man speech as you are setting the tone for the toasts. Feel free to use quotes or song lyrics to help kick off the speech.
Maid of Honor
Following the best man is the maid of honor who has the opportunity to be more sentimental. As the maid of honor, you can talk up the bride, pointing out how lucky the groom is to have found her. Be sure to make mention of how blessed the bride is to have fallen in love with the groom. One common mistake is to focus too much on your friendship with the bride. Everyone knows how important you are because of your maid of honor status. Focus the toast on the bride and groom.
Father of the Bride
Nothing says break out the tissues quite like the father of the bride speech. Most fathers have a difficult time keeping their emotions in check and want to express to their daughter how much she is loved. This is completely acceptable. A sentimental speech about watching her grow up and become a beautiful woman who found a wonderful man is a great toast. Because of the emotional level and need to stick to a time limit, keep notecards with you for an easy reference. If you get choked up, pause for a few seconds before beginning again.
Bride and Groom
As the honorees, the bride and groom wedding toast is a wonderful way to thank your guests for coming. Be sure to practice ahead of time so you have the toast memorized. You don't need to turn it into an awards show thank you where you simply list names. But it is nice to highlight the parents and guests from out of town. Your time to thank your bridal party is at the rehearsal dinner. Be sure to tell the guests a story about the two of you as a couple, its a nice way to let them into your life.
Some weddings allow other guests the opportunity to give a toast. Remember to keep your toast shorter than the main speeches, under a minute is a good rule to follow. Simply congratulate the bride and groom. A great idea is to have a blessing or quote memorized to share like this quote from Michael Leunig, "Love one another and you will be happy. It's as simple and as difficult as that."
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