How to give great…. wedding toasts!

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As a wedding couple, honoring your friends and family by allowing them to honor YOU is an important and long-standing reception tradition. Asking your wedding party, family members, or friends to offer a toast at your wedding is a weighty request, wrought with responsibility and (let’s be honest) a bit of fearfulness for both the “toast-ee” and the “toaster”. We’ve all been to weddings where the Best Man rambles on for 20 minutes about fraternity shenanigans gone by and never once mentions the newlyweds’ recent nuptials…or when the Maid of Honor who can’t stop regaling the crowd with anecdotes of two best friends planning their wedding at age 5 and turns those sweet memories in to a self-centered monologue about the trials of begin a 29 year old spinster as her best friend takes the plunge in to marriage and leaves her behind. It’s uncomfortable for everyone when toasts elicit eye-rolls and yawns rather than happy-tears and smiles. Many of these blundering speeches arise from when toasters are not properly prepared. Fear not! Below, I have provided a fool-proof outline for friends and family toasters alike!


Wedding Party and Friends: 2 to 4 minutes

  • Introduction: Tell everyone who yo are and why you were chosen to be in the wedding OR how you know the person your are toasting. A joke or a short anecdote is appropriate here (:30 to 1 minute)
  • Relate: This is where you might go in to further detail about your relationship with the person (or couple) along with a funny anecdote or kind words about how awesome the person is. Remember, it’s ok to tell a funny or razzing story; however, it is not cool to inappropriately embarrass the newlywed or go on for ages about inside jokes that nobody can relate to. (1 minute to 1:30 minute)
  • Toast to the Couple: Segue in to how you know the other half of the couple (if you have not done so), chat about how well the newlyweds compliment each other, or offer some kind words about how great it is that they finally tied the knot, etc… add any parting words of advise (funny or wise) here, then raise your glass! (1 minute to 1:30 minutes)


Parent of the Bride: 3 to 5 minutes (ok, up to 6, but no more!!)

  • Welcome and thanking guests – this is especially appropriate if you have contributed to the wedding as a host (your money, your house, etc.) (:30 to 1 minute)
  • Introduction: Discuss your son/daughter as you’ve know him/her as a child, as a grown up, and what it means to be here with him/her today. Short anecdotes about childhood or meeting the now-spouse for their first time is appropriate here. (1 minute to 1:30 mins)
  • Relate: Praise the new couple: commenting on how happy they make each other, how well they work as a team, and the positive things about their new marriage, etc. (1 minute)
  • New Beginings:  This is an appropriate time to then welcome the other partner’s family in to yours and express your gratitude towards the new family members (:30)
  • Toast to the Couple: The majority of the remainder of the speech can be geared toward offering any advise or well-wishes you’d like to bestow upon the couple, and conclude with a toast! (:30 to 1 minute)

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