Toasting 101: To Love, Laughter and Happily Ever After
Prepping for the honored tradition of a wedding toast? Our team knows it’s not always as easy as it looks – and we are here to help. We’ve shared some toasting advice in the past – and traditional and fun toasts you can easily personalize – now, we’re offering some etiquette advice…
Anna Post, the great-great-granddaughter of the famed Emily Post, shared her thoughts on the etiquette of toasting in her column in Inside Weddings magazine.
Her best advice is to prepare: “Be sincere, and unless you’re a stand-up comedian or a politician, don’t try to wing it.”
Anna says the most important part of toasting is giving the appropriate toast at the right event – the engagement party, the rehearsal dinner and the wedding dinner.
The Engagement Party
Anna says it’s proper for the father of the bride to welcome guests and make the first toast of the evening. It’s also a plus if the father of the groom can give one himself later in the evening. It’s common for the bride and groom-to-be to also raise a glass at the end of the night to thank their friends and family for attending.
The Rehearsal Dinner
The host of the dinner, usually the groom’s parents, is normally the one to speak first. Since you do not want to bog down your wedding night with toasts, the rehearsal dinner is the perfect setting for family members and friends – other than the maid of honor and best man – to speak. Anna says, this is also a time when longer toasts and stories are welcome.
The Wedding Dinner
After a welcome, traditionally from the bride’s parents, the best man gives the first toast. Then, the maid or matron of honor gives a companion toast. Anna says these two are the most formal of all toasts and should be kept brief; a great speech should not take longer than a few minutes and can be effective in only a few lines. Keep in mind that it matters most what you say – not when or how – and you can never go wrong with short and sweet.
Anna’s top tips for making your toast a “shining success” …
• Skip pointless stores about the couple’s childhoods — anecdotes are okay, just keep them relevant to the occasion
• Be sure not to talk about yourself instead of the couple — this is the time to check your ego at the door
• Keep mum about any past problems the couple may have had and never reference any of their old flames