Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Tips on Giving a Wedding Toast

Filed under: Toasts,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 11:30 am
Tags: , , ,

Giving a wedding toast is a special moment during the rehearsal dinner or wedding reception. Here are a few tips on toasting etiquette.

First things first. When a toast is given to the Bride and Groom they will be seen raising their glasses and drinking to themselves.


Proper etiquette says that during a toast “to” the Bride and Groom, the couple should NEVER stand, raise their glasses, or drink to themselves.

They should thank the toasters or at least smile and graciously nod. They are not obliged to propose a toast in return.

Toasts can be offered with a sip of champagne, wine, a mixed drink or non-alcoholic punch, but never with tea, coffee or water. Don’t leave your non-drinkers high and dry. Read Wedding Tip #13 and Wedding Tip #45 for more non-alcoholic suggestions.

Whatever the beverage chosen, it should be served to the Bride first, then the Groom, then the maid of honor, then parents and lastly the best man.

Sober “toasters” make better toasts! At a wedding several years ago the best man was asked to give a toast but he was so drunk that he couldn’t read what he had written and went on and on. People were clapping to try to get him to be seated but he was oblivious. The father of the bride and I had to physically remove him from the stage and took him outside the reception area. It was not a pretty memory for the bride and groom.

An essential ingredient of any wedding, toasts have several functions. They give some of the principals at the wedding an opportunity to put their feelings into words and to express the collective feelings of everyone there. The toasts are also the first chance to introduce another essential ingredient: humor. And, most importantly, the speeches are a signal for the wedding to progress from the formal to the informal.

Traditionally, the first toast is given by the Best Man. It’s proper for him to thank the parents of the Bride and the parents of the Groom. He should also thank the Groom for choosing him as the Best Man.

A toast should be brief (two to no more than 5 minutes). Never read a lengthy quote or poem, or recount a long-winded story about you and the groom as young chaps. Get a laugh, get sentimental, be gracious, thank some people, but keep it very short and sit down. Speak slowly and loudly enough for all guests to hear. If given a microphone, hold it close to your mouth.

Never do a toast impromptu. Think about it. Preparation is essential. Jot down a few notes and remember you can’t get it wrong, because no one knows what you are going to say. Write your toast and rehearse it. Practice giving the toast several times in front of a mirror. Reciting your toast over and over will help calm your nerves and get you comfortable with the words you’ve chosen.

Don’t ramble on and on and on. If you’re nervous, that’s normal. Please don’t go on and on about how nervous you are, it only calls more attention to what you don’t want! You may feel the need to have a drink or two before your toast to relax you, but don’t let it backfire by consuming too much alcohol before your toast. You may not leave the impression you had hoped for! Because you may be nervous and to avoid a colossal faux pas, like calling the Bride one of the grooms old girlfriends names, it may be wise to write down her name.

Make sure your toast sounds like you. It’s okay to have some fun with the toast, but remember that you should generally wind it up in a sincere manner. The most beautiful sentiment you can express is to discuss what change you’ve seen in the couple since they met. Use your good judgment about which topics “not” to joke about. Joking about college escapades or a former girlfriend just isn’t funny in front of Grandma and Grandpa. Never tell jokes.

glassesWhen you think about adding humor, remember that everyone has a different idea about what is funny and what isn’t. If YOU are not known for your humor… a toast is not the time to start. Keep in mind that you are speaking to a wide demographic and some people will take what you say very seriously. Never share any embarrassing stories. If only a handful of people will understand an inside story, skip it.

Wedding expert, Sharon Naylor, author of the book, Your Special Wedding Toast, says to start by remembering the four basic components of a good toast. It should be:

1. Sentimental
2. Humorous
3. Engaging
4. Brief

Never be afraid to go with your feelings. If you get choked up when you are speaking, don’t worry about it; it’s a real moment. Never apologize for it.

Make sure everyone has their glasses filled, then make a few tink-tink-tinks against a water glass to get everyone’s attention. Raise your glass with your right hand. Be sure that the glass is held straight from the shoulder (that’s traditional).

Speak toward the guests, not to the people being toasted. Turn toward the bride and groom only when you deliver the final line of your toast. Your toast should end with wording which makes it clear to the guests that the end has come. It’s easy to do this with a bit of flair, just bring your voice up a notch in volume, and say, for example, “It is with great pleasure that I say congratulations to (Bride) and (Groom). . . may you share many warm days and many warm nights . . . “everybody raise your glass . . . here’s to (Bride) and (Groom) . . .”

IMPORTANT: (This bears repeating) Proper etiquette says that during a toast “to” the Bride and Groom, the couple should NEVER stand, raise their glasses, or drink to themselves

They should thank the toasters or at least smile and graciously nod. They are not obliged to propose a toast in return.

Here are a few examples you make like to use:

It is written: When children find true love, parents find true joy. Here’s to your joy and ours, from this day forward.

May your hands be forever clasped in friendship and your hearts joined forever in love.

May you be poor in misfortune, rich in blessings, slow to make enemies, and quick to make friends.

May the love you express to each other today, always be the first thoughts during any trying times in the future.

Here’s to love, laughter and happily ever after. As (Groom) and (Bride) start their new life, let’s toast the new wife and husband!

To the two secrets to a long-lasting happy marriage: Here’s to good sense of humor and a short memory!

Never above you. Never below you. Always beside you.

Happy, healthy marriages begin when we marry the one we love, and they blossom when we love the one we married.

(A classic toast given by the 19 year old daughter of the bride at one of my weddings. She wrapped things up by ending with this). And may all your ups and downs be between the sheets! ūüėČ

Copyright ¬© 2009 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 445 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact:, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. –

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.


Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page:
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at:
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at:
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at:


Blog at

%d bloggers like this: