The Wedding Toast Best Practices

Published: 28th March 2006
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The wedding toast is a very important part of any wedding. This proposal of

honor gives the most important people in the wedding party and selected guests

the opportunity to express quotes of appreciation, thoughts of prayer, witty

humor and heart felt sentiment to the newlyweds. The toast is very significant

in that it announces the transition period from a formal affair to informal

festivities. After reading this article you will be more familiar with the tradition

and order of toasting and how easy it is to compose and deliver the perfect


Let's start with a brief history. It is believe that toasting began its

traditional roots among ancient Greeks. During this historic time, the honorable

ritual was discovered in three parts; the verbal, the agreement and the seal.

Since it was common to find a sword, dagger or weapon in the right hand or concealed

in clothing by enemies the toasting stance, raised glass in right hand, evoked

a good faith gesture that all engaged in the toast proved friendship. The clicking

of the glass was believed to chase away evil spirits and symbolized agreement

of the verbal honor. The sip that seals the toast was first taken by the host

to assure that the beverage was not poisoned which was common in this time period.

This is where the world renowned phrase "To your health" was derived.

As toasting became more widespread as a ritual of honor, "the Romans

discovered that a small piece of charred bread, commonly known as toast, mellowed

the taste of wine being proffered" which is where the honorable term of

"toast" was derived.

What to Raise

After the discovery of champagne in the 1600s, wine ceased to exist as the

beverage of celebration and champagne turned the pages to become the selected

beverage of choice for toasting the bride.

A toast can be performed with any alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage of choice,

but never coffee, tea or water. In fact, many receptions steer from serving

alcohol and have resorted to fruity punch or sparkling cider for toasting.

Who Proposes the Toast

Before we go on to reveal the honorable mentions of the evening accolades,

let's look briefly at toasting etiquette:

• Be sure all glasses are filled before toasting. The toasting beverage

is poured to the guests and the wedding party in this order:

1. The bride.

2. The groom.

3. The maid and matron of honor.

4. The remaining wedding party including others at the head table with the best

man to be served last.

• Always stand during the toast.

• Refrain from whisperers of side conversations during the proffer (as

we all know this is rude).

• Glasses are to be raised in your right hand only (okay, we're

no longer in ancient Greece and there may be no swords to reveal but just do

it because it's the tradition).

• 'Click' glasses in agreement with the praise.

• Sip to seal with the offer only when the speaking has stopped.

• If you are the honorable 'toastee', never raise your glass

or drink from it during the toast itself. It is safe to take a sip, however,

once everyone else has done so, smile and/or nod in acceptance.

Traditionally, the toast is presented by the best man, groom, and father of

the bride in this order:

• Toast to the Bride: Generally made by the best man, close friend or


• Toast to the Bride and Groom: This toast is made by whomever the bride

and groom chooses. Today, this toast has replaced the toast to the bride so

it's commonly made by the best man, close relative, or friend.

• The groom responds: Usually a few words of thanks to the deliverer

of the first toast, words of praise to the parents and a toast to the bridesmaids.

• The best man's response: At this time, the best man thanks the

groom on behalf of the bridesmaids. On occasion, the bride will follow with

a response.

Today, couples have put a bit of a spin on the traditional honorable setting

by hiring a Master of Ceremony (MC) (particularly someone relation or close

to the couple). What was once a more conservative setting has transformed in

a rather egalitarian social event. The best man's first toast and warm

wishes from the father of the bride has now become the MC's time to extend

thoughts of appreciation and well wishes to the newlywed couple and announce

the beginning of festivities. Today's toasts have evolved to perform in

this order:

First Toast: MC announces the toasting event and extends honor to the newlyweds.

Second Toast: The groom takes the floor and shows gratitude to the MC and toasts

the bride.

Third Toast: The bride takes the floor with thanks to the groom and guests.

At this point, it is her discretion to spotlight her new in-laws with kudos.

Final Toast: The MC returns to the floor, toasts the bridesmaids. At this point,

the maid of honor may respond. The MC opens the floor for any guests who wish

to speak (it is good practice to have these guests announce to the MC that they

wish to have a few words before the reception begins). Finally, the MC announces

the start of the festivities.

What To Say and What NOT To Say

Over the years, toasting has evolved from a simple "To your health"

followed by a short phrase or series of nouns and adjectives to brief anecdotes,

professionally written presentations and hours of practice and preparation.

Some toasts sound more like the State of the Union Address than it does a well

wish to the loving couple. There are even numerous websites that have ready

made toasts that you can rehearse, ebooks with tons of fill in the blank phrases

and writers who charge what's equivalent to the down payment on your first

home to conjure tender words of affection that you are very well capable of

doing yourself.

There very first thing that should come to your mind when choosing what to

say should be KIS….Keep It Simple. There is nothing worse than rebutting

a sea of words that you drown yourself in. Pick a few main points and talk about

them. Avoid a speech that you follow a list of generic terms, such as, "To

the bride and groom, witty, spontaneous, caring, yadda, yadda, yadda. Instead,

pick two points that you want highlighted and remembered, make it heart-felt

or witty, limit your speech to 5 or 6 minutes and take your time to develop

it. If you think you may forget what you're going to say, jot it down

on a note card and bring it with you.

Keep in mind that this is a toast…not a roast. Steer from negative remarks

regarding personality or appearance. Stay on the subject of the bride and groom

and avoid name calling whether kidding or not. For instance, calling the groom

an 'ex-womanizer' may not be a good idea at this point.

Remember you are speaking to an audience that may consistent of a wide range

of cultures, nationalities, ethnicities, etc. so, don't isolate parts

of your audience with inside jokes. When mentioning a third party in the speech

be sure to clarify who the person is, for instance, "My grandmother Pearl

always said…". Furthermore, use a microphone if necessary. There

is nothing worse than loosing the audience's attention because they can't

hear what you have to say.

It has been said that the most successful toast is the one with the topic apparently

unrelated to the occasion of the moment, but whose conclusion most unexpectedly

fits the occasion.

About the Author - Leah Lee has served in the wedding and corporate

gifting industry
for a number of years. Her expertise has been proven in

articles syndicated across the globe. Please visit

for elegant wedding favors and gifts.

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