The Wedding Toast
Generally, the toasts will be done either before or after the meal but feel free to do whatever suits you even if you feel you would like people to get up and make toasts during the meal.
Toasts often include a welcome by the bride’s father and speeches by the best man and maid of honor.
Traditionally speaking, the best man is the master of ceremonies at a wedding reception and kicks off the toasts. This is a great point to keep in mind when selecting a best man—in addition to his ability to plan a stellar bachelor party, of course.
If this is not the case for your wedding, consider choosing a good friend or close family member; this person is going to be the one to move the order of events along and make sure the mic is given to the right person at the right time.
Customarily, the order of wedding reception toasts should go like this:
- The best man toasts the bride, usually after an overdramatic or super-funny speech.
- The maid of honor toasts the groom…also after an overdramatic fun speech that will make the bride cry.
- The wedding host (traditionally the father of the bride) toasts the couple.
- Other parental figures of the couple toast the couple.
- The couple toasts their family and guests.
The wedding toasts can be at any time of your choosing like anything else with the wedding.
If the food has been prepared and your guests are hungry and waiting, then it might be wise to leave the toasts until after the main course as often people get a bit agitated if they are waiting for their food and it is being delayed by somebody who is talking.
Sometimes even the best-laid plans change in the course of the day, and when that happens you really just need to go with the flow and enjoy the occasion without getting stressed.
If you have any specific people you would like to toast yourself this should also be listed in your wedding plans to make sure that you don’t forget on the day and it is a wise decision to keep a little note with you with reminders of particular aspects such as this that you don’t want to miss out on doing.
You might also like to consider nominating a person as toastmaster who can control the toasts and the people talking and ensure that the whole reception process runs smoothly just as a conductor would do with an orchestra.
Ask friends or family to see if anybody would like the job as toastmaster taking into account the fact that most people will generally prefer not to speak in front of a crowd.
If you can’t get someone you know to act as toastmaster then you might need to hire a professional for the job.
It will cost more money but at least you know it will be a polished performance and they usually know how to ‘work’ the crowd if you give them sufficient input beforehand.
Wedding Toast Activities
Giving a toast is a responsibility that puts fear in the speaking hearts of most members of a wedding party. While it’s not usually something that is particularly long or involved, it’s public speaking (which doesn’t sit well with many people) and really puts people on the spot.
If you are planning a wedding and know that most members of this wedding party are hams who won’t mind the whole “public speaking” thing, then, by all means, keep the toasts traditional with dad, the best man, and others taking their expected turns at the microphone.
But if you’re looking for something different, either because you want to save putting people on the spot, or you simply want to do something different and fun, read on.
First, you can certainly take the whole toast thing off the agenda if you wish.
There are no rules requiring a toast at any wedding. Weddings should be unique events and reflect the personalities of the bride and groom.
But if you want to do something a little different, there are options. You can go the video route, which asks people to essentially make a toast on camera and then the video is given to the bride and groom later. This isn’t a particularly unique idea, but it does solve the issue of not wanting to put people on the spot and still gives everyone a chance to say something special to the bride and groom.
If your guest list includes many outgoing people then consider “pass the microphone”. This can work in several ways. You can either be silly with it or deadly serious. Most people like silly. Say dad takes the microphone first. His last name ends with T (so, let’s say dad’s last name is Smith). He must find someone whose first name begins with a T (Tom? Tony? Tina? Theresa?) and pass the microphone to that person, who then gives a toast.
This method of giving toasts does put people on the spot (certainly before the fun begins you can warn them so if they are really uncomfortable, they can escape to the restroom or bar) but it can also be a lot of fun. Getting people when they least expect it and then asking them to remember something funny or meaningful about the bride and groom can result in interesting, funny and truthful results.
You might also decide that one person at each table be required to give a toast.
Number the tables and at various intervals, have the MC or DJ call a number, which will require guests at that table to decide amongst themselves who will give the toast at that table. Certainly, more than one person can if they like, but there will likely be at least one ham at each table who will enjoy standing up and toasting the newlyweds.
Say you have plenty of public speakers in the group, and finding willing toast participants won’t be a problem. But you think the subject matter might be. There’s an easy solution to this problem. You can provide open-ended topics for the toast speakers. Say you are providing an “open mike” toast arrangement, where anyone can request the microphone and offer a toast. The DJ, MC or someone else in the wedding party (perhaps the maid of honor or best man) can offer the speaker a surprise topic, which might be pulled from a champagne flute or drawn out of the floral arrangement on the head table. There might be slips of paper to choose or just one sheet of paper with several ideas.
The speaker might choose to finish this sentence, “I remember when (groom’s name here) was a little boy, he always …” or answer this question, “When was (insert bride’s name here) at her silliest? Tell us the story”. You might have to give each speaker a minute or two to collect their thoughts, but you’re sure to have some interesting stories, some unique anecdotes and some different perspectives on the bride and groom.
Wedding toasts can be a fun time or tear-jerking for everybody where individuals get the chance to celebrate the wedding couple.