Wedding toasts are a tradition that many couples look forward to as their closest friends and family members share memorable and endearing stories to celebrate their matrimony. For many, toasts are either humorous, sentimental, or—preferably—both.
However, the microphone shouldn’t be just handed over to anybody who feels like sharing their thoughts. Wedding toasts are traditionally expected from important members of the wedding party, and sometimes, other people the bride and groom select well in advance. In fact, toasts given at the reception usually follow a structure, and a timeline, to keep everyone on track.
If you’re a couple wondering who to ask or if you’re curious if you should be on that list, these are the people who should be giving a wedding toast.
Traditionally, the best man is the one to give the first toast. Some people even only allow the best man to give a toast, as that’s how it was done in the past.
Either way, he should take the stage shortly after everyone has found their seats and deliver a welcome message to the guests. His speech should congratulate the couple on their marriage, wish them a lifetime of happiness, and hopefully, providing a few good laughs along the way without being too inappropriate.
Maid of Honor
Although it hasn’t always been traditional for the maid of honor to make a speech, it’s a very popular option that many brides look forward to! After all, why let the men have all the fun?
The maid of honor’s speech is usually similar to the best man’s, offering fun stories about the bride, and their relationship. Both speeches should be insightful and fun, but not too long.
Parents of the Bride
It’s common for the parents of the bride to congratulate their daughter and new son-in-law because, traditionally, her parents are the ones who have paid for the wedding. This makes it their job to host, welcome everyone, and thank them for attending. It’s also traditional for the father of the bride to speak before the mother, if she makes a toast at all.
Since many couples these days will pay for the wedding together, this isn’t as important of a tradition. However, if you still want it, the mother and father can stand up together to give a toast or they can take turns with separate speeches.
Parents of the Groom
The groom’s parents might want to make a toast as well, to congratulate their son and new daughter-in-law on their marriage. This isn’t necessarily tradition, so it’s up to the couple if they want to request it or allow it. If you do decide to give both sets of parents time with the microphone to make toasts, you might want to limit the time each person has. Otherwise, the toasts could take all night and guests will get antsy.
Bride and Groom
Although they can’t technically toast themselves, many couples like to share a few nice words with their guests before moving on to the reception dinner. You can decide to write a speech together where you also thank everyone for coming, as well as your parents for their support and love. However, you can choose to give separate speeches or just have one person talk.
In most cases, the couple will end their speech by professing their love for one another one more time before passing the microphone back to the host, whether that’s one of their parents or the best man.
Of course, it’s up to the bride and groom if they want someone else to give a toast. This could be a grandparents, a step-parent, or another person who has played a significant role in their life.
Who Shouldn’t Give a Toast
Most weddings offer plenty of liquor, which often gives guests liquid courage and the bright idea to toast the couple without permission. This can be disastrous, which is why the DJ should be instructed not to let anyone have the microphone who has not been cleared.
Also, if someone who was supposed to give a speech has a bit too much to drink before their turn, it might be a good idea to skip them. Drunken wedding toasts are often embarrassing and incoherent.
No Toasts at All
Some people might decide not to do any toasts at the reception. Speeches can be time consuming, and as thoughtful as they are, a lot of guests would rather just get right to eating and dancing. If you’re looking at your timeline and feel like it’s best to cut them out, don’t be afraid to let everyone know. Although toasts have been tradition at weddings for a long time, there are no set rules that say you absolutely have to have them. This is your special day and you have the final say.
However, if toasts are important to you, and you’re not sure you want them at the reception, you can choose to just do toasts at the rehearsal dinner instead.