Browse our wedding toasts and speeches guide and ensure your words leave a memorable impression.
Raise a glass—now’s the time to toast to the happy couple! Wedding toasts and speeches can sometimes cause anxiety - but don’t let them. Enjoy your moment in the limelight, and make the most of these situations with wedding speech some prep work.
Your best man, maid of honor and other special guests may inquire about appropriate speaking times—so it’s good to have an idea beforehand. You and your fiance may also want to prepare some expressions of gratitude for your parents, your guests or each other. Every wedding is different; discuss and layout a general “toasting timeline” before the celebrations begin.
Who Toasts at a Wedding?
Traditionally the best man, maid-of-honor and parents of the bride and groom will say something over the course of events. However, close friends, the bride and groom themselves or anyone who has something to say is welcome to make a toast.
When to Make a Wedding Speech?
When to toast all depends on the nature of your wedding. If yours will be a cocktail or buffet-style reception, your guests may not ever be gathered at the same place and time to listen to toasts. Another option is to hold the formal wedding toasts, such as the best man’s speech, during the rehearsal dinner instead. At a seated dinner, the father of the bride traditionally toasts to commence the meal. Your caterer can arrange an official champagne toast, passing glasses of champagne to each guest prior to the best man speech or the father of the bride. Toasts can really occur at any time during the reception - between courses, after the meal, during the cake cutting etc. Try to give your event coordinator an estimated timeframe beforehand, so he or she can round up your guests to listen.
How to Respond to Wedding Toasts
Everyone should rise for toasts to the new couple except the bride and groom, who remain seated (unless they already happen to be standing). When someone toasts the bride and groom, they should smile and say thank you. They should not clap or drink to themselves. If a toast addresses the bride only, the groom should rise. If a toast is directed towards the parents or any other guest, both the bride and groom should rise.
When the Newlyweds Toast
This is a wonderful opportunity to publicly recognize your family and friends for their love and support. If the bride and groom make a toast, they should not speak in unison (this sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised…). They should instead stand together while one speaks or take turns speaking.
What to Say in a Wedding Toast
Wedding toasts should be light, fun and G-rated. Avoid saying anything you wouldn’t say to the bride’s grandmother’s face. Be succinct. There is nothing more awkward than a rambling, bumbling best man speech - under two minutes is perfect. All speakers should begin by introducing themselves. While toasts should include memories or funny anecdotes, avoid too many inside jokes that exclude the majority of guests. Your jokes will be met with silence if only a few listeners understand! Finally, wedding toasts should mention both the bride and the groom, even if the speaker only knows one or the other. And if the spotlight is on you and you’re suddenly at a loss for words, try the old standby, “I’m so happy for you two. Cheers!” It never goes out of style.
How to Say It
It’s smart to prepare beforehand, but always try to speak from the heart. Reading from a card seems insincere and awkward.