The Definitive Guide to Wedding Toasts

Good or bad, wedding toasts go down in history. Here's how to make sure yours are of the former (and not the later) category

Updated 03/11/17

Toasts can be the best part of a wedding reception, or they can be the worst part. The great wedding toasts are truly memorable, bring tears to guests’ eyes and are talked about for days after the event. The bad ones? Well, those go down in history, can be embarrassing and uncomfortable — or might just be downright boring. Want to make sure your wedding toasts fall in the former camp? Here are some key tips from our experts to make sure those speeches are everything you wanted!

Who Speaks?

Wedding toasts are usually given by three important parties: The hosts, the maid of honor and best man and the couple themselves. If the parents of the bride are hosting, they’ll give a speech at the reception, while the parents of the groom will usually speak at the rehearsal dinner (particularly if they are hosting that event). Alternately, the parents of the groom may speak during the reception as well.

When Should They Speak?

The order and timing of toasts can vary widely. Often, the father of the bride or the hosts of the event will give a toast as soon as guests have seated for dinner, thanking them for attending and congratulating the newlyweds. This will be followed by the best man and maid of honor, who may speak immediately following the hosts or later during dinner service. The final toast is by the newlyweds, who again can immediately follow the best man and maid of honor, or who can choose to save their toast until the end of the meal, concluding their toast with an invitation to the dance floor!

If the parents of the groom are planning to speak during the reception, their toast should occur after the parents of the bride, before the maid of honor and best man.

How Long Are They?

Great toasts are usually around five minutes long -- enough time to share a few sweet memories or sentiments, but not so long that guests lose interest.

What Should Toasts Include?

The key features of a toast are congratulations to the newlyweds, thanks to the hosts and acknowledgement of the guests in some way. Personal stories about the couple are always welcome, as long as they are in good taste (so no wild stories from the bachelor party or mention of exes!). And of course, don’t forget to speak to both halves of the couple, even if you know one much better than the other.

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