Who Gives Wedding Toasts? Your Guide to Planning the Perfect Speeches
An essential element of your wedding reception is wedding toasts–when select friends and family members share words of love, encouragement, and sometimes humor with you and your guests. Wedding speeches can be one of the most beautiful parts of your wedding, or one of the most cringe-worthy, depending on how you prepare for this event. Follow our wedding toast guide to learn who gives wedding toasts, when they happen, and how to help your speakers make the moment wonderful.
Who Traditionally Gives Toasts at a Wedding?
Knowing who gives wedding toasts is the first step in planning the speeches at your wedding. Traditionally, these are the individuals asked to do the honor:
Parents (or family member) of the Bride (or Groom for same-sex couples)
Parents (or family member) of the Groom (or Bride for same-sex couples)
The maid/matron/man of honor
The best man/woman
While this is who gives wedding toasts traditionally, the lineup may look different for your wedding. For example, you may choose not to have a wedding party and therefore don’t have a best man or maid of honor. In that case, you and your partner can each select a close friend to share kind words on your behalf. Similarly, the father of the bride traditionally gives a wedding toast because he pays for the wedding. However, that’s not always the case anymore. If someone else significantly contributed to paying for your wedding, you may ask them if they’d like to share a few words.
Lastly, if your parents have passed, you can use the space where one would typically give a speech to honor their memory. Some ideas include playing their favorite song in their honor, taking a moment of silence in their remembrance, or having another family member share what your passed loved one would have said if they were there.
When Do Wedding Toasts Happen?
Traditionally, wedding toasts happen after dinner. In a sense, they cap off the more formal part of the evening and welcome the party. However, you can incorporate wedding speeches into your dinner to save time and get two wedding elements done simultaneously. Ask your first wedding speaker to start their toast halfway through dinner. Then, by the time it’s the couple’s turn to say a few words, dinner will be over, and the party can begin.
Planning the Perfect Wedding Toasts
Have you ever sat through long (or just plain bad!) wedding speeches? It can be pretty unbearable. Not everyone you ask to give a toast will be a great public speaker, and nerves can quickly turn a decent speech into a terrible toast. While you can’t control what someone will say, you can follow these wedding toasting tips to help plan the perfect speeches.
1. Ask Your Speakers Well in Advance
The more time someone has to plan what they’ll say during their toast, the better it will be. Rather than springing this request on someone days or weeks before the wedding, ask your speakers if they’d like to participate at least three months in advance. This not only gives them time to prepare, but it also gives you time to find a different speaker if someone declines.
2. Put a Time Limit on the Wedding Toasts
The golden rule for wedding toasts is to keep it under five minutes. It’s the perfect amount of time to share a sweet memory and well wishes, yet it’s short enough that guests won’t lose interest.
3. Plan the Order of Speeches
The more organized the wedding toasts are, the smoother they will go. Let each speaker know when they’ll be speaking ahead of time so that they can be ready. Your wedding planner can also help facilitate this to ensure each speaker is available when their time comes. At Epic Thyme, we organize speeches to alternate from one side to the next, so there aren’t three speeches in a row about one partner. By alternating, family and friends from both sides get to rave about their loved one equally.
4. Use a Microphone
Someone’s wedding toast may be wonderful, but it doesn’t matter if nobody or only a handful of people can hear it. Use a microphone if you’re having a large wedding or an outdoor reception, where wind and background noise can become an issue. That way, everyone can hear the toasts and engage in the celebration.
Writing the Perfect Wedding Toasts
Feel free to pass these wedding toasting tips along to the appropriate guests. By following these steps, you and they can ensure the speeches are unforgettable (in a good way!).
1. Introduce Yourself
Not everyone at a wedding knows each other, so it’s important to start a wedding toast with a short introduction. Say who you are, your role in the wedding (if you have one), and how you know the couple: “My name is Kara, and I’m the maid of honor and best friend of the bride and groom.”
2. Tell a Story
The perfect wedding toast story is short, sweet, and easy to follow. Guests shouldn’t need to know too much background information to enjoy the anecdote. It’s also important that the story holds relevance to the rest of the speech. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Share your favorite memory of the couple.
Share a story from childhood if you knew the couple (or one of them) growing up.
Share what the bride told you when she came back from her first date with her now spouse (or vice versa!).
3. Add Humor Naturally or Not at All
No joke at all is better than a bad one or an inside joke that not all guests can enjoy. If you want to add humor to your speech, do so naturally without the pressure of trying to be funny. A wedding toast doesn’t need to be a comedy show.
4. Address the Couple with Love
As you wrap up your speech, address the couple and share your well-wishes for their future. Even if you know one of them better than the other, it’s important to address them together, as their life is now one.
5. Don’t Forget to Toast
The final aspect of your wedding speech is asking everyone to raise their glass and toast the couple together! It’s a group effort, so don’t forget this essential aspect.
Epic Thyme’s Golden Rule for the Perfect Wedding Toasts
At Epic Thyme, we’ve planned and attended enough weddings to know what makes the wedding toasts one of the best elements of the entire celebration. It’s the 5/5 rule: 5 toasts max at 5 minutes each MAX!
As your expert Lake Tahoe wedding planners, we can help ensure your wedding speeches happen at the perfect time and go off without a hitch. We can also help you decide who gives wedding toasts and answer any questions you have about writing them. While we can’t control what people will say, we will keep the night running smoothly, so you can enjoy the evening with less stress. To learn more about how we help your wedding go as perfectly as possible, check out our full-service wedding planning package for your dream Lake Tahoe wedding.