Toasting: The concise guide!

(Print & give to the best man / maid of honor)

Toasting is an art that can be traced to the beginning of time itself. It was a practice during the Stuart period to put a piece of toast in a glass of wine, with the belief that improved the flavor of the wine (now that is too literal). The Greeks & Romans drank to their gods at ceremonies, and the members of the middle temple (in Great Britain) drank to the health of Princess Elizabeth by standing up one after another, pledging their loyalty, and swearing to die in her service. In other words, a toast is drinking to the health & happiness of the person/s we are honoring at the time of the toast!

First, if you were chosen to give the toast, then you are an important part of that event. If you are the best man or maid/matron of honor in a bridal party, or if you are the best friend to the guest of honor, you are expected to give a toast. It is an honor to have or be given the opportunity to give a toast. You must realize how much you mean to the couple or guest of honor you are toasting to. A few pointers on making a successful toast.........

  1. The Speaking in Public Part: Public speaking is the second biggest fear most people have. The reason - Your fear of ridicule from your audience, and perceived lack of ability to communicate effectively. Public speaking does not come naturally for most people, so this is your one and only major hurdle in the art of giving toasts. The truth is, if you screw up in front of 200 people, you look like a fool (in your own eyes) but most people will not care, infact when you screw up, own up to it and improvise. Some people look away from the crowd, some people cry while giving a toast, others compose their toast, and then read that from a piece of paper, and the ones who do not have a fear of public speaking, have pointers on a piece of paper, or make it up as they go and improvise their toast. No matter how you choose to deal with this responsibility, remember, you have to deal with it, by giving a toast.

  2. The Preparation & Ingredients of the Toast: I have always found it easier to write things down and follow a pattern that I am comfortable with. Start with a draft, write down all your ideas on a piece of paper, and then follow the format below. A concise short toast is better than a long winded toast.
    • Start with a Greeting (Thank every one for attending the ceremony, reception or both and thank all the professionals who made it possble).
    • Thank the Bride & Groom for giving you the opportunity to be with them and for giving you the honor of being the person in charge of the toast. Remember, you are important to the guests of honor, and therefore you have a responsibility to make their event memorable.
    • A Story or Anecdote relating to the guest of honor (Bride, Groom or both). Chances are that you have known the bride & groom or the guest of honor for a good period of time. You may use a funny story about how you met, your school or college days, your knowledge of how the bride & groom met, or any other funny story or anecdote relative to the event.
    • A wedding wish from you to them. It is fine to have funny stories, and anecdotes, but don't forget to make a wedding wish upon which you will base your toast. The wish may be a long and happy married life, lots of children, or just about any wish tasteful to the occasion. A good way to end is to wish them the very best before....
    • Raising the glasses of champage. Finally, don't forget to raise the glasses and drink to the health and happiness of the guest/s of honor "here, here."

  3. The Do Not List: These are some things I have seen some people do that would be tacky, insulting, or inappropriate.
    • Do not make any reference to ex-boyfriends or ex-grilfriends. Never, reminisce about the great times you had with a person's ex-partner, or how you thought that they made a great couple etc etc. That would be inappropriate and insulting to the new partner.
    • Never give specifics about the bachelor or bachelorette party. Never talk about the events that took place.
    • "Put downs" are bad. The guests/s of honor mean just that. This is their day, and you should treat it as such. It is not recomended to make fun or share embarrasing stories about the bride or groom.
    • Always be positive about the person/s you are making a toast to. I don't recommend saying things like "I hope they will make it", or "I hope they have better luck than the last time" (referring to an earlier wedding if this is a second or third marriage).
    • Never disclose your personal or private details if you were once a significant other to the person you are making a toast to. If indeed you were a significant other to the bride or groom, I recommend that you turn down the opportunity to be in the spotlight as the best man or maid of honor.
    • Never be drunk while making a toast. Having a few drinks is acceptable, but being drunk while making a toast is insulting to the guests of honor/newlyweds and their families.
    • Never turn down the use of a microphone. You want your audience to hear your toast, and be in agreement to your statements. Always, use a microphone, speak into the microphone and don't hold it away from your mouth.
    • Lastly, avoid profanity. There may be children and older people present. Respect your audience, or you will not be respected yourself.

  4. The Delivery & Timing of the toast:
    • Most times, you are informed when the toast is scheduled in the itinerary of the reception. I recommend delivering your toast right after the blessing for the meal (after people have taken a seat, and are ready for the meal).
    • Prior to finaly delivery, I would recommend going over your toast one last time, and calming your self down before the toast. Have a drink to calm down your nerves if you have an aversion to public speaking.
    • Get the attention of your audience and make sure the majority is listening to your toast.
    • Proceed with your toast, and make sure you don't make it too long.
    • Don't forget to raise the champagne glass, have the bride & groom kiss (if it is a wedding).......
    • Sit, and then enjoy your evening. The hard part is over.


The Order of toasts at a wedding reception:

  1. Toast to the Bride & Groom from the Best Man, Maid/Matron of Honor or both.
  2. Toast to the Bride & Groom from the Father of the Bride & word of thanks to the guests
  3. A General word of thanks from the Bride & Groom to the wedding party, parents & guests.
  4. Time for close friends or family members to make a couple of toasts.


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