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Wedding Toast Etiquette

Speech do's and don'ts

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Wedding toast & etiquetteIf this is the first time of giving a wedding toast for all three of the speakers then it's possible you don't know the correct format and etiquette of your wedding speeches. Who says what? Who thanks who? What order do you speak in? Some might consider these trivial matters but if you're one of the poor souls dreading the moment you're handed the microphone in front of a room full of expectant faces then fear no more. Here's a complete breakdown of the correct form and order of speakers and also which wedding toasts each speaker gives.

And if you're not a natural public speaker then check out our tips on how to deliver your wedding speech.

Wedding toasts are actually the final part of a wedding speech when the speaker will ask everyone to drink to the health of a certain person or people who are important on the big day for various reasons.

Wedding Toasts And Etiquette At A Glance...

1 Father of the bride

  • Thanks - Everyone for attending and the groom's parents for their help in organising the wedding.
  • Toast - "To absent friends."
  • Extras - As the first speaker the bride’s father, who traditionally is considered the host of the wedding, will welcome all the guests. Welcome the groom to his family and speak about the bride.

2 Groom

  • Thanks - The wedding party; bridesmaids groomsmen, ushers, pageboys, best man, mothers of the bride and groom.
  • Toast - "To the bridesmaids."
  • Extras - During the thank you’s the groom will present gifts to each member for the bridal party on behalf of himself and his new bride. It is also modern tradition for the mothers of the bride and groom to be presented with flowers.

See more advice and tips on writing an expert grooms speech here.

3 Best man

  • Thanks - The groom on behalf of the wedding party for his words and the gifts from the bride and groom.
  • Toast - "To the happy couple, Mr and Mrs..."
  • Extras - The best man will relay any messages on behalf of the couple or venue/wedding planner, and also to read any messages or well wishes from invited guests who weren’t able to attend on the day.
  • Oh… and also to comedically rip the groom to pieces in front of his nearest and dearest.

See more advice and tips on writing the ultimate best man's speech.

Others

It is becoming more common for there to be other speakers in the wedding party. This might include the chief bridesmaid, older relatives or the bride herself. This can be a great thing (unless you end up with 17 speeches when everyone really just wants to hit the dancefloor/bar/bathroom) however none of these speakers are required to make a formal toast at the end of their speech.

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Speech Roles

Father of the Bride

As well as fulfilling the role of host the father of the bride is an easier speech to give and act as warm up man to the other two to really provide the comedy. As an older head he will be calmer and hopefully a more assured speaker, welcoming everyone and using a few jokes to set everyone up ready for the best man.
Sometimes the father of the bride is a great raconteur who has a few good stories, on occasions the father's speech can go on a little long. If you are giving a speech aim for 7 minutes.

Groom

As well as fulfilling the role of host the father of the bride is an easier speech to give and act as warm up man to the other two to really provide the comedy. As an older head he will be calmer and hopefully a more assured speaker, welcoming everyone and using a few jokes to set everyone up ready for the best man.
Sometimes the father of the bride is a great raconteur who has a few good stories, on occasions the father's speech can go on a little long. If you are giving a speech aim for 7 minutes.

Best Man

The best man is the star act and provides all the comedy banter, most of it aimed at the fool who gave him a microphone and room full of people to bear witness to his humiliating character assassination performed by his best mate (we're not condoning this we're merely pointing out tradition and giving mention to modern etiquette).

The best man will often act as MC introducing each of the speakers and during his speech relay messages for those that couldn't make it.

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