Wedding Toast Etiquette

Rules and Expectations of Wedding Speeches

Wedding toasts are one of your reception’s most exciting traditions. While the rules are not set in stone, in general, the Best Man toasts first, followed by the Maid or Matron of Honor, then the Parents of the Bride, and, optionally, the Parents of the Groom. After everyone is finished, the couple should give their thanks to the crowd.

If your parents are hosting the affair, it’s not required that the grooms’ parents speak, and if it’s going to be the source of contention, it’s smarter to avoid it. “It’s really up to you as a couple,” says Danielle Bobish of Curtain Up Events in New York City. “Sometimes just your dad speaks and Mom stands by his side.”

In today’s world, more couples are paying for weddings themselves. When that’s the case, you are perfectly entitled to give one toast together, and leave it at that. Bobish suggests that you wait until everyone is seated before you start the toasts, and to spread them out. “If you’re having a three-course meal, the Best Man and Maid of Honor can toast during the first course, and so on.”

If you’re worried about excessive toasts, or uncalled-for announcements, tell the band leader or DJ. They are under no requirement to hand the microphone over to anyone, let alone a drunken reveler. Should that happen, allow the person to speak for a few minutes then have someone graciously take the microphone from him.

Advise your guests to keep toasts to a minimum of five minutes, and tell them to rehearse. Nerves creep up when you least expect it. It’s perfectly fine to write the toast on a note card. While it’s fine to make jokes during a toast, anything raunchy should be left to a more appropriate occasion, such as a bachelor party. This is your wedding celebration, not your wedding roast.

Check Out When to Toast and When to Roast
Check Out Reception Rituals from Around the World
Check Out Preparing for the Speeches