How should you end your wedding speech? Bearing in mind that a wedding ‘speech’ is formally a ‘toast’, it’s surprising how rarely we are asked who toasts who at the end of each wedding speech. A ‘toast’ is, of course, a moment when you ask the guests to raise their glasses to acknowledge one or more special people in the room. This is where it starts to get complicated with wedding toasts!
The Traditional Wedding Toasts
- Traditionally the father of the bride speech includes a toast to the happy couple.
- The groom responds on behalf of his wife and toasts the bridesmaids.
- The best man replies on behalf of the bridesmaids and toasts the happy couple.
Times Are Changing
Clearly, the format and intricacies of weddings have changed drastically over the years. Wedding toasts have developed into speeches, and the rules for those speeches have become much more flexible.
Quite rightly, other people are taking to the mic’ and joining in. If you are inviting guests and other members of the wedding party to speak, we suggest you are as clear as possible about what you’d like them to cover and who you would like them to thank. You don’t want endless repetition; this isn’t the Oscars.
Alternative Wedding Toasts
- Guests can toast their hosts for their wonderful hospitality.
- Mother of the bride speeches can include a toast to friends and family.
- A bride speech can include a toast to her husband.
- A groom speech can include a toast to his wife.
- There’s also an argument for toasting ‘Absent Friends’.
How to Give an Unforgettable Wedding Toast
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I ask you to be upstanding and raise your glass to [insert person here].”
This ticks the box, but if you’ve given a stirring speech balancing heartfelt emotion and perfectly judged humour, it’s not really a fitting climax. It sounds more like a toast from a Livery function. As ever, we’d suggest a more modern and relevant form of words like:
“Please raise your glass to a long, happy and healthy future for [insert bride and groom’s names here].”
“Please raise your glass to the most important people in the room… friends and family.”
Finally, please make sure you use the names of members of the wedding party during any wedding toasts, not just their titles. “Thanks to our hosts for their hospitality” or “Here’s to the bride and groom” is terribly impersonal. Thanking “Sue and Jeff” is much warmer and more genuine.
Guest post by Lawrence Bernstein of Great Speech Writing
Best Man Toast: Lara Hotz Photography
Groom Toast: James Andrew Photography