Wedding Toasts: Who, What and When

June 8, 2020
Wedding Toasts: Who, What and When

Wedding toasts are some of the most memorable moments during wedding weekend celebrations. With so many guests of honor, who speaks when and what event? From rehearsal dinners and welcome receptions to wedding receptions and farewell brunches, there are numerous events to think through. That’s why we’re here to share the traditional rules behind toasts, plus some modern takes, too!

Engagement Party

Who: Father of the Bride and/or Host

Break the Rules: It is becoming more common for both sets of parents to give toasts at the engagement party! This is a special time for you and your families, so we’re totally on board with the more toasts, the merrier!

When: Toasts should occur toward the beginning of the evening. However, we think it’s important to give a 15-30 minute buffer to allow guests who may be arriving a little tardy.

What: Don’t overthink this toast! If your dad is nervous, tell him that a simple congratulations, short and sweet wish for future happiness, and a quick thanks to family and friends for coming.

Photos by: Fran Ze Photographyfeatured in RMB Montana 2018

Rehearsal Dinner

Who: Father of the Groom (or parents), Open Mic

When: If you’re following tradition, the groom’s parents will be the hosts of the rehearsal dinner so it is only fitting that the father of the groom will be the first to raise his glass to the happy couple. A great time for this is when guests are first seated for dinner.

What: The toast doesn’t need to be anything wild and crazy, your guests will be hungry, after all. The father of the groom may consider a brief welcome for all those who traveled to celebrate his son and future daughter in law followed by a short blessing.

Additional Toasts: If wedding party attendants or other close friends wishes to give a toast, other appropriate times to interrupt the meal would be before or after dessert. Depending on how formal the event is will impact how much time you have for additional speeches and when they should take place.

Tip: Instead of an open mic, consider organizing who will speak or ask people in advance if they wish to give a toast. 

Photos by: Trevor Hooper Photographyfeatured in the upcoming Park City Wedding Guide

Wedding Reception

Who: Father of the Bride (or parents), Best Man, Maid of Honor, and the Couple

When: Traditionally the hosts of the wedding give the first toast of the evening. This can be the father of the bride or both parents. This toast should be given immediately after guests take their seats. If you’re hosting a same-sex wedding, the couple can decide together who will give this toast to kick off the evening.

Typically the best man will then give his speech after the first course is plated. You can work with your wedding planner and/or DJ to determine the best time to do these. If you have a DJ, this is helpful because they can get the crowd’s attention. The maid of honor should follow the best man. And lastly, if you as a couple wish to speak, you would follow your best man and maid of honor.

What: Keep toasts short and sweet. Three to five minutes is the sweet spot. Remember, your guests are itching to enjoy the food, drinks, and dancing just as much as you! Follow our tips below for a toast to remember.

If you and your new spouse plan to give a toast, don’t overthink it! Thank your guests, parents, and wedding party for celebrating the beginning of your beautiful new journey with you.

Photos by: Just West Cofeatured in RMB New Mexico 2018


Be short and sweet.

No one wants to sit and listen to a 20-minute

speech on your entire relationship with the bride or groom. Guests want to enjoy cocktails, food, and dancing just as much as you! Try to keep your toast less than 5 minutes in length.

Keep it classy!

Inside jokes should be kept as just that. While the bride or groom may laugh along with a few select friends, this isn’t the time to bring those stories up. You’re not trying to embarrass the couple. Instead, shine a light on them with appropriate stories and compliments.

Be sincere.

A quote or two is nice, but be original and speak from the heart! Trust us, the bride and groom appreciate when your speech is more meaningful.

Practice makes perfect!

Even if you don’t get nervous ahead of public speaking, it is always a good idea to practice what you’re planning on saying…especially if you don’t plan on writing your speech down.

Although, bullet points are never a bad idea!

Don’t hit the bar…too hard!

We’ve all witnessed a drunk groomsman or bridesmaid give a speech and it’s not great! If you need to calm your nerves, grab a drink followed by water. Save the party for later! A few deep breaths never hurt anyone either!

While there certainly are traditions when it comes to giving wedding toasts, it’s okay to break the rules of tradition to do something that suits your wedding weekend better! Work with your soon-to-be spouse and wedding planner to determine the best game plan.

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