There are a million right ways to execute a toast at a wedding reception. There is a time and place for everything and scheduling your toasts at the natural points in your wedding reception can personalize the evening beyond the abilities of the Master of Ceremonies. My first and most important guideline is do NOT force a person to toast. A nervous toastmaster will say something that doesn’t sound right or will be too nervous to be impactful. So offer to the respective people the opportunity weeks ahead of time, encouraging them to toast, but stopping short of forcing it.
The trend for some families is to toast at the rehearsal dinner and not the wedding reception. My take is, why not both. The wedding reception IS the super bowl of the event, so it makes sense that the traditional toast happen there maybe in a more formal and scaled back delivery style than the rehearsal dinner toasts.
Here are the traditional toastmasters and where they should occur 90% of the time:
- Parents of the Couple (Preferably Father of the Bride): Leading into dinner as host, if this is the case, welcoming and thanking all in attendance. NOTE: I think it’s classy when the parent introduces any clergy that may be blessing the meal.
- Best Man/Men and Maid/Matron(s) of Honor: As Dinner is concluding.
- Bride or Groom: A very classy move, to conclude the Best Man or Maid of Honor toast, thanking everyone for their support in the past, present, and future.
- Bridesmaids and Groomsmen: Always have a toast ready to go just in the event you are asked to say something.
- “Family Spokesperson”: We all have this person in our family, use your discretion, place them after the Best Man and Maid of Honor
- Grandparents: Do Not hesitate if they ask to say something, get them a mic.
- Kids, Cousin Eddie, Uncles, Aunts, Friends, and everyone else: Should listen attentively to the guest who may be toasting. NOTE: I strongly discourage open mic situations at a wedding, but it can be a very cool thing with certain families and small groups.
I will try and cover what to say for each category in other posts. The trend is that guests at a wedding reception really don’t make long toasts. I think short and sweet is good, but have heard my fair share of well thought out toasts and they can be really creative and awesome! Never, NEVER forget to conclude a toast with “Please join me in raising your glass in a toast…”!!!