Weddings are a joyous occasion and often celebratory events that bring people together to celebrate the new beginnings in the life of two individuals.
A wedding toast is a speech given to congratulate the bride and groom. Unfortunately, it's usually said by someone who has personal ties with the couple, so it can be difficult to know where to start writing your own. However, there are plenty of tips and examples out there that can help you craft a perfect one for any occasion.
One major aspect is the wedding toast, a speech given by friends or family members which generally contains words of wisdom, advice, memories shared with the bride and groom, and well wishes for their future.
The best thing about writing your own toast is that you can tailor it to whatever feels right to you as an individual writer! There's no wrong way to write one because they're all beautiful in their own ways.
Writing a wedding toast can be a daunting task. So how do you strike the right balance between humour and seriousness? What are some tips for writing your best wedding toast ever?
Whether you're speaking at the rehearsal dinner or waiting until after the ceremony to deliver your speech, we have everything you need to make it perfect!
We hope this blog post helps you on your journey towards writing your perfect toast!
Wedding Toast Template
Your wedding toast should be meaningful but not drawn out. Make sure to have a beginning, middle, and end.
Don't count on your phone, which may lock or turn off mid-speech. Instead, please print out your toast or put it on note cards for reference. It's your moment to have the floor, so don't risk forgetting your point!
Writing just the right wedding toast doesn't have to be hard; you have to know what you're doing.
While writing a wedding toast should be a bit more fun than writing a school paper, you might consider starting out the same way—by creating an outline. Here's how to format your wedding toast, from start to finish.
While everyone's speech will be unique to them and their relationship with the couple, we outline a general to help you get started.
1. Congratulate the couple
Express how happy you are that the two of them are getting married and what it means to you to witness it.
First, a few words about the toast itself. The wedding toast is an opportunity to offer your congratulations to the newlyweds by shining a light on what makes their relationship so special.
2. Introduce yourself
Not everyone will know you met the groom at the fourth-grade space camp, so be sure to let the guests know your relationship with the couple before you dive into your speech.
Briefly explain who you are and how you know the couple, so everyone understands why you were chosen to speak.
3. The Gratitude
When in doubt, thank! You'll never regret adding a thank you, but you will regret forgetting one. If you're a member of the bridal party, we suggest thanking your hosts. If you're one of the hosts, thank your guests for their love, support, and attendance on your special day.
Let the bride and groom and the wedding guests know how you feel about being included in the wedding day. Are you honoured? Excited? Delighted? Why do you feel that way? Also, consider thanking the wedding hosts for a beautiful day.
4. Tell a (curated) story
When you're writing your speech, choose anecdotes that all fit a theme and support your argument. The theme will help tie it together, making your toast feel intentional instead of random.
Talk about your relationship with the bride or groom. Use one to three short anecdotes that illustrate who that person is to you. Then sing their new partner's praises and share why you think the two are a good match.
Explain your relationship to the bride or groom and even throw in your favourite story about him or her or the couple. This is where you'll start to bring in your personality. Are you naturally humorous? Do you have a knack for heartwarming stories?
As you plan your story, think about how you want your audience to feel as you're delivering it. For example, is it meant to be funny? Or sweet? This will help you know exactly what to say and how to say it.
5. Address both partners
You may not know them both well, but you shouldn’t focus all of your attention on your friend and ignore their new spouse. Even if you’ve only met your friend’s husband once or twice before, find a way to include him in your toast.
Tell the story of their engagement or share something your friend told you about him that proves what a great partner he is.
A great wedding toast explains how the bride and groom complement each other. What was the bride or groom like before they met each other? And then how did their new partner enhance their life?
6. Go for the crowd-pleasers
You have two audiences for your toast: the bride and groom and the wedding guests. So, to deliver a crowd-pleasing, they'll-tell-you-all-night-how-great-your-speech-was toast, keep both in mind.
Anything that's an inside joke may have been funny at the time, but no one else will understand what you're talking about. So run your stories and jokes by a neutral audience to see if they are as funny as you think. And remember, a little humour is fine, but this is a toast, not a roast!
Guests want to be entertained as you help them know the newly-married couple deeper and perhaps different. In addition, the bride and groom hope you convey the sentiment and emotion of why they make a perfect match.
7. The Closing
Detail your wishes for their future or any advice you want to share, and then raise your champagne glass and toast to the happy couple before heading off the dance floor.
8. Raise your glass for a toast
To wrap up your speech, invite everyone to raise their glass to the couple, or to love, etc., then cheer glasses together and take a sip.
The Basics of Giving a Wedding Toast
One of the hardest parts of writing a wedding toast is getting started. So here are the most important dos and don'ts, straight from the pros.
1. Do keep it concise
You do not need to say things like, 'For those of you who don't know me'. Instead, state your name, role, and relation to the couple. Given that your toast should only be two to five minutes long, you'll want to get straight to the point.
Here's an example introduction: "Hi everyone! I'm Jessica Davis, the maid of honour, and I've known this beautiful bride since we met at summer camp back in middle school."
2. Do be honest
Worried about your public speaking nerves or your tendency to shed a bit more tears than the room might be ready for? The best way to diffuse the situation and create humour out of it is to be upfront. Your honesty lets the other guests see every shake and voice crack as a testament to the magnitude of your affection for the person you're speaking about.
A best man, for example, added this line at the beginning of his speech: So if I pass out, all I ask is that someone drags me back to my table in time for cake.
3. Do prepare
You should actually write out your speech, practice it several times out loud, and bring it with you. No matter how strong a public speaker you are, don't go into the wedding with plans to 'wing it'.
It's also more than okay to read your typed or handwritten toast at the event. A wedding speech isn't a TED talk or a Broadway show.
The audience doesn't have any expectation of memorization. You don't lose a single point going up there, speech in hand. Ideally, after practising out loud, your speech will be pretty darn near memorized, which will allow you to use your written speech as a guide without reading it straight off the page.
4. Do be specific
The golden rule of all creative writing: show, don't tell. Keep that in mind as you prepare your speech. Detailed examples are key here. Don't just tell us the groom loves the bride 'so much.' Give us indisputable evidence.
Example: I wrote a speech for a maid of honour who told me that the groom slept with an EpiPen under his pillow because he's violently allergic to cats, and the bride has three of them. That's love.
5. Do make sure they can hear you
If people can't hear you clearly, they won't react to what you say. No reaction means no laughter, and you'll be distracted wondering why all your jokes are falling flat. Fortunately, this can all be avoided by opening one simple line: "Can everybody hear me?"
6. Don't tell too many inside jokes
While you and the bride or groom might get a kick out of your quips, it might be a bit uncomfortable if none of the couple's family members or friends can follow along. So design a speech that everyone can enjoy.
Inside jokes exclude the majority of guests. Instead, opt for stories that are inclusive for the biggest impact.
On the other hand, inside jokes can paint a highly personal picture of the bride or groom. So if you do include personal references, make sure they don't go over anyone's head by adding in a word or two of explanation.
Make sure every guest can follow every joke and every story. Imagine listening to your speech if you were someone's plus one or aunt.
7. Don't bring up past planning stressors
Any tough moments or emotional decisions leading up to the wedding day? Don't mention them, even if you think everyone might laugh about it now. Couples work so hard to make their wedding day happen.
Wedding Toast Tips
1. Just get started
It's your big moment, but figuring out where to start can be tough. When we work with our clients, we always start with a stream of consciousness. So we ask them to start telling us stories. You might not think every anecdote is important, but all of a sudden, you'll land on a real gem.
2. Start writing things down
When you're doing this at home on your own, start writing stuff down. Then, put it all down on paper. Don't worry about editing as you're writing; get it out and then go back and pick and choose details when you're done. This will help you identify a theme, which you'll need to make your toast memorable.
3. Use examples
If you're trying to make a point about the bride's personality—say that she's particularly loyal—don't just say that and move on.
Instead, pick a specific moment that proves your point. Then, have something to back it up! Including some proof will make sure your listeners really buy what you're saying about the couple.
4. Make it quick
The best length for a toast is about three minutes. It’s enough time to say what you need to say, but short enough that you’ll still have everyone’s attention when you ask them to raise their glasses to toast the happy couple.
Think you know what three minutes feel like? Think again. Practice reading your speech out loud (not in your head!) and time yourself. Don’t wing it, especially if you’re nervous. Give yourself time to prepare. Practice with an audience to check your timing, and give yourself time to make edits.
6. Don't overstuff your speech
If you’re a fast talker, try to slow yourself down so everyone will understand you. Better to cut a few lines than to try to fit a 10-minute toast into a three-minute time frame!
7. Keep it clean-ish
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to know your audience. Cursing and stories about exes are totally off-limits.
8. Don't embarrass the couple
Ask yourself how each story will present the couple. If it sheds any negative light on either person, avoid it. Think about how close you are with the family, as well as who you know will be there. Will it make the groom’s great aunt uncomfortable?
Now that you know the basics, here are a few questions to ask yourself to help you get started writing that killer wedding toast.
- What is your first memory of the bride/groom?
- What is your favourite memory of the bride/groom?
- What did they say when they first told you about their partner?
- How did you know they were meant to be?
- What has the bride/groom or the couple as a whole taught you?
- What qualities do you admire in them?
- When are times when they displayed these qualities?
Writing Prompts from the Pros
Feeling stuck for what to say as the big day approaches? No worries. Even if you've known the happy couple since birth (or you literally birthed one of them yourself), it can be tricky to get your thoughts down on paper.
- What makes you grateful for your friendship?
- What qualities do they have that you don't?
- What was the most fun time you've had together?
- What was the worst vacation you two took together? What went wrong, and how did they react?
- What are your wishes for their future?
- What do you believe is the key to a happy marriage?
- Why do you think this couple will have a successful marriage?
- What does each partner bring out in the other?
- What does true love mean to you, and how do you feel this couple shares that?
- How did you first meet?
- What bonded you as friends?
- Is the bride or groom a crazy super-fan of anyone or anything?
- When did you first hear about your loved one's future spouse?
- What was the first time you met their partner like, and what was the couple like together?
- For siblings and parents, what was the bride or groom like as a kid?
Wedding Toast Quotes to Borrow
If you're thinking of adding quotes to your wedding speech, it's good to keep in mind that the couple wants to hear from you...not a Grey's Anatomy character.
If you still feel like you need a little extra help, though, it can't hurt to include a love quote or two, so long as it's relevant to the couple and illustrates the greater message you're trying to share about who the pair is. If you include a quote, it's best to have it feel as if there's a reason it's there.
Some favourite examples: Referencing a particularly relevant line from a song by a band that's significant to the couple or including a religious quote if faith is important to them.
Here are a few more ideas that anyone from the father of the bride to the best friend to snag for a toast on the couple's special day.
- "When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible." - Harry Burns, When Harry Met Sally
- "Love isn't something you find. Love is something that finds you." - Loretta Young
- "A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person." - Mignon McLaughlin
- "What's meant to be will always find a way." - Trisha Yearwood
- "I don't want to sound foolish, but remember love is what brought you here. And if you've trusted love this far, don't panic now. Trust it all the way." - Sharon Rivers, If Beale Street Could Talk
- "May this marriage be full of laughter, our every day in paradise." - Rumi
- "A good marriage is a contest of generosity." - Diane Sawyer
- "I love you very much, probably more than anybody could love another person." - Henry Roth, "50 First Dates"
- "With a love like that. You know you should be glad." - The Beatles
- "Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses." -Ann Landers
- "How wonderful life is while you're in the world." - Elton John
- "Look, in my opinion, the best thing you can do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you. The right person is still going to think the sun shines out of your ass." - Mac MacGuff, Juno
- "Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies." - Aristotle
- "I think I'd miss you even if we'd never met." - Nick Mercer, The Wedding Date
- "A good marriage is one where each partner secretly suspects they got the better deal." - Anonymous
- "Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength while loving someone deeply gives you courage." - Lao Tzu
- "You are my sun, my moon, and all my stars." - E.E. Cummings
- "For true love is inexhaustible; the more you give, the more you have." - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Frequently Asked Questions
Some people tap their glass on the bar as a quiet tribute to absent friends and comrades. In Ireland, it was believed that liquor contained spirits that might be harmful if consumed, and tapping the glass dispelled those spirits. ... Some believe that you cheers to the future, but a tap on the bar acknowledges the past.
When it comes to color choices, navy is the number-one most requested color for the mothers of the bride and groom. Other popular colors include blush and shades of nude. Traditionally, you want to avoid white, black and red.
While this speech has traditionally been given at rehearsal dinners, it's not unusual for the mother of the groom to speak at the wedding reception, either. If you're struggling to put words on paper to express the joy, happiness, and love you have for your son, you're not alone.
Toast in its "drinking" senses originates in the practice of immersing browned or charred spiced bread in a drink, and after wishes of goodwill or health or other complimentary words are said about a person or persons (for example, newlyweds) in honor or celebration, the cups of wine, ale, etc
The groom proceeds to walk down the aisle accompanied by their parents, with his father on the left and his mother on the right. The Bridesmaids: The bridesmaids then proceed in pairs, starting with those standing farthest from the bride. The Maid or Matron of Honor: The bride's right-hand woman walks alone.