Google+ Southern Etiquette: Giving a Wedding Toast - Southern Weddings

Southern Weddings

Ahh, the wedding toast. In my experience, toasts are either the absolute best and most-memorable part of a wedding (right up there with the vows!), or the worst and most awkward (yikes). Just like most brides have never planned a wedding before, many of your nearest and dearest will have never had occasion to give a toast, so we thought we’d offer up a few etiquette guidelines and a handy dandy cheat sheet of our best toasting tips!

Vitalic Photo via Southern Weddings

Who speaks?
The mic at the wedding is reserved for your VIPs; the rehearsal dinner is a better option for cousins and friends.

In what order do they speak?
Traditionally the host of the evening (usually the father of the bride) kicks things off by welcoming guests and offering a few words. His toast is followed by the best man’s and maid of honor’s. If you have siblings or non-hosting parents that would like to speak, they would go next. To end, it’s nice to wrap things up and direct guests towards the next activity. The father of the bride could step back in and do this, or the groom could say a few words. The bride traditionally does not speak, but many now choose to speak along with their new husbands, or independently.

When do they speak?
Unfortunately (maybe due to a few bad experiences?), many guests dread the toasting portion of the evening, so it’s important to make sure that toasts fit into the overall flow of the evening. For a seated dinner, we recommend having the father of the bride speak before the first course, the best man and maid of honor before the second course, and the bride and groom as the meal is concluding but before guests have gotten up from their seats. For a buffet dinner, it’s best to catch everyone’s attention just after guests have entered the reception space from cocktail hour. You could then do all toasts consecutively, or save half for later, right before or after the bride and groom cut the cake.

Do we need to pour everyone champagne?
No, ma’am! Just asking guests to raise a glass of whatever is in their hands is perfectly appropriate.

Stephen Devries via Southern Weddings

Now, as promised, our top ten tips for toasting!

Do you have anything to add to our list? What made the best toast you’ve ever heard so great? Brides, are you planning to speak at your own wedding? Comment below and let us know!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Madelynne Moulton reply

    Nice pic! :) Corey didn’t realize there was a cover you had to remove first… we aren’t champagne people! I’m a crier –

    • avatar Nicole reply

      Madelynne, that’s hilarious! I love that photo of y’all.

  2. avatar Annie reply

    I think so many people forget about #7–Speak to both the bride and groom. I can only think of a couple of wedding toasts I’ve heard that give major shoutouts to the couple, not just the bride or groom.

    Also, I am in full favor for breaking up the toasts. At one wedding my parents went to, they stood around for an hour listening to toasts by every member of the wedding party (at least ten people) and the bride’s father before dinner was served. My mom was ready to pass out.

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  10. avatar Miss Deena reply

    I just wanted to point out that the word about is misspelled in the Ten Tips for Toasting. I was so impressed with the way everything looked on this page and I thought you might like to know.

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