Susan Dunn

Article Summary:

Wedding toast etiquette guidelines.

Wedding Toast Etiquette

Getting married is such an exciting event. Emotions run high, but there’s also a lot of work to do, so it’s a good time to use our emotional intelligence.
Consider hiring a coach to help you manage it all and be an auxiliary "brain" so you can be freer to experience the moment. A coach can point you to many resources, help you keep it all organized, and lessen that "overwhelmed" feeling.

Break it into manageable pieces and as you take care of each item, you’ll gain momentum.


A suggested order for toasting during the Rehearsal Dinner is:

  • The best man toasts the bride
  • The bride toasts the groom
  • The groom toasts the bride’s mother
  • The bride’s father toasts the groom’s parents.

During the Reception, the order might be:

  • The best man toasts the bride and groom
  • The groom toasts the bride and her family;
  • The (two) father(s) toast the bride and groom
  • The bride and groom toast each other.

Additional Tips:

1. Keep the toast 3-5 minutes long and maintain eye contact with the bride and groom as you deliver it.

2. Stand and deliver! Sit down if it’s for you. If you’re giving the toast, you should stand up.

3. Make sure all the glasses are full before you begin.

4. First thing, announce your relationship to the bride and groom. Everyone may not know.

5. Use personal anecdotes; how the bride and groom met is always popular. Or how you met either of them, if you’re not a relative.

6. Don’t give a long string of characteristics. Rather choose a few adjectives, hitting the high points, i.e., she’s lovely, vivacious and kind.

7. Use tasteful humor and don’t do “in” jokes that only a few will get. You want to include, not exclude.

8. Stay PG-rated. There may be children there, and also it’s just good taste. It’s your responsibility on this important occasion to make sure you offend no one.

9. End on a serious note. Finish with a wish, a blessing, cheers! or congratulations. “To the bridge and groom” always works. Looking at some of the resources below will give you other ideas to get you started.

10. Practice your toast a lot beforehand. This is not the time to “wing it” especially if you plan to be imbiding beforehand.

11. Do not mention past girlfriends, past marriage, or past relationships. That’s what the stag party is for.

12. And don’t end with something negative which may slip into your mind if you aren’t prepared like, “And I hope theirs doesn’t end in divorce like mine did.”

Susan Dunn, MA, of The EQ Coach, offers coaching, Internet courses and ebooks for your personal and professional success. She is founder of the EQ Alive! coach certification program, which has no residency requirement and trains coaches internationally. For a free ezine, email [email protected].

Read all advice by Susan Dunn; Find more Weddings experts

More advice on Weddings
» Wedding Planning Ideas to Involve your Fiance
» Bridal Make-Up Tips
» all Weddings articles