The Ultimate Wedding Reception Toasts Guide

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Maid of Honor Giving Wedding Reception Toast

Think about the best wedding reception toasts you’ve ever heard…

Chances are there was nothing extraordinary about the wedding reception toasts itself, but the warm emotions that it stirred likely have had a long-lasting impact. This clearly illustrates the purpose of a wedding reception toast: to be simple, charming, and sentimental, all in honor of the lovely couple that’s about to spend the rest of their lives together.

So whether you’re giving the wedding toast or anticipating them at your reception, here’s everything you need to know.

Consider this your Wedding Reception Toasts guide – Updated for 2021!

Who toasts the couple?

  • The maid of honor and best man will usually give a toast before dinner service begins.
  • The father of the bride will often give a welcome speech before toasting the newlyweds.
  • The groom, bride or both may toast their guests and each other if they like.

What’s listed above is standard procedure but it’s your reception, so anything goes! Create a timeline of who will be toasting and when. Consider how long your guests will be asked to listen to well wishes and how the toasts will impact dinner service. Consider your wedding DJ as an MC too, because they will introduce each speaker and keep the timeline moving.

When do the wedding reception toasts take place?

Most receptions follow a similar timeline of:

  • Grand entrance
  • Cake cutting
  • Toasts before dinner service begins

This allows your guests to focus on the messages without the distraction of wait staff. However, toasts can occur at anytime during the reception, between courses, after the meal – it’s your choice.

Be sure to share your timeline with your wedding photographers and videographers, so they are prepared to capture these great moments.

What to say and how to say it

Toasts should be fun and for public consumption. If you wouldn’t say it to Grandma, don’t say it in the toast (Grandma is likely seated close by).

  • Keep it brief. Make the message heartfelt, but brief. You can always expand on your wishes on the wedding video. Listeners start to tune out after two minutes.
  • How to begin. The MC will introduce you so it isn’t necessary to restate your name. You can let everyone know your relationship to the couple.
  • Be original. Sure you can google wedding toasts for inspiration, but does that really say what you want to? A few heartfelt statements, a wedding quote or joke, or a personal memory can be a great foundation to get you started.
  • Focus on the couple. The toasts should mention both the bride and the groom, not focus on one exclusively.
  • Raise your glass. Remember to invite the listeners to toast the couple at the conclusion of your toast.

8 Ways to Make Wedding Reception Toasts Memorable

The time has come, your best friend is getting married and you have been chosen as the Maid of Honor or Best Man! This is an exciting role that comes with some essential duties, including the wedding reception toast.

Unless you are a professional speaker, the thought of giving a wedding reception toast at your best friend’s wedding, can fill you with dread. The idea of being in front of the crowd and finding the perfect words can be overwhelming. With these tips, you’ll sound like a pro during your toast – and may even cause some happy tears.

Maid of Honor Reception Toast

1. Plan your toast.

A wedding speech is not a time to wing it or to wait until the last moment.  Plan what you are going to say and practice saying it.  Try it before a mirror or a small group of people in advance.  Ask for feedback about the pacing too long, too fast, etc.

2. Use the mic properly.

If you aren’t sure how to hold the mic, ask the wedding DJ for a few pointers. Hold the mic close to your mouth, about chin height.  If you talk with your hands, use your non dominant hand to hold the mic.  Be sure to pronounce each word clearly.  And yes, this thing is on.

3. Start it off right.

Too often maid of honor or best man speeches start with “For those that don’t know me, my name is __.” The wedding DJ will introduce you so restating your name isn’t necessary.  Consider beginning your toast with a simple start, “I am so honored to be speaking at my best friend’s wedding”  or “I’ve known the bride since __.” Be sure to stand for your toast.

4. Don’t be basic.

It’s easy to use phrases like, “She’s the sweetest” , “They’re the best couple” and “She’s so pretty”.  While obviously true, these basic phrases lack the weight to be remembered later.  Instead use specific examples that show how those basic phrases are true.

5. Tell your and her story.

Half of the room may not know the bride or groom the way that you do.  Telling them that “she’s so sweet, smart and kind” is a statement.  Telling them that you knew you were friends for life when she took detailed notes from a lecture you couldn’t attend because you were ill, tells the wedding guests the type of person she is.  Share an impactful moment with guests.

6. Don’t mention the worst of times.

Did your bestie have the worst break-up ever before meeting their new spouse?  Your wedding toast isn’t the place to bring it up.  This is the happiest night of their life, be sure to focus on the good times.

7. Toast the bride and wish the couple well.

You’re toasting your best friend so it’s normal that the majority of your (brief) time will focus on that.  But this toast is on their wedding day, so you must mention the spouse too. Think about ending your toast on how their new spouse has added to their life. Bring the ending home with a well wish to the couple.

8. Raise your glass.

Avoid an awkward ending by inviting guests to raise their glass with you in a toast to the newlyweds.  This will let everyone know that your toast has ended.

Bride and Groom During Wedding Reception Toast

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