How to Write Fire Wedding Toasts for All Your Nuptial Events
Giving wedding toasts are an honor, but it can certainly be a nerve-wracking experience too. But whether you're the best man, mother of the groom, daughter of the bride, or the soon-to-be newlyweds, making a wedding toast can be a breeze if you follow a few simple tips. For the best oratory advice, we turned to Katelyn Peterson, owner of Wedding Words writing services, and Beth Sherman, a speaker and Emmy-winning comedy writer who dish on how to give a wedding toast at any wedding-related event.
As a bonus, we included example wedding toasts made in an easy-to-use Mad Lib format, the best quotes to add to your toast, toast prompts and much more. Get ready to make the best wedding toast in the history of public speaking with this comprehensive guide below.
In this article:
Who Gives a Wedding Toast
Traditionally, the newlyweds' parents, the honor attendants and the couple make wedding toasts. But that doesn't mean you can't have other loved ones speak. Ask whoever you feel is comfortable with public speaking and has the time to write a toast, then let them know where they are in the wedding toast order.
Order of Wedding Toasts
Now that you know who gives toasts at the wedding, you can organize who speaks when––the more organized, the smoother the process. Tell each speaker who is before and after them ahead of time so no one accidentally interrupts someone else. Also, you'll be busy during the reception, so ask your wedding planner to help ensure each speaker is ready for their turn. Here is the traditional wedding toast order:
- The parents of the newlyweds (or hosts)
- The maid of honor
- The best man
- The couple
How to Write a Wedding Toast
Writing a wedding toast should be more fun than writing a school paper, but you might consider starting the same way by creating an outline. Here's how to format short wedding toasts from start to finish.
Briefly explain who you are and how you know the couple so everyone understands why you were chosen to speak. For example, if you're the maid of honor, say, "Hi everybody! I'm Adam Johnson, the man of honor. I've been best friends with the lovely brides since high school." Of course, if you're the newlyweds you can skip this step.
"When in doubt, thank. You'll never regret adding a thank you, but you will regret forgetting one," Sherman, who wrote jokes and presenter copy for A-list celebrities like Tom Hanks, says. If you're a member of the wedding party, Sherman suggests thanking your hosts. If you're one of the hosts, thank your guests for their love, support and attendance on your special day.
Make sure to gush over the newlyweds.
Talk about your relationship with the happy couple during your wedding toast. 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. The newly married couple can talk about how they met and what made their relationship so strong––divulge as much as you're comfortable with.
Have a good closer.
"Detail your wishes for their future or any advice you want to share," Peterson, who has helped people write for wedding-related events for more than six years, says. Then, per Sherman's advice, raise your champagne glass and toast to the lovebirds before heading to the dance floor. For the couple's closer, they can share their favorite love quote or parting words before announcing the next reception activity.
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Wedding Toast Quotes
If you're thinking of adding quotes to your wedding toast, keep in mind that "the couple wants to hear from you...not a 'Grey's Anatomy' character," Peterson explains. If you still feel like you need a little help, it won't hurt to include a love quote or two, as long as it's relevant to the couple and illustrates the greater message about who the pair is. "If you're including a quote, it's best to have it feel as if there's a reason it's there," Sherman explains.
Some of Sherman's favorite examples: Referencing a 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. Keep reading to see the best wedding toasts that anyone from the father of the bride to the best friend can snag for the big day.
- "For true love is inexhaustible; the more you give, the more you have." - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (French writer)
- "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." - When Harry Met Sally (1989)
- "Love isn't something you find. Love is something that finds you." - Loretta Young (American actress)
- "A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person." - Mignon McLaughlin (American journalist)
- "What's meant to be will always find a way." - Trisha Yearwood (American country singer)
- "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." - If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)
- "May this marriage be full of laughter, our every day in paradise." - Rumi (Persian poet)
- "A good marriage is a contest of generosity." - Diane Sawyer (American television broadcast journalist)
- "I love you very much, probably more than anybody could love another person." - 50 First Dates (2004)
- "With a love like that. You know you should be glad." - The Beatles (English rock band)
- "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 (American columnist)
- "How wonderful life is while you're in the world." - Elton John (British singer)
- "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." - Juno (2007)
- "Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies." - Aristotle (Greek philosopher)
- "I think I'd miss you even if we'd never met." - The Wedding Date (2005)
- "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 (Chinese philosopher)
- "You are my sun, my moon, and all my stars." - E.E. Cummings (American poet)
Wedding Toast Ideas
Just because you're unsure about what to say in a wedding toast doesn't make you a bad person. Even if you've known the happy couple since birth (or you birthed one of them yourself), it can be tricky to get your thoughts on paper. Here are some of our experts' favorite brainstorming prompts.
- 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?
- Are the to-be-weds a crazy super-fan of anyone or anything?
- When did you first hear about your loved one's future spouse?
- What was it like when you met their partner for the first time, and what was the couple like together?
- For siblings and parents, what was the to-be-wed like as a kid?
Wedding Toast Examples
If this is your first wedding toast, it's certainly helpful to hear or read others' words before making your own. Here are four wedding toast templates in Mad Lib format to guide you during your writing session. Have fun filling in the blanks and personalizing these toasts as much as possible.
Parent Toast Example
_[Your child's name]_ has always been _[adjective]_, and I've _[verb]_ _[your child's pronoun]_ for that. _[Your child's name]_ would go into every _[your's child favorite hobby]_, class project or job interview with such _[noun]_ and _[noun]_ it used to _[emotion]_ me and question where _[your child's name]_ got it from. But looking at _[your child's pronoun]_ smile today while next to _[the spouse's name]_ has made me realize what it was all for. _[The spouse's name]_, just know that _[your child's name]_ will never stop doing everything possible to show _[your child's pronoun]_ loves you because _[your child's pronoun]_ heart won't let _[your child's pronoun]_. Cheers to the newlyweds. I hope your passion for one another deepens with each passing day.
Sibling Toast Example
As the _[your relationship to the newlywed]_, you probably expect me to say something about how I hated sharing the _[a thing or place]_ with _[your sibling's name]_ or how being forced to listen to _[your sibling's pronoun]_ _[name of your sibling's favorite band]_ playlist while dropping _[your sibling's pronoun]_ off at school was a nightmare growing up but I really want to acknowledge how proud I am of who _[your sibling's pronoun]_ has become. _[Your sibling's name]_ is the most _[adjective]_, _[adjective]_ and _[adjective]_ person I know, and I'm _[emotion]_ to have __[your sibling's pronoun]__ as a __[your relationship to the newlywed]__. I'm so happy _[your sibling's name]_ has found someone so deserving of all his love. Cheers!
Wedding Party Toast Example
What makes these two _[adjective]_ is how their love fills up a room. No, not in a __[adjective]___ way, but in a way that makes you __[adjective]_ inside, and wish you could find something just a little close to what they have. You all are truly relationship goals, and I can't wait to see how your love __[verb]__ even more over the years. Raise your glass to _[the newlywed's names]__ as they build a new life together.
Couple Toast Example
_[Your name & your partner's name]_ are _[emotion]_ that all of you took the time to _[verb]_ with us tonight. Our wedding planning journey and honestly...journey as a couple wouldn't be the same without all your _[noun]_ and _[noun]_. Thank you so much for being here. Now raise a glass to yourselves, and let's _[verb]_!
Wedding Toast Tips
Here are some final words of wisdom from our wedding toast pros. These are the most important dos and don'ts for wedding toasts.
Keep it concise.
"You don't need to say things like, 'For those of you who don't know me,'" Peterson explains. "Instead, just state your name, role and relation to the couple." Your toast should only be two to five minutes long so get straight to the point. Here's an example introduction from Peterson: "Hi everyone! I'm Jessica Davis, the maid of honor, and I've known this beautiful bride since we met at summer camp in middle school."
Worried about your public speaking nerves or your tendency to shed more tears than the room might be ready for? The best way to diffuse the situation and create humor 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," Sherman says. Sherman worked with a best man who added this line at the beginning of his toast: "So if I pass out, all I ask is that someone drags me back to my table in time for cake."
Prepare ahead of time.
You should write down your toast, practice it out loud several times, and bring it with you. "No matter how strong of a public speaker you are, don't go into the wedding with plans to 'wing it,'" Peterson says. It's also more than okay to read your typed or handwritten toast at the event. Just ensure you're not reading the toast from your phone––wedding photographers say the phone casts an unflattering light that doesn't look great in photos.
As Sherman puts it: "A wedding toast 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 with the toast in hand." Ideally, after practicing out loud your wedding toast will be almost memorized. This will allow you to use it as a guide so you're not reading it straight off the page.
The golden rule of all creative writing: Show, don't tell. Keep that in mind as you prepare your toast. Detailed examples are key here. "Don't just tell us the groom loves the bride 'so much.' Give us indisputable evidence," Sherman urges. "I wrote a speech for a maid of honor 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. That's love."
Ensure everyone 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," Sherman says. Fortunately, this can be avoided by annunciating and opening with one simple line: "Can everybody hear me?" This question will earn a few cheers and claps, which can help any nervous speaker feel at ease.
Don't tell too many inside jokes.
While you and the to-be-weds might get a kick out of your quips, it might be a little awkward if none of the wedding guests can follow along. "Design a speech everyone can enjoy. Inside jokes exclude the majority of guests. Opt for inclusive stories for the biggest impact," Peterson suggests.
On the other hand, inside jokes can paint a highly personal picture of who the happy couple is. So if you do include personal references, Sherman suggests making sure they don't go over anyone's head by adding 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," Sherman says.
Don't bring up past planning stressors.
Were there some tough moments or emotional decisions leading to the wedding day? Peterson says you shouldn't mention them, even if you think everyone might laugh about it now. "Couples work so hard to make their wedding day happen. The last thing they want to rehash during the reception is how the tuxes almost didn't arrive or how COVID forced them to cut their guest list," Peterson explains.