Lessons in Etiquette with Carolyn Davenport

Lessons in Etiquette with Carolyn Davenport

Wedding Toasts

Q) My best friend is getting married, and he has asked me to be his best man.  That means I am going to have to make a toast at the reception.  I’ve never done that before.  Help, please!

A) Toasts are nothing more than a short speech lasting approximately two to three minutes.  Traditionally, the best man makes the first toast at the reception once everyone has been seated for the meal, or served a drink at a cocktails-only reception.  Your toast is made to the bride and groom.

To help you present an entertaining and heartfelt toast, you should write it out ahead of time and practice, practice, practice.  If you are able, go to the reception venue beforehand and practice at the site.  You will feel more comfortable in your surroundings at the big event.     To give your toast, stand up and make sure that everyone’s glass is full before you begin.  If you feel you need to use cue cards, then do so, but keep them as discreet as possible.  If there is a microphone available, it is best to use it.

When making your toast, make eye contact with the bride and groom.  State your relationship to the happy couple so that everyone in the room knows who you are.   Keep your speech clean so as not to offend anyone, and do not say anything that will embarrass the bridal couple.  You do not want to talk about past relationships, for example.

Toasts are expected to be humorous, but be considerate and only use tasteful anecdotes.  How the bride and groom met is always a good choice, along with how you met them, if you are not related.

Since you know you will have to give a toast, do NOT get drunk.  A glass of champagne or a mixed drink is acceptable.  But, no one wants to endure someone making a fool out of themselves with slurred speech, not to mention insulting the bridal couple and everyone in attendance.

Try to end on a serious but positive note.  Good wishes for the happy couple or a blessing for their long life together would be suitable.  Do not end your toast with a negative like, “Hope we don’t see you in divorce court!”
Follow these tips and you will be the second brightest star at the wedding!

Follow Carolyn Davenport at AGraciousYou.com.