How to Give the Perfect Wedding Toast That’s Memorable for All the Right Reasons
The best wedding toasts are the perfect marriage of thought, planning, practice and humor. These ideas and examples will help you craft the script you need.
If you’ve been asked to give a wedding toast, congratulations are in order—for the happy couple and for you! After all, being entrusted with this special job is a huge honor reserved for those nearest and dearest to the bride and groom.
“Wedding toasts are one of my favorite wedding traditions because they offer a glimpse into the couple’s relationship, as seen through the eyes of those who love them and know them best,” says wedding-etiquette expert Julian Leaver, founder of The Dapper Diplomat, of these wedding wishes. “When done right, a toast can be a shining moment of the day that becomes a treasured memory forever.”
No pressure or anything! The other stress in the equation? All eyes will be on you—literally—as you try to strike the perfect balance of heartfelt congratulations, sweet memories and funny quips. Even if you’re a professional writer, this is tough, and we’ve all witnessed some serious disasters.
Of course, we’re not going to let that happen to you! We’ve put together the perfect plan that takes into account a few etiquette rules—specifically, wedding etiquette rules—and provided some basic scripts that you can use as jumping-off points to customize your toast. We’ve also provided short wedding toasts so that anyone can join in the well wishes. In our opinion, these sweet words are some of the best wedding gifts a person can give.
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What do you say in a wedding toast?
Writing the perfect wedding toast requires you to do three things, says Leaver: ponder, plan and practice. “A wedding toast should always be well thought out and prepared,” he adds. “This is not the time to speak off the cuff.”
To make your wedding toast memorable and heartfelt, experts say it should have these six components:
- An attention-getting opener. This is often a quick joke, a brief story about the couple or a few lines from a famous love quote or love poem.
- An introduction. State your name and briefly note your relationship to the couple and how you feel about them.
- Gratitude. Tell the couple how honored you are to be part of their day.
- An anecdote. Share a sweet, heartfelt or funny story about the couple that highlights their love, achievements, good qualities and journey together. Make sure it’s PG!
- Congratulations. Close by offering your well wishes to the couple. This is your opportunity to express your hopes and dreams for their future together.
- A raised glass. At the end, hold your glass aloft to invite the guests to congratulate them along with you. You don’t have to add anything, but many people like to say “Cheers!” or “Here’s to Mr. and Mrs. X!” as they raise their glass.
A note about humor: The best toasts incorporate a little humor and set a happy tone for the rest of the festivities, says Leaver. The trick is to make sure it’s appropriate for all the wedding guests to hear. “Don’t say anything in a wedding toast that you wouldn’t say in front of their grandma—because she’s probably right there!” he says.
How to give the perfect wedding toast
Toasts, like the wedding garter tradition, are part of what makes weddings feel special and fun. Giving the perfect wedding toast requires not only crafting a great speech but also delivering it with confidence and poise, says celebrity wedding planner Donnie Brown. Here are some tips on how to do it right.
Know the different types of toasts—and which one you’ll be giving
Your role in the wedding and relationship to the couple will determine what you say and how you do it. The time and location of your toast are your first big clues, says Brown. The best man and maid of honor are often asked to toast at the rehearsal dinner the night before, which is usually a more casual setting. That means the toasts can be more light-hearted. (Many couples, however, request these toasts to be given at the actual wedding, so always double-check.) Parents of the bride or groom generally toast during the reception, which is more formal and sentimental. The officiant or a close relative may also be asked to give a blessing, a specific kind of toast that is often short, formal and religious. The couple themselves may even choose to give a toast at the end of the night, thanking all their guests.
Wait to be introduced
Your toast will be placed at a specific part of the program, and you should have that information in advance. Depending on the size and budget of the wedding, an emcee, friend or relative will “host” the wedding and keep everything on schedule. Wait for them to introduce you before standing to give your toast.
Use the microphone, and put your glass down
“Too many people don’t know what to do with their hands during their wedding speech, which can make them look awkward or uncomfortable,” says Leaver. If there is a microphone on a stand, stand in front of it and adjust it to a comfortable height for you. If there is a free mic, hold it in one hand. You may stand up with your glass for the toast, but place it on a table next to you or hand it to the wedding planner or a friend while you speak.
Keep it short and sweet
Weddings generally run on a tight schedule, and guests have limited attention spans, so the ideal length of a wedding toast is two to three minutes—or about 400 to 750 words. Brown adds that the length may depend somewhat on your relationship to the couple. For instance, the best man or maid of honor should keep it under five minutes, but the father of the bride or parents of the groom could take a few more minutes.
Make it personal to the couple
Keep your remarks about the couple directed toward them, says Leaver. If you’re unsure about what to say (or not say), ask the couple when you’re crafting your speech, well ahead of time, says Leaver.
Write it down
No matter how good a public speaker you are, nerves can get the best of you, so wedding toasts should always be planned in advance and written down, says Brown. Practice saying yours out loud a few times before the big day.
Speak from the heart
The best toasts aren’t the longest or the best written—they’re the ones that are the most heartfelt and loving, says Leaver. Share your personal stories and anecdotes, but be sure to keep them appropriate and respectful. Avoid inside jokes or stories that only a few people will understand.
Keep it positive
This isn’t the time to be critical, offer in-depth marriage advice, talk about their past relationships, bring up controversial topics, “warn” away the groom or bride, or do anything else negative, even if it’s in a joking way, says Leaver. Yes, funny wedding toasts are fine, but keep the focus on the positive aspects of the couple and their relationship.
Still not sure what to say? Below, our experts break down the specifics of the different types of wedding toasts, and we provide a few wedding-toast examples to give you the perfect jumping-off points for your own toast.
Wedding toast from the best man
As a close friend or relative of the groom, the best man should give a speech or toast that’s a sincere tribute to the groom and his relationship with the bride. Sharing the groom’s good qualities and acknowledging the bride’s positive influence on the groom will create a memorable and meaningful wedding toast, says Leaver.
Examples of wedding toasts from the best man
- “Mark and I have been best friends since elementary school, and I’ve had the pleasure of watching him grow into the amazing man he is today.”
- “As the brother of the groom, Mark has always been my role model, my confidante and my partner on chore day. And today, I couldn’t be happier for him as he embarks on this new journey with Juliette. Don’t worry, Jules, I can vouch for his excellent toilet-cleaning skills!”
- “When he first told me about Juliette, I knew she was someone special just from the way his face lit up when he talked about her.”
- “Seeing the two of them together today, their love is so apparent, and it’s clear they were meant to be.”
- “So let’s raise a glass to Mark and Juliette, and wish them a lifetime of love and happiness together.”
In case you were wondering, this is what happens if someone objects at a wedding.
Wedding toast from the maid of honor
The maid of honor is traditionally a sister, cousin, best friend or other unmarried woman close to the bride. (A married woman in this role is called the matron of honor.) This unique relationship allows you to share personal thoughts and memories of the bride, along with your happiness and support for this new chapter of her life.
Examples of wedding toasts from the maid of honor
- “Juliette isn’t just my older sister—she’s also my best friend, my confidante and my goal for the kind of woman I want to be. Mark, you are truly lucky to have found someone as wonderful as Jules, and I am excited to officially welcome you into our family.”
- “Jules and I have been best friends since we met on the first day of preschool, and I can honestly say that I have never seen her as happy as she is today. Mark, you have brought so much light and joy into Juliette’s life, and I love the way you always make her smile.”
- “As Juliette’s college roommate, I’m delighted to watch her get a new roomie—oh, and a life partner—in Mark. She is so much fun and so thoughtful, and I can attest that she always loads the dishwasher the right way.”
- “I’m so inspired by the deep love and respect they have for each other, and it’s a joy to see them together as a couple.”
- “Let’s toast to the happy couple and wish them a lifetime of deeper love, more laughter and bigger adventures together.”
You can also find inspiration in these best friend quotes.
Wedding toast from the father of the bride
Fathers have a special relationship with their daughters, and the father of the bride toast is the perfect time to share all that love for your not-so-little girl, along with your hopes and dreams for the couple’s future. “Don’t be afraid to be tender in this moment,” says Leaver. “This is often the toast that really brings a tear to everyone’s eye.”
Examples of wedding toasts from the father of the bride
- “Juliette, from the day you were born, you have been such a beautiful, kind, intelligent and loving person, and I am so honored to stand here beside you on your special day. I wish you and Mark a lifetime of love and happiness together.”
- “Watching Jules grow into the amazing woman she is today has been one of my greatest privileges. She has always been a shining light in my life and to everyone who knows her. I couldn’t be happier to see her so in love with Mark.”
- “I’ve always wanted the best for my little girl, and I am delighted that she’s found that. She and Mark are a perfect match.”
- “One of the things I love about Mark and Juliette is how they bring out the best in each other. They work together as a team, and I know they’ll have a long, happy and successful union.”
Wedding toast from the parents of the groom
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of watching the son you raised become a man and a husband, and now is the time to share those poignant and sweet feelings. Share memories that show the groom’s good qualities, as well as thoughts that create a sense of unity among the two families, says Leaver.
Examples of wedding toasts from parents
- “As the proud parents of the groom, we are delighted to be here today to celebrate Mark finding his true love and to welcome Juliette into our family. We couldn’t be happier that our son has found such a kind, caring and beautiful partner.”
- “Mark and Juliette are truly a perfect match—they complement each other in every way and bring out the best in each other. It is a joy to see them together and to witness their love grow stronger with each passing day.”
- “It’s been a gift and an honor to watch you two come together as a couple. May you grow closer every day as your romance deepens and matures into a lifetime of true love.”
- “Here’s to our Mark and Juliette! We know that the two of you have a bright and happy future ahead of you, and we wish you all the love and joy in the world. May your love continue to grow and flourish as you build a lifetime of beautiful memories together.”
Short wedding toasts from other well-wishers
Serhii Sobolevskyi/Getty Images
“Any guest can offer a congratulatory toast to the new couple, and it’s a lovely way to publicly share your joy for them,” says Brown. Just keep it short, about the couple and positive—and wait until after all the formal toasts have been given. You can also use these ideas for engagement wishes.
Examples of short wedding toasts
- “Here’s to a lifetime of love, peace and happiness. Congratulations!”
- “To the happy couple! May your love continue to grow deeper and stronger with each passing day.”
- “May today be just the beginning of your beautiful journey together. Congratulations, and best wishes!”
- “I want to give a shoutout to the bride and groom for finding each other in a world full of Tinder and Bumble. Congrats on swiping right on true love!”
- “May your life together be full of adventure, laughter and only toothpaste tubes with the cap on and squeezed from the bottom. We’re not animals.”
- “To the bride and groom: I am inspired by your love. You are a great match, and we couldn’t be happier for you.”
- “May the saddest day of your future be no worse than the happiest day of your past.”
Irish blessings to use as wedding toasts
- “May your troubles be less and your blessings be more, and nothing but happiness come through your door.”
- “May love and laughter light your days and warm your heart and home. May good and faithful friends be yours, wherever you may roam.”
- “May the road you walk together be full of love and laughter. And may the years ahead bring happiness ever after.”
- “May your life be filled with laughter, may your home be filled with cheer, may you find what you’re looking for, in the love that brought you here.”
- “May your mornings bring joy and your evenings bring peace. May your troubles grow less as your blessings increase.”
- “May your marriage be blessed with love that grows stronger with each passing day, a home filled with laughter and joy, and a deep appreciation for each other. May your love be a beacon of hope and an inspiration to others.”
Mistakes to avoid when giving a wedding toast
“Honestly, most wedding-toast mistakes could be avoided by preparing better,” says Leaver, who adds that it’s very human to say things we wish we hadn’t when we get nervous. So prepare your thoughts in advance, and forgo these common etiquette mistakes when crafting your wedding speech:
- Sharing risque or inappropriate jokes or stories.
- Rambling or going off topic.
- Bringing up past relationships.
- Making it about yourself instead of the new couple.
- Criticizing the bride or groom. Don’t say things like “No one will ever be good enough for my little girl” or “I never thought she’d find someone who could deal with her,” says Brown.
- Expressing doubt about the relationship. (“If you have reservations, those should be shared privately before the wedding, or just kept to yourself,” says Leaver.)
- Bringing in controversial topics like politics.
- Sharing inside jokes that no one else will get.