Continuing in our series on how to design a presentation, in this episode, we will show you how to write a wedding toast. Over the years, I've had a few people come through our entire presentation training classes just to be able to not be terrified when they give a best man toast or father of the bride toast. Even though, this is typically a very short speech, there is always a lot of pressure involved. Anytime we are being honored with an important role in a wedding, we want to do well. This article can give you a few tips to make your words the absolute best wedding toast, ever. (By the way, even if you aren't participating in a wedding, the guide below can help you deliver any short toast or speech.)
Wedding Toast Traditions
Traditionally, the Best Man is the emcee or host of the wedding reception. In addition to being responsible for delivering the first wedding toast, the Best Man is also responsible for keeping things moving. Because of this, if you are the Best Man, make sure to organize the wedding toasts beforehand. In some cases, the Best Man may be the only person to deliver a toast at the wedding. However, traditionally, the Best Man will toast the Bride, the Maid of Honor will toast the Groom, and one or both sets of parents will toast the couple.
So, if you are the Best Man, make sure to go to each of these people prior to the big day to see which will want to say a few words. As the host, you'll want to introduce each of these people before their toast. You will also want to be in charge of the microphone (if you have one.) For more details about these traditions and toast orders, take a look at this article on Wedding Wire: Who Gives a Speech at a Wedding.
How to Write a Wedding Speech
Best Man Toast
When folks are looking for how to write a wedding toast, many times, it is the Best Man looking for help. The goal of the Best Man Speech is to toast the Bride. However, if you will be the only one making a toast, obviously, you'd want to toast the couple. As you prepare the toast, make sure to keep thinking about how to show the Bride's strengths and character to her friends and family. Although, you will be tempted to make sarcastic jabs at the Groom, make sure to avoid negative stories, etc. Don't bring up any old girlfriends or embarrassing stories about how much of a loser the groom is. Instead, focus on how wonderful the Bride is. It's her day.
Best Man Speech Outline
- Get Their Attention: Although you will often see in movies the Best Man taking a spoon and tapping a Champagne glass, you probably won't need to do this. In most cases, music will be playing and will stop when you stand to start the toast. So, really, all you need to do is stand and say something like, "Welcome, everyone. May I have your attention please for a few heartfelt moments while we toast the couple? Then we can eat cake..."
- Get Them Laughing: In most cases, I'm not a big fan of starting with a joke. However, because this is a festive situation, and because the Best Man speech should be really, really short, a well delivered one-liner fits really well. (Check out these time-tested wedding jokes as a start.) Obviously, keep it clean.
- Praise the Bride: For this part of the toast, make sure to look directly at the Bride. Start with her name. Then, list two or three major strengths that you recognize in her.
- Finish with the Toast: A simple phrase like, [Groom] is truly a lucky man. (Raise your glass.) Cheers!"
Example of a Best Man Toast
Welcome, everyone. May I have your attention please for a few heartfelt moments while we toast the couple? Then we can eat cake... All of you who know [BRIDE] well will know that she is a wonderful and caring person. She deserves a good husband. Thank God [GROOM] married her before she found one. Seriously, though, [BRIDE], you are truly a caring, loving, and, Thank God for [GROOM], a detail oriented person. He is a truly lucky man. (Raise your glass.) To [Bride]. Cheers!
Maid of Honor Speech
Traditionally, the goal of the Maid of Honor is to Toast the Groom. However, in modern weddings, the Maid of Honor will often toast the couple. As you begin to write the Maid of Honor speech, think about how the Bride's life has changed for the positive since she has known her new husband. Just as with the Best Man Toast, keep it clean and positive. The major difference between the two speeches is that, the Maid of Honor Toast is typically a little more emotional or sentimental. The structure, however is similar.
Maid of Honor Speech Outline
- Give the Best Man a Simple Introduction for Yourself: Make it easy for the Best Man. Something simple like, "Please help me welcome [BRIDE]'s friend of 22 years, the Maid of Honor, [YOU]. This will make your toast much easier, because you won't need to give any background or introduction for yourself. If the Best Man flubs your intro (remember, he is really nervous too), make sure to let the group know who you are and how you know the Bride.
- Share the Bride's Love Story: Think about a discussion or situation that that you had with the Bride where you realized that this relationship was serious. If you can recall a truly happy moment for them both, just tell the audience about that moment. Remember, though, keep this short. They really want to eat the cake at this point.
- Praise the Groom: This is the really most important part. What you really want to do is describe what you like about the way that the groom treats and cares for the bride.
- Wish Them Happiness in the Future: Just a simple conclusion wishing them well. A simple phrase like, [Groom], I'm happy that you found true love, and I'm happy that my friend (sister) has found someone to be a true partner for her. (Raise your glass.) To all the happiness that two people can share!"
Example of a Maid of Honor Toast
I'm so honored to be able to stand with my friend of 12 years on this special day. Three years ago, [BRIDE] and I were at Starbucks, and I asked her how her date went. In that three-minute conversation, she said [GROOM]'s name about a dozen times, with a grin from ear to ear every time she said it. I knew right there, that she had found happiness. Since then, [GROOM] I've seen you honor her and respect her, and I am truly happy to call you a friend as well. (Raise your glass.) To all the happiness that two people could possibly share!
Father of the Bride Speech
Quite often, when someone is looking for help writing a wedding toast, he is the Father of the Bride. For the parents of the bride and groom, a wedding can be very emotional. There is a good chance that you will have a lot of wisdom to share with the couple and the crowd. Please, please,please fight this urge. Your goal is to toast the couple (and possibly inspire them). In that respect, keep your toast short and sweet. If you are the Father of the Bride, and you are looking for direction about how to write a wedding toast, here is a good outline.
Father of the Bride Speech Outline
- Inspirational Quote: Since part of the Father's toast is inspirational wisdom, a well placed quote can get you started on the right foot. For ideas, check out this article: 100 Inspirational Quotes about Marriage.
- Praise the Bride: Tell a short story about an incident that occurred in your daughter's childhood that showed a strength in her personality. For instance, if she is very caring, pick a story that shows that trait. If she is strong willed, pick a story showing that strength.
- Praise the Groom: Determine what the biggest strength is in your new son-in-law. What is it that makes him good at what he does? Once you determine this strength, think about the time that you first recognized that strength in the Groom. Tell briefly about this incident.
- Words of Wisdom: A good conclusion is to show how the two strengths compliment each other.
- The Toast - Welcome the Groom to the Family: Conclude the toast by raising your glass and welcoming the Groom to your family.
Example of a Father of the Bride Toast
Dr. Suess once said, "You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” I know... I was surprised that it didn't rhyme too. When I see these two together, though, I see that they have a pretty special reality. When [BRIDE] was eleven, she and I had a father/daughter outing to a ballgame. She was so happy to come with me, although she wasn't vaguely interested in the game. [BRIDE] came, though, because she knew that it would make me happy. She always puts the needs of others in front of her own needs.
Last year, [GROOM] came by the house to pick up [BRIDE] for a movie date. When I asked what movie, I was surprised that it was a romantic comedy. For those of you who know [GROOM], he is a guy's guy. In that moment I remembered distinctly that moment at the ballpark when [BRIDE] was jumping up and cheering when I jumped up and cheered. I knew that [GROOM] was doing the same for [BRIDE] that she did for me years ago. When you care about someone so much that you will do absolutely anything to make them happy, you are making reality even better than the dream. [GROOM], welcome to the family. (Raise your glass.) To making reality better than the dream!
Father of the Groom Speech
The father of the groom speech is just like the father of the Bride speech, but with a focus more on the couple than the individuals. In addition, if you recall, in the Best Man's speech where we started with something funny.The Father of the Groom speech is a good place to add a little deprecating humor if you like. Obviously, the goal is not to embarrass the Groom. However, a little ribbing can add some humor. In addition, you want to add some wisdom and inspiration at the conclusion. If you are looking for help about how to write this type of wedding toast, here is a good outline.
Father of the Groom Speech Outline
- Funny Story about the Groom: Don't step on the Best Man's toes. It is best to choose an incident from early childhood. However a funny jab at the Groom is perfectly acceptable.
- Praise the Groom: A short, second story to show your son's growth over time is a good way to praise the man that he has become.
- Praise the Bride: Determine what the biggest strength is in your new daughter-in-law. What is it that makes her good at what she does? Once you determine this strength, think about the time that you first recognized that strength in the Bride. Tell briefly about this incident.
- Words of Wisdom: A good conclusion is to show how the two strengths compliment each other.
- The Toast - Welcome the Bride to the Family: Conclude the toast by raising your glass and welcoming the Groom to your family.
Example of a Father of the Groom Toast
When [GROOM] was 10-years-old, I found him counting his birthday and Christmas money in his room. I suggested that he save his money. A little here and a little there will really add up over time. He turned to me and said, "Dad, I'm buying a Nerf gun. It's not like I'm blowing it on hookers and cocaine." Your Mother and I transferred you to a private school shortly after that. Years later, when you were planning for college, I went to you and offered to help. You looked me dead in the eyes and said, "Dad, I really appreciate that, but this is something I have to do on my own."
That is the kind of character that will make you a good husband and a great father.
Now, [GROOM], you have a loving and dedicated woman, [BRIDE] at your side to help you through the tough times. So, from here on, you no longer have to do it on your own. [BRIDE], welcome to our family. (Raise your glass.) Please join me in toasting the couple. To doing it together!
It Really Isn't About How to Write a Wedding Toast
By the way, use these tips and the structure about how to write a wedding toast as a guide. In reality, though, just speak from the heart. The process isn't about following steps or saying just the right thing. It is about showing the couple how much you love them. When you do this, you will have a fantastic speech!