Photo: Kate Headley
Though it’s not uncommon to see acquaintances toasting before dinner or small celebratory gatherings, it is at weddings where the tradition still resonates most. The host goes first, then generally the groom toasts his bride, followed by his family and friends and the bride’s family and friends. Besides making it heartfelt and keeping it (reasonably) clean, guests should follow the guidelines below.
Giving a Wedding Toast
Rule #1: Be brief
It's best to stay under two or three minutes.
Rule #2: Rehearse
Sometimes even spontaneity requires a little forethought. Practice out loud in the mirror a few times.
Rule #3: Get (and keep) the Crowd's Attention
Avoid tapping your glass; simply stand and speak loudly and clearly.
Receiving a Wedding Toast
Rule #4: Don't Drink To Yourself
Avoid raising your glass, and remain seated when the toast is offered to you.
Wedding Toast Rules for Guests
Rule #5: Let the Host Toast First
Champagne glasses on the table indicate toasts will be made, usually with the dessert course.
Rule #6: Never Refuse to Participate
If you're a nondrinker, it is courteous to raise an empty glass, rather than none at all. If you're nervous about public speaking, have a couple of short toasts committed to memory in case you're unexpectedly called upon.
Wedding Toast Rules for Hosts
Rule #7: Inform Guests if You Would Like Them to Toast
If you're hosting a formal party or wedding and would like for certain guests to toast the honorees, it's polite to call them a week before the party to let them know.