Here is Dick Temple’s suggestion for writing a wedding toast. He starts with some history from the toastmaster manual but takes it a step further so you too can be prepared.
Presenting a toast at a special occasion is a great opportunity to recognize and pay tribute to someone or a group. Unfortunately, many people hesitate to make a toast to their friends or relatives when the occasion arises, perhaps because of their concern about not doing it properly. The fear of standing and speaking to a group may also be holding them back.
So, let’s take a look at the toasting custom and how one should conduct it. It is actually a very old custom dating back to the days of the Roman Empire. Toasts are offered at various occasions including engagement parties, weddings, anniversaries and retirement parties to name a few. One of the most common times for offering a toast is at a wedding reception. The question is, how should one go about it? Here are a few tips and an example of how one could conduct this particular “toasting” opportunity.
The groom’s best man should give the formal toast. The timing is important, usually just after being seated for the meal or just prior to cutting the cake. Since this is a “formal” toast, the best man should stand and get everyone’s attention by gently tapping a glass with a spoon and ask all to stand with him except the bride and groom. Looking towards the couple, he raises his glass and offers a brief, (1-2 minute), tribute and congratulation to the bride and groom. It should be personalized and sincere without any inappropriate or embarrassing dialogue. It should have been rehearsed so that it can be given without notes. Common clichés, like “here’s mud in your eye” are not recommended. Also, it is a good idea for the best man to not “imbibe” too much beforehand, as this is his time to compliment the bride and groom with a clear and thoughtful message of congratulation.
A “toast” well presented is a very special gift to the recipient. The effort that one puts into it will be evident and appreciated and the “toaster” will feel the warmth of a task well done. The champagne will fortify that feeling as well.
One example of a toast to the bride and groom from the best man might go as follows:
“ I would like to offer a toast to my long time friend Ryan and his lovely bride, Heather. Ryan and I have been the best of friends through high school as well as on our basketball and baseball teams. We have experienced the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat together. Ryan is a loyal and caring individual and a great teammate who deserves to have an exceptional partner. I believe that he has found her. Witnessing this wedding brings to mind a beautiful sunrise that continues to brighten the day as it progresses. I’m confident that this marriage will have many bright and beautiful days and will continue to grow. Congratulations Ryan and Heather and to both of you, my best wishes for a beautiful life together!
Upon finishing the verbal toast, lead the group in “clinking” their glasses with persons next to them and take a sip. (This is a nonverbal sign of agreement and solidarity with the toaster). At that point, the group sits and the bride and groom may thank the toaster and also take a sip of champagne or whatever beverage is available. The best man’s most difficult task of the day is now completed and he can now breathe easy and enjoy the reception.
At this time, it is definitely appropriate and desired for the bride and groom to stand and give thanks to their parents, wedding party members, relatives and guests for attending and supporting them.
One other ceremony needs mentioning where a “toast” is desired. That is the rehearsal dinner. The Father of the Bride, (or whoever is giving the bride away at the wedding), should give this toast. Again, it needs to be a thoughtful and sincere tribute to the bride and groom and an acknowledgement of the grooms parents in their role as mentors for their son. Make it positive and from the heart!
A wedding without a good toast or two is like a great meal without any dessert!