Today's Bride

Steps for a Successful Toast


Writing a toast is probably one of the hardest speeches to write; not only do you have to set up a structure, but you have to balance humor with emotion, make sure it covers the essentials but doesn’t run too long, and doesn’t bore the guests. On top of that, you then have to actually give the speech. As in, stand up in front of over 100 people and speak…from the heart. Shudder.

We’ve comprised an outline for each major toasts to make it easier to compose. When it comes to giving it, you’re on your own, though we’ll give you some tips to help you relax and sound unrehearsed.

Rehearsal Dinner

Wedding Toast | Genevieve Nisly Photography | As seen on

Genevieve Nisly Photography

Bride or Groom

During the Rehearsal Dinner, it is customary for one member of the engaged couple to give a speech welcoming his or her guests. When writing this speech, you’ll first want to acknowledge all of your out-of-town guests and thank everyone for coming. Start with a cute story about your fiancé – how you first met, your thoughts when you met him/her, when you knew you were in love, etc. This is a great way to begin celebrating your love and the new journey you’ll be embarking on. Next, salute your fiance’s parents and thank them for raising such a wonderful person. You can also thank them for his/her hand in marriage and for welcoming you into their family. Don’t forget to thank your parents, too! Conclude your speech by thanking and introducing the wedding party.


Wedding Toast | OH Snap! Photography | As seen on

OH Snap! Photography


The Maid/Matron-of-Honor has the opportunity to bring tears to the guests’ eyes. Usually these speeches have sentimental content and a more emotional impact than the Best Man’s speech. Mentioning how long you’ve known each other is a great way to start. This allows for a smooth transition into a story about how you would plan your weddings together, remembering how they gushed over their now-fiancé after their first date, etc. Your goal is to make the bride cry! Just make sure she’s wearing waterproof mascara. Finish by saying what a privilege it was to be asked to stand by her side, how happy you are for them both, and wishing them well. If you want to lighten the mood, you can do a friendly threat or jab at the groom, but that’s optional and only appropriate if you know the groom well.

Wedding Toast | Orchard Photography | As seen on

Orchard Photography

Best Man

Typically, the Best Man’s speech is funny, light-hearted, and one of the highlights of the reception. Unlike the Maid/Matron-of-Honor, it doesn’t usually feature a sentimental theme, but that doesn’t mean it can’t! To structure your speech, start with a friendly anecdote. This story should not be new to the bride, and ensure that it doesn’t cast a bad light on ANYONE at the reception! The story can be about the first time you met the bride, how you and the groom know each other, or a funny story about the two of you (as long as it’s relevant). Conclude with saying how honored you are to know them and be a part of this big day, and wish them well in their marriage.


  • If you are not typically a funny person, this probably isn’t the time to try out a new joke. Stick with what you know.
  • Speak from the heart. The best speeches are given when you truly mean what you’re saying. They’re also typically the easiest to memorize. Make it personal to the bride/groom.
  • Know your audience. If you are speaking to a group of people who aren’t heavy drinkers, don’t tell a story about the time the groom was completely wasted. If there are religious or ethnic customs being followed, don’t say anything offensive or insulting. Though you are talking to the bride and groom, keep in mind the others who are listening.
  • Rehearse in the mirror. It feels extremely silly talking to yourself, but trust us, this one works really well! You’ll get to practice inflections, find out if something sounds completely different than it did in your head, and get comfortable speaking. Having an idea of what you’re saying next will make you more comfortable when you’re standing up in front of a room full of people. When you’re practicing, keep track of how many times you see yourself in the mirror. Eye-contact with your audience is so important. No one wants to watch a speaker who is staring at a paper. It means so much more when you look at the couple or acknowledge the room. Practice, practice, practice until you are looking up at least twice in each sentence.

Speaking in front of more than 100 people can be very intimidating – you’re not alone! – but as long as you speak from the heart and add a personal touch, you can’t go wrong. Even though all eyes will be on you, remember that your toast should be about the bride and groom. Thank them for your participation, congratulate their love, and honor your friend. Cheers to their happiness and your success! Happy speech-writing!

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