Keeping Wedding Toasts Short and Sweet

I recently had the opportunity to offer my perspectives about wedding toasts to a writer for Brides Magazine, which has just published an online article called “THIS Is How You Tell Someone You Don’t Want Them Giving a Speech at Your Wedding.”  Here is the complete version of the advice I provided:

Toasts are carefully scheduled by the Wedding Planner in the wedding day timeline, which is sent out two weeks before the wedding.  So they are not extemporaneous.  Typically, the toasts are given in the following order:  The Best Man traditionally gives the first toast; per newer traditions, the Maid or Matron of Honor follows the Best Man; then the Father of the Bride follows the Maid or Matron of Honor.  These three toasts are given when guests are seated prior to dinner (or the main meal) being served.

Photo: Dennis DeSilva, Studio Seven

Photo: Dennis DeSilva, Studio Seven

These toasts need to be “short and sweet” for two important reasons:

  1. The First Course is ready to be served (or perhaps food stations open) immediately after the completion of the three toasts. If the toasts went beyond the scheduled time, the chefs and banquet staff would be extremely upset.  Chefs do not like to serve wilted salads, cold soups or any other type of food that is delayed from being brought to the guests.  Basically it is extremely important to time the toasts carefully with the Banquet Staff, so any unscheduled toasts would not be appropriate.
Photo: Withers Wanberg Pictures

Photo: Withers Wanberg Pictures

  1. If the 3 individuals – Best Man, Maid or Matron of Honor and Father of the Bride – exceed their designated time (typically, they are asked to keep it to 3 minutes each, for a total of 9-10 minutes) not only will the Banquet Team be unhappy, but from my years of experience as a wedding planner, the wedding guests will not be happy either! Guests do not appreciate listening to long-winded “Roasts or Speeches” which are not suitable for weddings.   Also, the toasts need to be understood by all guests – no “inside jokes” that most guests would not understand.

Following the meal, typically during the band or DJ break, there are 2 additional toasts that take place during the Cake Cutting Ceremony.  Prior to actually cutting the cake, the Bride and Groom are positioned at cake table, and the Groom toasts his lovely bride for the first time, then the Bride may reciprocate the Groom’s Toast.

Photo:  Paco & Betty

Photo: Paco & Betty

Additional toasts are not appropriate at this time, because the guests want to eat cake and dance the night away!

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