Giving a toast at a wedding can be a nerve-wracking experience, both for those who have to give it (like the Best Man or Maid of Honor), as well as for those who have to hear it. These esteemed folks who have the honor of speaking on your special day can make their toasts more memorable by keeping them simple, sincere, and entertaining, and you can help them out with this before they take the stage.
The Toasting Order
Traditionally, the toasting order proceeds as follows. The bride’s parents are the first up at bat, thanking everyone (wedding party and guests) for coming, if they so choose. Next comes the Best Man, and then the Matron of Honor says a few words, if there is one present, once the Best Man has completed his toast. Finally, the Maid of Honor says her piece, and the Bride and Groom can chime in afterwards with a quick thank-you to the guests, if they so choose.
Make sure to ask your DJ to serve as the toastmaster, bringing the speakers up to the microphone in the order in which they should speak.
When to Toast
The toast should be performed after dinner and before the cutting of the cake, as this ensures that the crowd has all gathered together and everyone is seated. It’s less likely that anyone will be off taking a restroom break or chatting in the lobby when the time comes to cut the cake.
Tips for Crowd Control
It is a good idea to let people know well enough in advance that you will want them to give a toast at your wedding. For instance, ask your Maid of Honor a few weeks before the wedding to make her speech to give her enough time to tell you if she thinks she might feel too shy to speak. Some people are just not up to the task of public speaking, so it’s a good idea to find out who that will be, if anyone, before it’s too late to plan anything different.
It may also be helpful to provide your speakers with some ideas as to what they should talk about, in case they aren’t quite sure of what to say. Maybe the Best Man can mention something funny that happened to him and the groom while they were growing up together (that’s appropriate for a mixed crowd, of course). Or the Maid of Honor can regale everyone with the adorable tale of how you and your soon-to-be-husband met, or the moment when she knew that you two were perfect for each other.
You should also take the proper precautions to prevent people from dragging out their toasts. A maximum of five minutes of speaking time is a good goal. Anything more than that and people might fall asleep in their soup. You can also ask your DJ to discreetly communicate to the speaker to wrap it up if their toast goes on for too long.
Another way to keep things running smoothly is to make sure that people understand that they shouldn’t pass the mic when they’ve finished speaking. This can quickly become disastrous, even with the best of intentions, since it’s probably not a good idea to just pass the mic to anyone. This may encourage folks to toast who may already be pretty toasted themselves, and then there’s no guarantee as to what they’ll say, how long they’ll take to say it, or how big of a spectacle they will make of themselves.
When it comes to wedding toasts, they should be short, entertaining, and heartfelt. No one should be forced to speak who isn’t comfortable with the idea, and you can always let your DJ step in to help keep the wordier people in check.