8 Expert Tips for Wedding Toasts

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Don’t become a wedding toast casualty. Learn eight great toasting guidelines from David Tutera of WE tv’s The Wedding Planner and author of My Fair Wedding: Finding Your Vision… Through His Revisions!

A great toast will make you laugh (not cringe), bring back special memories, and tug at the heartstrings. It’s always a lovely gesture for the bride and groom to stand up and toast their guests. This is their chance to thank everyone for attending, and also an appropriate time to pay tribute to any family members who may have passed on. Next to the ceremony itself toasts are often among the most emotional moments of the entire wedding. So it’s important to get them right! Here are my toasting guidelines:

  • Toasts should be given during the reception — not the cocktail hour. The best time to start the toasts is after the guests have been seated and the first course has been served.

  • Each set of toasts should be announced — in an elegant manner — by the band leader or DJ (no used-car salesman voices, please!). Also make sure that the master of ceremonies knows the proper pronunciation for all toast-givers (if there are tricky names on the list, provide a cheat sheet with phonetic spellings).
  • Break up the toasts within your wedding timeline, so you can create special “moments” throughout the evening. For example, a great idea is to schedule them during each dinner course.
  • Follow the traditional toast-giving order:
  1. Bride’s parents (typically, the father of the bride will give the toast)
  2. Groom’s parents (note: if the groom’s parents are hosting, then they should go first)
  3. Best man and maid of honor or matron of honor
  4. Bride and groom

Note: If the bride and groom are hosting the wedding themselves, then the toasting order is what you choose and are comfortable with doing.

  • Remember: toasts do not equal speeches! Each toast should be kept short and sweet, preferably under three minutes and absolutely no more than five.
  • The toasts themselves should include, in this order: a welcome, a thank-you, and a special heartfelt sentiment.
  • Don’t forget to practice your speech. Rehearse them with friends and keep them as a surprise for your families.
  • Avoid being caught unprepared. The bride and groom must both be in the room, seated together, during every toast. And each toast-giver should know exactly when they’re up and where to stand with microphone in hand. Finally, don’t forget to have your champagne glass within reach!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Tutera, author of My Fair Wedding: Finding Your Vision… Through His Revisions! (Copyright © 2011 WE: Women’s Entertainment LLC), is one of the biggest names in the wedding industry, renowned for his wedding design and production firm that has catered to the bridal needs of celebrities like Star Jones and Antonio Pierce of the New York Giants. And, while not for weddings, David Tutera has also counted Jennifer Lopez, Matthew McConaughey, Elton John, and Barbara Walters as satisfied customers. David will debut his own line of wedding dresses in Fall 2009 at bridal retail stores and boutiques nationwide. Additionally, “Disney’s Couture Wedding Collection by David Tutera” is a line of four wedding decor packages designed for Walt Disney World and Disneyland in California. David has been featured as a wedding expert on several television shows, including The Tyra Banks Show, The Bonnie Hunt Show, The View, TBS’s Movie and a Makeover, Good Morning America, The Today Show, and Fox and Friends. David is often featured in magazines and in printed publications, from Town and Country to The New York Times, Redbook, Cosmopolitan, and more.

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