I was at a wedding recently where the best man made two fatal mistakes. First, he didn’t take the time to prepare what he was going to say and, second, he was highly “toasted” by the time his big moment rolled around. “Embarassing” doesn’t begin to describe it. I guess it will be funny when they watch the wedding video on their 25th anniversary. Meanwhile, I figured there’s got to be some tips on toasting etiquette (with number one being “Stay sober until your toast has been given!” I found some expert advice online at Sideroads.come/wedding, and I thought I’d pass it along, because no wedding takes place without at least one toast, and usually more.

Toasting Tips

Here’s their suggested order for toasting during the rehearsal dinner: 1) the best man toasts the bride, 2) the bride toasts the groom, 3) the groom toasts the bride’s mother and 4) the bride’s father toasts the groom parents. And at the reception: 1) the best man toasts the bride and groom, 2) the groom toasts the bride and her family, 3) the two fathers toast the bride and groom and 4) the bride and groom toast each other. Here are 12 additional tips:

  • Keep the toast short, no more than three-to-five minutes, and maintain eye contact with whomever you’re toasting.
  • Stand up when you toast. If the toast is for you, stay seated.
  • Make sure all the glasses are full before you begin your toast.
  • Start with your relationship to the bride and groom so everyone will know who you are.
  • When possible, use personal anecdotes–how the bride and groom met, what the groom was like as a little boy, how you met them.
  • Avoid a string of characteristics. Use adjectives instead, like “she’s lovely, down-to-earth and fun to be with.”
  • Use tasteful humor and stay away from “in” jokes that only you and a very few others will get. Don’t offend anyone with your humor.
  • Keep it clean. There may be kids around.
  • End your toast on a serious note. Finish with a wish, cheers, congratulations to the bride and groom.
  • Practice, practice, practice!
  • Don’t mention past girlfriends, boyfriends, marriages or relationships. Save it for the bachelor party if you must bring up the past.
  • Don’t end with something negative, like “I hope their marriage lasts longer than mine did.” Preparation and practice will help prevent this faux pas.

As the bride, you can make sure that those who will be giving toasts at your reception receive these tips. You’ll be doing them a favor. And I’m sure, since several of the toasts put the focus on you and your groom, you’ll want the loveliest, keepsake toasting flutes you can find. Here are several ideas, from traditional to contemporary:

Straight from the Age of Romance, the flutes on the left have satin-finished pewter bases, a traditional design with open hearts, a twisted stem, an embossed base, and like all three styles, can be personalized with your names and wedding date. The Royal toasting flutes on the right, regal and elegant, feature a sleek shape, a modern etched design and crystals that make them sparkle. Metals are very in, these days, in toasting flutes and in wedding favors.
If you’re into contemporary design, the flutes on the left reside in a magnificent, tapered crystal vase that can be filled with ice, rose petals, crystals or other small items to coordinate with your wedding decor. As long as we’re here together, I’d like to propose a toast to the happy couple! Long life, happy marriage and all your dreams fulfilled–to the bride and groom!

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