If you’re having a traditional wedding with all the bells and whistles, then you’ll want to get everything just right. In the planning phase, one thing which is often overlooked is the wedding toast etiquette for the head table so here is the traditionally perceived wedding toast etiquette.
Obviously, you may not want to have too many toasts and speeches but if you want the full nine yards, this is the order in which they should occur.
• The father of the bride will start the proceedings by introducing himself and welcoming the guests. He will go on to thank anyone who has helped to organise the wedding then he will talk about his daughter and probably embarrass her by recounting stories of her childhood. He will welcome the groom to his family and then will toast the bride and groom, although traditionally it was the bride who received the toast on her special day.
• The groom responds to the father of the bride’s toast, usually complementing his new in-laws on their lovely daughter. The groom will re-iterate any thanks necessary to people who helped to organise the wedding and to the guests for turning up, particularly if they’ve had to travel a long way. It is normal for the groom to tell his hew bride how wonderful she looks and how happy she has made him. He then toasts the bridesmaids and takes his only opportunity to thank his best man and perhaps get in first with a funny story.
• If the bride is to make a speech then now is the time, otherwise the groom should have spoken on her behalf.
• Now to the best man who will thank the groom on behalf of the bridesmaids. He will chat about the couple and will usually come up with some amusing anecdotes about the groom. If he knows the bride very well she will probably be the butt of a couple of digs too. The groom continues by reading cards (in the old days it was telegrams) from people who were unable to be present and he finishes by toasting the newly weds.
These days, all sorts of people want to get involved in the speeches, parents from both sides and sometimes even the maid of honour. If this is the case, they should speak after the bride if she is making a speech or if not, after the groom.
If there are to be a lot of speeches and toasts, it may be as well to split them up between courses or your guests will be starving before the wedding breakfast is served.
Finally, speeches shouldn’t be too long, the speaker should still be sober and the jokes should not be too risqué, particularly if there are elderly members of the family present.
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