Q: What’s Proper Wedding Toast Etiquette?

Wedding toasts are either great or cringe-worthy…and there’s not much in between. If you want to ensure your toast is something to remember for the right reasons, check out what you should remember….and what you should avoid.


  • Be Prepared: You’re a member of the wedding party, so be ready to speak! Make a few notes, practice what you’re going to say in front of a mirror or some friends, and don’t forget to bring your notes with you should you feel like a deer in headlights when it’s actually time to toast.
  • Be Short & Sweet: Don’t go on forever. No one wants to hear it, and no one cares. Be short, sweet, and to the point with your toast. A few well-thought-out words is all you need to be memorable.
  • Remember Grandma: Think of the “grandmother test” when writing your toast…if you wouldn’t say it in front of Grandma, don’t say it. Period. This generally includes anything about drugs, alcohol, sex, and illegal activities.
  • Use The Formula: Put the tried-and-true wedding toast formula into practice. Start with “you,” aka the people the toast is about, then move on to “who,” or a brief anecdote about your relationship with the couple, and end with “do,” or what you hope for the couple in the future. Finally, extend your glass and say cheers.


  • Speaking When It Isn’t Right: Refrain from speaking when it’s simply not appropriate. For example, if you dated the bride or groom, now isn’t the time to mention it. Stay sensitive about the occasion and let family members or other close friends speak first.
  • Feeling “Led”: Stay off the “feeling led” train. What does this mean? “I wasn’t going to speak tonight, but….” If you’ve had a few drinks, it is not the time to give a speech. Just stay put. Or get some water. Or go boogie on the dance floor.
  • Doing The Group Thing: Don’t allow yourself to get sucked into a “group” toast. People aren’t really interested in the fact that you and four of your friends all lived with the bride or groom during college. Playing “hot potato” with the microphone is distracting…and that’s all.
  • Talking About Inside Jokes: No one except you and maybe a few others are going to get inside jokes and references. Everyone else is going to wonder what the heck you’re talking about. Stay clear of such talk and you’ll be fine.