Wedding receptions are, undoubtedly, about the newly married couple in love, but there is still a lot going on.

Once the ceremony is over, the wedding day can quickly go from dignified to uproarious (in the best way possible, of course). The toast is possibly the last time every guest will be seated, hushed and focused on one thing all at the same time.

Traditionally, wedding toasts are given in the following order:

The Best Man
You might think that being Best Man is all about planning a raucous bachelor party and not much else, but the Best Man does have one major responsibility to prepare for: the toast. The Best Man should introduce himself and explain how he knows the couple. For example, he can tell the story of how he and the groom have been buddies since high school and how they met the bride-to-be during spring break their junior year of college. He can then say something positive about the couple and their relationship, show gratitude for being part of their day and wish them happiness.

Maid of Honor
While the Maid of Honor can follow the same outline as the Best Man’s speech, it’s more common to focus on the bride. Drawing from past experiences together, the Maid of Honor can tell a heartwarming or funny story from their friendship or from wedding planning escapades. For example, maybe the veil didn’t arrive until the day before the wedding or putting together the favors was a complete nightmare, but the bride managed to keep her cool through it all.

The Couple
Sometimes the couple will opt to make a toast, particularly if they are hosting the wedding. The main purpose of the speech by the couple is to thank everyone involved: the bridal party, family, and guests. Couples may also express their excitement about starting their new married life together.

Wedding Toast Length and Content
Keep it brief. One to two minutes is ideal, and three minutes is the max. Even if there’s a lot to say, talking for three minutes can feel like a long time! Just one message needs to be conveyed: one story, one wishes for the couple, one heartwarming song lyric. The best speeches don't necessarily have perfected, eloquent wording; instead, they evoke an emotion. Simple, short toasts can still be filled with charm.

When it comes to what to say, your intention should be to make both spouses and all guests smile...at the same time. Inside stories may amuse the couple, but they can easily get lost in the crowd. Don’t bring up old flames or problems the couple has faced. Not sure if that story from freshman year is appropriate? Leave it out - children, parents, and grandparents are listening! Avoid insult humor, too. Remember, this is a toast, not a roast!

Alternative and Extra Speech-Makers
Every couple has their own preferences and relationships, and nobody should ever feel forced to give a toast. If the Best Man or Maid of Honor isn’t comfortable speaking in front of a crowd (or if there isn’t a Best Man or Maid of Honor at all), either skip it or hand the baton to somebody who will love getting up in front of a sea of eager faces.

Weddings are a blast, but the speeches - whether heartfelt or hilarious - remind everyone why they’re there: to celebrate two people in love.

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