Everything You Need to Know about Wedding Toasts


Plus 20 quotes to use in your own toasts

by Meg Keene, CEO & Editor-In-Chief

Close your eyes for a sec and think back to the last wedding toast you really, truly loved—what stood out about it? Was it jam-packed with lovely memories and rife with emotion? Was it tender and kind? Was it just flat-out funny? There are as many types of wedding toasts as there are people who give them, which means the world of wedding toasts can feel kind of gigantic. Add the fact that plenty of people have horrible stage fright when it comes to giving toasts, and figuring out how to handle wedding toasts can feel like a… project.

We thought it prudent to put together the ultimate APW guide to wedding toasts. Below you’ll get answers to everything (okay, almost everything!) you need to know: Who gives wedding toasts (and why)? What is the proper etiquette around wedding toasts these days? And why does everyone say that mostly men should speak at weddings? WE GOT YOU:

tips and etiquette for wedding toasts

who gives wedding toasts in the first place? The people who are most important to you and to your wedding give wedding toasts. Think your maid of honor, your best man, any and all of your parents, and maybe siblings or other people close to your heart that don’t have a specific title. Keep the list short and sweet, and if you have more people who want to speak, ask them to speak at your rehearsal dinner (or maybe even at a shower).

Of course, the history of wedding toasts is more complicated than this. For a long time, wedding toasts have been mostly the province of men, and even in progressive weddings, it can be easy for the people around you to revert to traditional norms, which means a whole lot of men will speak on your behalf, and very few women. So let’s dispense with all the bad advice that people will give you. NO, the “financier” of your wedding (if you have one), does not get a special toast. Paying for things does not earn you extra mic time. NO, it’s not true that your dad should speak because he has a special daddy-daughter connection, and your mom should smile quietly. If the mother-child connection isn’t special, I literally don’t know what is.

So throw out all that bullshit, and ask the people that are most important to you to say something. Remember that because wedding toasts have traditionally revolved around men, you should go out of your way to ask the women in your life to speak, and encourage them to do so. This may mean spelling out that while you want your dad to speak, you think your mom has something important and different to say, and you want her to speak also.

what order do wedding toasts go in? Wedding toasts should go in an order that makes sense to you, often ending with one of the most important people in your life. This means you should start with friends (maid of honor, best man, etc.), and then likely end with some words from your parents. If you and your partner want to close with a few words, that’s fine (but not necessary). Here is a sample outline:

  • Maid of Honor
  • Best Man
  • Bride’s Mom
  • Bride’s Dad
  • Groom’s Mom
  • Groom’s Dad
  • A few words from the couple

It’s wise to set the order of speaking in advance and have one trustworthy person in charge of passing the mic on to its next rightful owner who can make sure the toasts wrap up in a timely manner, so the reception can move on to the next event.

It will probably come as no surprise to you that many people will tell you that your toasts should start with the best man (and he should run the show), then maybe the maid of honor speaks, and then the bride’s father. It will also come as no surprise that we think this is the wrong answer. Order your toasts in a way that makes sense to you, and try to end on what you expect to be the most emotional toast last.

when do wedding toasts happen? If you’re having a formal wedding, the wedding toasts are usually delivered after the meal but before the dancing.  You can see more detail in our sample wedding timelines here. Wedding toasts are a great way to draw attention to the couple and remind everyone that it’s time to settle in and get down to the business of the wedding reception. However, wedding timelines vary, and not everyone is having a super formal wedding to begin with. In general, it’s probably a good idea to keep your wedding toasts before everyone is dancing, because once that party is unleashed, it might be hard to reel it back in.

what do we do while wedding toasts are going on? Some couples totally hate that the wedding toasts mean by nature that everyone is looking at them… but you know, it’s kind of one of those times when you have to grin and bear it. As someone who did exactly that during wedding toasts, worrying that they were boring everyone, I’d strongly suggest that you try to get out of your own head for a second and really soak it in. There are so few times that people that we love will stand up and tell a room full of people just how much they love us. It generally happens when we hatch, match, and dispatch, and this might well be the only such occasion that you’ll get to remember. So try to give in, and just let people love you.

Is Opening the Mic at the end of Wedding Toasts A Good Idea? No. No it is not. If you have people you love that you can’t fit into the toasting order, consider having them speak the night before at your rehearsal dinner. I know, I know. You have a lot of people there who love you a lot. But here is the thing. Once you open the mic to a bunch of slightly drunk people, you might never get to move on to the rest of the night. Pick the handful of people that you want to speak, and let everyone else just come give you a drunken hug.

What should be included in a wedding toast? We have two good tutorials on wedding toasts: one for the maid of honor, and one for the best man. (Guess which person we warn against telling off color jokes? Because seriously, don’t tell off color jokes.) But a general formula follows, and short and sweet always takes the day.

  1. I love you both so much.
  2. Insert anecdote or a story about the couple and how great they are, and how much you love them.
  3. I hope you are always happy.
  4. Toast!

30 real quotes THAT ARE PERFECT FOR WEDDING TOASTS

10 BOOK QUOTES FOR WEDDING TOASTS

  1. “A love story is not about those who lose their heart but about those who find that sullen inhabitant who, when it is stumbled upon, means the body can fool no one, can fool nothing—not the wisdom of sleep or the habit of social graces. It is a consuming of oneself and the past.”
    The English Patient
  2. “‘Is this the moment?’ Harry asked weakly, and when nothing happened except that Ron and Hermione gripped each other still more firmly and swayed on the spot, he raised his voice. ‘OI! There’s a war going on here!’ Ron and Hermione broke apart, their arms still around each other. ‘I know, mate,’ said Ron, who looked as though he had recently been hit on the back of the head with a Bludger, ‘so it’s now or never, isn’t it?’”
    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  3. “Maybe the first time you saw her you were ten. She was standing in the sun scratching her legs. Or tracing letters in the dirt with a stick. Her hair was being pulled. Or she was pulling someone’s hair. And a part of you was drawn to her, and a part of you resisted—wanting to ride off on your bicycle, kick a stone, remain uncomplicated. In the same breath you felt the strength of a man, and a self-pity that made you feel small and hurt. Part of you thought: Please don’t look at me. If you don’t, I can still turn away. And part of you thought: Look at me.”
    The History of Love
  4. “To return to love, to get the love we always wanted but never had, to have the love we want but are not prepared to give, we seek romantic relationships. We believe these relationships, more than any other, will rescue and redeem us. True love does have the power to redeem but only if we are ready for redemption. Love saves us only if we want to be saved.”
    All About Love: New Visions
  5. “To him she seemed so beautiful, so seductive, so different from ordinary people, that he could not understand why no one was as disturbed as he by the clicking of her heels on the paving stones, why no one else’s heart was wild with the breeze stirred by the sighs of her veils, why everyone did not go mad with the movements of her braid, the flight of her hands, the gold of her laughter. He had not missed a single one of her gestures, not one of the indications of her character, but he did not dare approach her for fear of destroying the spell.”
    Love in the Time of Cholera
  6. “‘Every atom of your flesh is as dear to me as my own: in pain and sickness it would still be dear. Your mind is my treasure, and if it were broken, it would be my treasure still: if you raved, my arms should confine you, and not a strait waistcoat—your grasp, even in fury, would have a charm for me: if you flew at me as wildly as that woman did this morning, I should receive you in an embrace, at least as fond as it would be restrictive. I should not shrink from you with disgust as I did from her: in your quiet moments you should have no watcher and no nurse but me; and I could hang over you with untiring tenderness, though you gave me no smile in return; and never weary of gazing into your eyes, though they had no longer a ray of recognition for me.’”
    Jane Eyre
  7. “The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust. A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development. But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky.”
    Letters to a Young Poet
  8. “‘I don’t like you, Park,’ she said, sounding for a second like she actually meant it. ‘I…’ – her voice nearly disappeared – ‘think I live for you.’ He closed his eyes and pressed his head back into his pillow. ‘I don’t think I even breathe when we’re not together,’ she whispered. ‘Which means, when I see you on Monday morning, it’s been like sixty hours since I’ve taken a breath. That’s probably why I’m so crabby, and why I snap at you. All I do when we’re apart is think about you, and all I do when we’re together is panic. Because every second feels so important. And because I’m so out of control, I can’t help myself. I’m not even mine anymore, I’m yours, and what if you decide that you don’t want me? How could you want me like I want you?’ He was quiet. He wanted everything she’d just said to be the last thing he heard. He wanted to fall asleep with ‘I want you’ in his ears.”
    Eleanor & Park
  9. “‘What are you going to do with your life?’ In one way or another it seemed that people had been asking her this forever; teachers, her parents, friends at three in the morning, but the question had never seemed this pressing and still she was no nearer an answer… ‘Live each day as if it’s your last,’ that was the conventional advice, but really, who had the energy for that? What if it rained or you felt a bit glandy? It just wasn’t practical. Better by far to be good and courageous and bold and to make difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you. Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.”
    One Day
  10. “We laugh and laugh, and nothing can ever be sad, no one can be lost, or dead, or far away: right now we are here, and nothing can mar our perfection, or steal the joy of this perfect moment.”
    The Time Traveler’s Wife

10 proverbs for wedding toasts

  1. “Health and life to you; The woman of your choice for you; A child every year for you; And may you die in Ireland.”
    —Irish proverb
  2. “If you want happiness for an hour—take a nap. If you want happiness for a day—go fishing. If you want happiness for a month—get married. If you want happiness for a year—inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime—help someone else.”
    —Chinese proverb
  3. “Deep love is stronger than life.”
    —Jewish proverb
  4. “Nothing is real but dreams and love.”
    —Anna de Noailles
  5. “Where there is love, there is no darkness.”
    —Burundi proverb
  6. “Love itself is calm; turbulence arrives from individuals.”
    —Chinese proverb
  7. “Don’t just take love, experience it.”
    —Persian proverb
  8. “The heart that loves is always young.”
    —Greek proverb
  9. “Let your love be like the misty rain, coming softly but flooding the river.”
    —Liberian proverb
  10. “The best part of happiness lies is in the secret heart of a lover.”
    —Ugandan proverb

10 quotes from women for wedding toasts

  1. “If any female feels she need anything beyond herself to legitimate and validate her existence, she is already giving away her power to be self-defining, her agency.”
    —bell hooks
  2. “Love is everything it’s cracked up to be. That’s why people are so cynical about it. It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.”
    —Erica Jong
  3. “Maybe the point is that any marriage is work, but you may as well pick work you like.”
    —Mindy Kaling
  4. “Don’t settle for a relationship that won’t let you be yourself.”
    —Oprah
  5. “Being married is like having somebody permanently in your corner. It feels limitless, not limited.”
    —Gloria Steinem
  6. “We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond.”
    —Gwendolyn Brooks
  7. “The best marriages, like the best lives, were both happy and unhappy. There was even a kind of necessary tension, a certain tautness between the partners that gave the marriage strength, like the tautness of a full sail.”
    —Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  8. “It’s all about falling in love with yourself and sharing that love with someone who appreciates you, rather than looking for love to compensate for a self love deficit.”
    —Eartha Kitt
  9. “Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years. That is what makes a marriage last.”
    —Simone Signoret
  10. “Rich or poor, you have a better chance of keeping him—and keeping him interested—if you belong to something or someone besides him.”—Helen Gurley Brown

did you have wedding toasts at your wedding? which wedding toasts meant the most to you? which wedding toasts could you have… done without? what advice would you give to people who are giving wedding toasts (and to couples who are planning receptions around them)?

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. She has written two best selling wedding books: A Practical Wedding and A Practical Wedding Planner. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and two children. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com. #NASTY

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  • What I really, really hate, though, is the extent to which people feel they have to stick to the traditional “Father of the Bride, Groom, Best Man” line up (in the UK it’s always that order, too) – I honestly judge couples harder for that than i do for other misogynistic traditions like giving away the bride, because I can easily imagine a relationship that transcends the history of other traditions, which is much harder for speeches. “Thank you for coming”, “thank you for coming”, “let me tell you a stag night anecdote” is an easy tradition to challenge without offending people!

    Question: are slideshows common at US weddings for the best man’s speech? I think they’ve peaked in the UK, but there was a phase where no best man speech was complete without being accompanied by a Powerpoint of nude baby photos, blurry stag night shots, a bunch of clip art and (if you were lucky) one nice photo of the couple from facebook.

    • Amy March

      Not particularly common, no. They certainly aren’t happening at most weddings. In general US weddings seem to have less toasts than UK ones.

      • Count yourselves lucky you’ve been spared that fad then! 10 minutes of faffing around to set it up, always led to 20+ minute long speeches, no one could ever even see it… When it comes to abiding memories of people’s weddings, I have more memories of technical difficulties than I have of speeches XD

        • Amy March

          Omg 30 minutes on one speech alone? That’s why you need these all day long weddings!

    • Eve

      I’ve been to a few weddings where there were slideshows, but they usually happened while we were all waiting in the church before the ceremony. Never during speeches.

    • Shirley Schmidt

      Ugh, the best man PowerPoint! Managed to escape them at UK weddings so far…
      My dad, who is a science teacher turned lecturer, is seriously/jokingly (you never can tell) considering a PowerPoint with “lesson objectives”, props and all that jazz for his speech. I’ve told him to go ahead if he wants to – it will be hilarious and touching and is very much who he is and what our relationship is like. I did draw the line at props though!

  • Clare C

    My favourite wedding toast I’ve ever seen was at a high school friend’s wedding. Her father, who is from Bulgaria, was welcoming her new husband to the family (Bulgarians out numbered all other guests at the wedding) and related this to how he was welcomed to Australia by the first friends he ever made here, a couple who were also at the wedding. So slightly drunk father started singing the first English song he ever learnt (that they had taught him, not a song I had ever heard before) and had us all singing along with him…It was totally ridiculous but so heartfelt. Made me tear up.
    In that vein I’m worried that any toasts will just have me in tears the whole time. This happened at my 21st and with my father now passed away it will just be all the more emotional. Any tips for not crying? Or at least doing so nicely?

    • Amy March

      Bring a hankie, wear waterproof mascara, and let it go. Or have them at the rehearsal dinner if you don’t want to cry at the wedding.

      • accidental_diva

        This!(rehearsal dinner) my dad’s toast at my brother’s wedding had everyone sobbing (in the best way) I’m really glad they did it when there were only 30 of us rather than 300

  • Katharine Parker

    I like the quote, but unless it’s a different Rainer Maria Rilke than the Austrian writer, he doesn’t belong in “quotes by women.”

    • ruth

      I was going to point this out too! To my knowledge there has only been one author by the name Rainer Maria Rilke, and he was definitely a dude. Not that it isn’t a wonderful quote, but in the interest of factual accuracy it needs to be said

      • megs

        yeah, came down here for the same reason! Love him, but definitely male.

    • Pton Grl

      Definitely a dude and that quote (in context) is definitely more about a breakup than a successful marriage…pet peeve when people use it in toasts.

      • K. is skittish about disqus

        I give people a pass because A) most aren’t Rilke scholars and aren’t aware of his overall themes and B) he *does* write on how love (both romantic and nonromantic) requires the preservation of the individual to almost an extreme, so even if this specific context is about a breakup, it’s not totally misrepresenting Rilke’s POV.

        Signed, wife of a guy who wrote his thesis on The Elegies (so my knowledge is a bit more second-hand!)

        • Pton Grl

          Fair! My dissertation advisor is a Rilke scholar (I definitely did not write about Rilke!) but every time she teaches him (and every time I TA’d for her) she’d always talk about cringing through wedding toasts that use Rilke and so I think she passed the aversion along to me :)

    • stephanie

      Fixed it! That section as originally titled “feminist quotes” and I totally forgot to drop that quote when it was changed. Thanks!!

      • CMT

        Did you take the quote out or move it? I can’t seem to find it and all these comments have piqued my interest!

        • penguin

          She took it out. I think it was this one: “Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.”

          Not positive it was that one, but it looks like the most likely one from a quick Google search (and the only one that sounded a little familiar to me).

          • ssha

            I love this quote! I couldn’t find a place to include it in our ceremony or I would have.

  • Amy March

    If you are going to have all four parents and a maid of honor and the best man speak at the wedding, really make sure they have time limits or all of a sudden people have been listening to toasts for a long time!

    • Meg Keene

      ALWAYS HAVE TIME LIMITS. ALWAYS.

      Nothing went off the rails at our wedding, but I can’t even talk about our daughter’s baby naming. I mean, THERE WERE TIME LIMITS, but we couldn’t exactly gong them off. Such a hot mess.

      • penguin

        Did you have a ceremony to name your baby, or time limits during a discussion about it or something?

        • Engaged Chicago

          There is a Jewish custom/ceremony for (girl) baby namings (boys’ occurs at the bris) so I’m guessing it may have been in reference to that.

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    • Jane

      And shorter toasts often turn out better than long ones anyway.

  • AmandaBee

    If toasts by all 4 parents individually feels like a bit much, consider asking if they’d like to do a “couple’s toast”.

    At our wedding, my dad and stepmom did their toast together (real talk: because my dad is bad at this kind of thing and my stepmom does communications for a living so we all figured it would be good if they worked on it together). And, actually, it turned out really nicely! Later, my in-laws said they wish they had thought of that and presented together instead of just having my father-in-law do it. If I could do it again, I’d ask both sets of parents if they’d like to give toasts together.

    Also: if you don’t have a relationship with a parent, don’t feel like you have to give them a toast. My mom did not speak because, frankly, she had little to do with my upbringing and doesn’t know much about my relationship with my now-husband. It was a tricky call to make, but I’m glad we didn’t ask her. Every family has different dynamics and if yours are such that you don’t feel like you want your parent (or whomever) up there with you, you don’t HAVE to just because that’s the tradition.

    • Anna

      I want both my parents to speak, and would be totally cool with them speaking together, but they’re divorced… amicably divorced, but still, I feel like that’s a pretty intimate thing to share with one’s former spouse. Especially given that both of their current significant others will also be there. They also have very different speaking styles, so… I don’t know.

      We’re also trying to feel out whether fiance’s parents will be relieved or miffed if we ask them to give toasts at the rehearsal dinner (which they are hosting, and which all the wedding guests are invited to) rather than at the wedding reception. Our guess is that they’d probably prefer it that way (i.e., they’d rather give toasts at the rehearsal dinner than the wedding, just for like… personality reasons) but if we’re wrong, I worry it’ll sound like a snub.

      • AmandaBee

        I totally agree that it would be weird to have them speak together in that scenario unless they are the ones to propose it – in my situation, it was my stepmom and my dad that spoke together (and my husband’s parents are still married). So that’s a good qualifier – couples speeches probably make the most sense when they’re still couples.

        Any possibility of fiance feeling out what his parents would prefer? Just a quick: “Hey it would mean a lot to us if you gave a toast, do you have a preference between doing it at the wedding or the rehearsal?” Then you don’t have to guess!

  • Anon for this

    Serious question: what do you do when you’re concerned about someone making an awkward/inappropriate toast? The best man is my fiance’s younger brother, and he’s 15 and immature and makes a LOT of inappropriate comments/off color jokes in everyday life, so I have some serious reservations about giving him a microphone in front of 100 people. Whenever the speech comes up FH tries to emphasize to his brother how important it is, but his brother is definitely not taking it seriously. FH wants to give him a chance and just have someone review his speech the day before, but I’m still nervous he’s going to get up and say something horribly embarrassing.

    • Amy March

      Have another drink and move on. If it’s important to your fiancé that his brother give a toast, there’s not a lot you can do about it. FI could try and sit down with him and go over guidelines, request to see a copy of the draft, but at the end of the day 15 year old boys are gonna do what they are gonna do. And depending on the set up, have a signal to cut his microphone if needed.

    • S

      I guess my answer depends what you mean by ” FH tries to emphasize to his brother how important it is.” I feel like there’s a strong possibility that he’s pointed out a few times it’s important, sure…but maybe hasn’t actually made his little brother stop for a second, just stop, sit down, and listen to your FH spell out very explicitly that this it is actually not the time or place for inappropriate jokes and that you will both be hurt if he goes down that path after being told not to. Because with a 15 year old boy? They need to just be told. A casual, “please take this seriously buddy” or “dude, this is important to us” isn’t going to cut the mustard here.

      • Anon for this

        He’s tried talking to him about it a few times, but unfortunately his brother can get really argumentative and conversations don’t always go well. And even FH’s mom has been very dismissive about it. So it’s extra hard when other people aren’t taking it seriously either.

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

      Is there an older, more mature groomsman who can coach him through it? Sometimes the cool older dude has more influence than family. That would also allow him to keep the contents of his toast a surprise to his brother.

      • AmandaBee

        Yeah, I think this might be a role for big brother or another older member of the wedding party. If you’re really concerned that it goes off the rails, you could ask for a draft. Or it may help to give little bro some specific examples of things that would absolutely not be appropriate. He’s young, so I don’t think a little bit of strong-arming isn’t entirely unwarranted.

        But, also, bad toasts happen and as long as it’s nothing horribly hurtful or offensive I think ya’ll just move on and laugh about it later (easier said than done of course!)

        • Anon for this

          Yeah, I’m more worried about it veering into the “offensive” category sadly :( There are a lot of family issues there, but suffice it to say that somewhere along the line, little bro missed the memo on what is/is not appropriate to say to people in public.

          I would hope he would know what’s appropriate to say during a toast at a wedding, but the kid’s a wild card to be honest.

          • AmandaBee

            Yeah, I would not trust any teenager to know what’s appropriate at a wedding. Sounds like someone needs to be super clear about it, with examples. Like “here are things you could say” and “here are things you definitely should not say or we’ll be very hurt”.

    • penguin

      Does he need to give a toast? Does your fiancé want him to, or just feels like he has to let him give a toast?

      • Anon for this

        That is a great question. I’m not sure if it’s important to FH that his brother specifically gives the toast, or if he just thinks that since he’s the best man he needs to give a toast. I think it’s more the latter, so maybe he’d be okay with having one of his groomsmen (who, arguably, know us better as a couple) give the toast instead.

    • K. is skittish about disqus

      I would gently point out that while it will be definitely embarrassing for you, at the end of the day, it will be the 15-year-old kid who will look *bad* to all of your wedding guests. If it’s really important to your fiance, it’s really important to your fiance. But I (again, gently) caution that if you think his off-color jokes are more or less inevitable, you may be setting a young teen up for an embarrassment/backlash he doesn’t fully understand and it may be kinder ultimately for him not to give a toast. It honestly sounds like he may not be developmentally up for this.

      • Anon for this

        I’ll have to mention that to FH and see what he thinks. I think he really wants to give his brother a chance, but I do agree that he’s maybe not emotionally mature enough for it. And I would feel bad about possibly setting him up for embarrassment. He’s the type of kid who will say things he thinks are funny, but in reality they go over like a lead balloon.

  • theteenygirl

    Looking for some advice. My mum has no interest in speaking at the wedding, which is fine as she is not an extroverted person and it would be really uncomfortable for her. I would really like my dad to say a few words and I think he will agree to, though I’m concerned that he will feel outshadowed by my fiance’s dad who also wants to speak. My parents barely have a high school education and while they have done so well for themselves, they have always felt uncomfortable around people with higher education. My future in laws are both Standford educated, quite well off people, and my future father in law is also an exceptional speaker. Like, writes speeches for a living type speaker. So I know I will have my dad speak first, but I’m really really worried about him feeling like his words “aren’t good enough”. Any advice on how to ask him and encourage him? Does anyone else have parents who are intimated by your in laws or future in laws?

    • Could you ask them to give a speech together, so rather than ‘competing’ they’re collaborating? If your dad sees your FFIL’s skills as part of his job and something anyone can learn, it might make them less intimidating.

      • theteenygirl

        That’s actually a really good idea, but unfortunately I can’t see it working in our circumstance. Our parents have never met, and they live in Montana whereas my parents live in Ontario.

    • AmandaBee

      Can you emphasize how much it means to you that he’s able to speak to your childhood and relationship? Ultimately, the best speeches I’ve seen aren’t the fanciest – they’re the ones with real emotion stemming from real love and a shared history. I don’t know if you can entirely erase any bad feelings he might have, but I would try to emphasize the emotional/relationship aspects of the speech rather than the performative aspect.

      • theteenygirl

        Thanks for your advice. They are so worried about the wedding because it’s a three day event and they are so concerned about how they will act around his family and whether they’ll be able to talk to them. I appreciate that they hold highly educated people with such high regard (it’s a huge part of the reason why my sisters and I went to university) but they are holding them on this pedestal I don’t think is fair for either of them.

        • AmandaBee

          Navigating social class/education gaps is hard! My in-laws don’t have that much of a gap with my family, but as a (nearly)-PhD educated person raised by family that didn’t go to college, I get that reaction from family sometimes too.

          Sometimes I tell funny stories or minor complaints that I think help my family see that super educated people like the ones I work with are also human beings/have flaws/sometimes suck at stuff. And, especially leading up to my wedding, I tried to make sure my family knows why I respect/value them and how much I appreciate their support. I don’t know if you can take away all that discomfort but hopefully you can help them see what they’re bringing to table, kwim?

          • theteenygirl

            I totally get that! I think one of the best things for my parents is the fact that they are contributing $5,000 to our wedding (an unexpected gift that literally made me sit down because I was so shocked), but his family is not really helping out. They are hosting a reception in their home state which will be somewhat of an expense but not to that degree. And when I told my parents that their gift was INCREDIBLE and we were so thankful, I made sure to tell them why it made such a difference in our tiny budget. That made them feel really good. I don’t want to make it about the money but for them.. it’s about the money.

    • sofar

      In addition to having him speak first, there’s not a ton you can do.

      I had a similar situation at my wedding and, really, it’s just unavoidable sometimes. I get wanting to make everyone feel comfortable and not making anyone feel “less than.” And it’s just heartbreaking to know that someone who loves you SO MUCH may end up feeling inferior. But all you can do is give a platform to those who love you and know, in your heart, that that’s enough.

      After your dad does his speech, give him a giant hug and say, “Thank you so much for doing that for me.”

      And FWIW, my favorite father-of-the-bride speech over the years was given by a father who HATED public speaking and did not WANT to go up there and was shaking visibly, but did it for his daughter.

      • theteenygirl

        Thanks for this, I’m sorry you had a similar situation but I feel comforted to know I’m not the only one. He’s not really a big mushy guy but when he decides to be it is the cutest thing. I know I’m going to love whatever he says no matter what.. just have to let him know that :)

    • Meg Keene

      To be TOTALLY honest, the best wedding toast are the heartfelt “I love my daughter so much” ones. It is one of those things where education doesn’t matter much. The more you can assure him of that, the better off he’ll be.

  • savannnah

    My father in law has a history of inappropriate and bad speeches (both my fiance’s brothers weddings had cringe worthy embarrassing toasts that are still talked about today and my fiance is the baby so he’ll be even more emotional) and we’ve mitigated this somewhat by having all parents give toasts if they want to during the rehearsal dinner. We are doing only best man and woman toasts during the reception. My father is marrying us however and I just don’t think we are going to get through a wedding reception with an open bar without father in law grabbing the mic. I’ve come to terms with it and will head for the bar when and if it happens.

    • Is grabbing the mic literal or figurative? Because if it’s literal you can get the venue staff to hide it! If it’s figurative, and it’s a small enough venue he’ll be able to get everyone attention, then you might just have to grin and bear it.

      • savannnah

        I tend to think it will be both?

    • Jane

      I will cross my fingers for you that the father in law will get all of the toasts out of his system at the rehearsal dinner.

  • Eenie

    We had: my dad, his dad, my best friend (my other best friend had a seizure during this toast, and subsequently did not give her toast), husband’s best friend, husband’s other best friend/emcee. It was lopsided in terms of gender, but neither of our moms wanted to give a toast (hated speaking in public, English as a second language).
    Speeches took forever because of the seizure/calling 911/guest leaving in an ambulance thing. Our emcee/best friend really saved us as he calmed the crowd and put music back on without any prompting from us. I think the really crucial thing was having him give the last speech and do the wrap-up and on with dancing. We had a five minute ceremony and warned the speakers their speech should not be longer than that! All obliged – my father in law was so choked up his speech was “I love you both so much.” Ended with hugs all around.

  • Arie

    Toasts ended up being unexpectedly dramatic at our wedding. We had planned to only have parents give toasts, and my (difficult, attention-seeking) SIL showed up with one already written. She did not ask us if she could give a toast, and never mentioned it to us. We found out about her plans because my MIL casually dropped a “oh, and of course SIL will give a toast,” knowing full well that the plan was to have only parents speak. My SIL refused to speak to either of us all weekend, and my MIL’s speech was about “all her children and their partners,” not us specifically, I guess to try and accommodate her? It’s one of those wedding things I have had a hard time letting go of. Thankfully (I guess?) my husband is pretty used to SIL’s behavior and just shrugged it off when she iced us out all weekend, which set a good example for me to not let her ruin anything.

  • spinning2heads

    We had a friend whose job it was to hide the microphone after the ceremony and never let anyone give any kind of toast. I stand behind that decision. And if you think yours are likely to go awry, I recommend considering eliminating them! Worked for me.

    • Meg Keene

      Yeah I 100% think this is a know your people situation. In the case of say… difficult family… eleminating them is wise. So much of wedding planning is harm reduction, if your family isn’t easy.

    • We have already designated someone to hide the mic for our wedding next month because of…certain family members we know will want to give impromptu innappropriate toasts.

  • Caitlin

    We are planning to have 3 toasts. It was important for my fiancé that his brother (Best Man) gave a toast and I decided that I would rather have my sister (Bridesmaid, I’m not having a Maid of Honor) speak than either of my parents (my parents are separated so I feel very strongly that my sister is the only person who can speak for both sides of my family in welcoming my fiancé in to our family – it would be super weird for me if my Dad was speaking on behalf of my Mum). My fiancé and I will then be speaking together to do all the thank you’s and say some nice things about each other.

    At a recent wedding, the bride and groom did a joint speech which was the story of their relationship from each of their perspectives. It was adorable and really funny.

  • Hannah

    so timely! We are just trying to sort this out. We had talked about having siblings give toasts as we are not having best man/MOH, but then my (divorced) parents (with whom I had spoken about my toast plans) casually mentioned that they are giving a team toast (!). Then my future father-in-law’s partner revealed an elaborate toast plan for the rehearsal dinner that messed with our other plans. Toast madness! (July 1 wedding!)

  • Fundamentalist Anonymous

    Probably not the vibe you’re going for, but that Jewish proverb is actually “Love is stronger than death.”

  • ssha

    Do people ask us if they want to toast? Or do we ask them? I was sort of informed that my fiance’s dad is speaking, I offered the chance to my sisters, and a friend is speaking, but should I offer to my parents as well? I know it’s not about “fairness” but I really don’t know how one goes about this.

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