The question has been popped and accepted, the wedding planning is complete, and the RSVP’s have been tallied. It is now time for the happy couple to say I do. But before the wedding ceremony takes place, there is a wedding rehearsal the day before followed with dinner.
You are expected to give a toast to the bride and groom at the wedding rehearsal dinner and you are not sure how to go about it? Don’t worry, this guide has you covered. It is considered an honor to speak at a wedding rehearsal dinner but at the same time, it can bring a lot of pressure. What if I panic? What if no one likes my toast? Everything will be fine if you plan ahead and practice. The old saying is correct – “practice makes perfect.”
“We’ve all been there before, when the toasts and speeches seem like an endless ode to childhood memories, vacations long past, or inside jokes no one, other than a select few, are able to relate to, or for that matter really care about. There’s an art to speaking in front of a crowd and the best way to get comfortable and say what needs to be said succinctly is by practicing in front of a mirror until you’re ready to practice in front of a friend.” – Colin Cowie, wedding planner and lifestyle guru.
According to wedding experts, the toasts are often the most memorable part of a wedding rehearsal dinner. However, don’t let this bit of information intimidate you or make you nervous. This guide will provide you with key information on the rehearsal dinner and how to write and deliver a toast that is right for you and one that all will remember.
First, let’s go over the overall rehearsal dinner and what to expect. The wedding rehearsal is typically held the night before the wedding ceremony followed by dinner at a designated restaurant or event space.
You will be happy to know that the rehearsal dinner attendance is smaller than the wedding reception as the dinner is usually limited to the bride and groom and their immediate family members, the bridal party, and close family and friends. Therefore, the rehearsal dinner tends to be a more casual and intimate setting vs. the formality of the wedding reception.
Length of Toast
Wedding rehearsal toasts are generally between three and five minutes. However, no one will be timing you. It is important to keep in mind when you are writing the toast that it is perfectly acceptable for rehearsal dinner toasts to run a little longer and include more humor than those at the wedding reception. But don’t take this as an invitation to take up too much time as you want to be courteous to others and give everyone who wants to make a toast the opportunity to do so.
“All wedding toasts should include a welcome, a thank-you, and a special heartfelt sentiment (in this order).” – David Tutera, celebrity wedding planner
Be sure to include a sentence to introduce yourself and briefly describe your relationship with the bride and groom. While most people present at the dinner may know you, not everyone will.
Be sensitive to your audience. Children will be in attendance at the rehearsal dinner and toasts should be appropriate for all wedding guests to hear.
Practice makes perfect. Write and practice your speech ahead of time and save it to your smart phone for reference before and/or during the speech.
It doesn’t matter if your tone is funny or sentimental (or a little bit of both) speak from the heart and you can’t go wrong.
Having a hard time thinking of what you want to say during your toast? Simply stick with one or more of these basic topics and you will be fine:
Share a story or funny anecdote that reflects the relationship of the bride and groom. It could be how the couple first met or a funny story about them.
Share the couple’s engagement story.
Include inspirational love quotes in your toast.
Only tell stories that relate to everyone.
End your toast by asking everyone to raise their glass to toast the bride and groom and wish them every success in their marriage.
Top 5 Presentation Tips
When presenting your toast, speak slowly and clearly. Also, speak loudly so that everyone in the audience can understand the message that you’ve spent time preparing.
Speak to both the bride and groom. Even if you are a friend of the groom’s and don’t know the bride that well. Speak to and for them.
Deliver with confidence. Take a deep breath and remember to smile.
Be yourself and use your natural sense of humor.
Order of Toasts
Unlike the wedding reception, toasts at the rehearsal dinner tend to be more spontaneous. The opening toast by the host begins during the main course and all other toasts are done between courses to fill the void between meals.
Whoever is hosting the rehearsal dinner typically makes the first toast during the main course. Often times it is the groom’s parents that host the rehearsal dinner and then their toast would be met by a return toast from the father of the bride.
Best Man and Maid of Honor typically only give a toast at the wedding reception. However, it is not unusual for them to want to toast at both the dinner and the reception.
Wedding party attendants and other guest are welcome to give a toast. The universal sign for wanting to give a toast is to stand and raise your glass. If that doesn’t get everyone’s attention – tap on your glass with a utensil.
The bride and/or groom typically do the final toast and thank the hosts, their parents, and attendees.