How to give a toast

In this business, I get to hear lots of wedding toasts.  Most are really heartfelt, sentimental and sweet, some are tearjerkers and occasionally one leave you with a “huh?” afterwards. For those of you who are working on developing your best friends or daughters toast I’ve got a few pointers I’d like to share with you from what I’ve seen and experienced myself over the last many years. A list of Do’s and Don’ts, if you will, that should leave people wanting to applaud once you are finished. Because, while it isn’t all about you, you are representing the multitudes on this special day.

best man gives toast sunset


Don’t make the speech about you.

More than anything else, this is a time to celebrate the couple who is getting married.  Talk about their lives and definitely include your relationship in there, but it’s about them, not you.  This includes not talking about how you’re nervous to give the toast or the story of how you wrote your speech.  All you say should point toward the couple you’re celebrating.

How to give a toast

Don’t forget that it’s a toast, not a roast

This is not to say that you shouldn’t poke fun at the couple.  Everyone loves a few little embarrassing stories, but don’t go too far and certainly, don’t make that your entire talk.  A good toast has a great mix of laughter and tears, so shoot for the balance.

How to give a toast bride's dad

Don’t just wing it

This is huge.  Spend some time writing it down.  Practice with a timer.  Run your jokes by someone else who is close to the couple.  This isn’t the State of the Union speech, so perfection isn’t expected, but be familiar with your material.  If you’re prompt, to the point and then done, you’ll have a great speech.



Do tell specific stories

We want to listen to these speeches because you have an insight into the couple that the rest of us don’t have.  What is something that you’ll never forget about who they are as individuals or as couple?  Tell that story of the time they did the thing that made you love seeing them together.  Paint a picture with your words and bring us into the space.

How to give a toast

Do be creative

Break the mold.  Maybe you’d rather paint a picture than talk.  That might take too long, but use props or find some other way to make it fun, interactive and memorable.  Or of course, you can rap.

bridesmaids use props in toast

Do actually toast to something

Lastly, wedding speeches are getting to be more of a speech about the couple and then followed by “to the couple.”  That is a toast, but I love hearing toasts to something specific.  What are attributes of their live and their goals that you can all toast to?  How can your wedding community stand by those elements and name that together.

How to give a toast

Note: to anyone who is in the photos I used in this, you are exemplary of what a great toast looks like. 🙂

So, did I forget something?  Let me know in the comments.


JTobiason Photography | How to give a toast | Seattle Wedding Photography | 253.642.7142 | Joe@JTobiason.com

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  1. Thanks Joe! I feel like you wrote this just for me for the September wedding 🙂 Definitely noted these tips, cheers!