Who Gives a Toast at a Wedding Reception?


The toasts at your reception are some of the most important and memorable moments of your wedding. They give the opportunity for your loved ones to reminisce about the sweetest memories, express their happiness for you, and maybe crack a joke or two. If you’re planning your wedding schedule and trying to figure out who exactly should speak (and when), here is everything you need to know about wedding toasts.


The Traditional Wedding Toast Order

Here is a look at what the traditional wedding toast order looks like. Of course, this can be altered to fit your needs, but it will give you a general idea of what the order can look like.


The Best Man

Typically, the best man will give the first toast to kick things off. If you only have one toast, the best man speech tends to be the most expected (but it’s completely up to you who actually speaks at your wedding – more on that below!). If you’re having a seated dinner, the toast will happen once everyone is seated and has champagne or another drink in hand. If you’re having a cocktail reception or any other non-seated dinner celebration, it will typically happen once the newlywed couple enters the reception area.


The Maid of Honor

Following the best man will be the maid of honor. It’s not as traditional to have the maid of honor offer a toast, but more and more couples are choosing to do this – why shouldn’t the bride’s closest friend speak, as well?


The Parents

The parents – or at least one parent from each side – will typically give a toast. This is especially true if one (or both) of the sets of parents is hosting the wedding. They can use this time to welcome guests and say their best wishes to the happy couple.


The Newlywed Couple

The newlyweds can also take a moment to say a few words and thank their guests and their parents (especially if they’re hosting!). Some couples will choose to deliver their speech later when they cut their cake. If neither of you are big public speakers, you can also express your gratitude to guests throughout the night as you make your rounds. While a newlywed speech is nice, it isn’t one of the more expected speeches.


A Few Things to Keep In Mind

While this may be the more traditional order, know that you in no way need to stick to it. Every wedding party and family dynamic is different, so do what works best for you. Maybe the best man isn’t the best public speaker. If that’s the case, there’s no reason the maid of honor or a parent can’t step in to give the first toast. Or, maybe you have a close relative or friend who isn’t in the wedding party who’d like to give a toast – feel free to fit them in where it fits best. Just make sure you don’t have too many people giving toasts. Guests will get antsy!


Be sure you also give everyone who is giving a toast plenty of notice. At least two to three months before is ideal so that they have some time to craft the perfect toast. You should also give them a time limit (two to five minutes is ideal – but it can even just be a few sentences), and tell them the toast order so they know exactly what to expect.


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