As the maid of honor, your wedding rehearsal dinner toast is a chance to share your love and support for the special couple in your life.
Since it’s usually set in an intimate venue, you can forgo the pen and paper and speak from the heart.
“The best wedding rehearsal dinner toasts are the ones that make us laugh and cry,” says celebrity wedding planner JoAnn Gregoli of Elegant Occasions.
“These speeches are usually from the heart and are never mean spirited.”
Of course, sharing from the heart can be intimidating. What if you forget something important? What if you say something wrong or weird?
Here, the trusted wedding planning guru shares her secret ingredients to giving a memorable toast: the major dos and don’ts for wedding rehearsal dinner toasts to bring down the house.
Start with the seven essential parts of a toast, then fine-tune your speech with JoAnn’s expert tips:
- The Seven Essential Parts of a Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Toast
- Expert Tips for Giving Memorable Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Toasts
- Three Ways to Prevent Rehearsal Dinner Toast Faux Pas
- Common Questions about Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Toasts
The Seven Essential Parts of a Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Toast
What makes a good toast? Here, seven key ingredients along with rehearsal dinner speech examples that will inspire the master toaster in you.
- Who are you? The wedding rehearsal dinner is a gathering of the couple’s closest friends and family members, but it doesn’t mean everyone knows who you are. Begin your toast by introducing yourself and tell everyone that you’re the maid of honor. Remember that there will be more than a few people giving toasts that night, including other bridesmaids.
Example: Hi everyone, my name is Lily. I’m Susan’s (the bride) maid of honor and best friend.
- How you know the couple. Have you known the bride since kindergarten? Now that’s shareworthy! Did you meet her in college? Did you introduce her to the groom? History adds perspective and heart to a toast. Don’t forget to share how you know both the bride and the groom.
Example: I met Susan in fifth grade and we’ve been best friends ever since. I met John (the groom), five years ago when after months of begging Susan to see him, she finally introduced us.
- Share “I love you’s.” Express your love and support for the couple. If you’re not comfortable with verbally expressing your love, just remember that it’s appropriate during a toast and will mean a lot to the bride and groom.
Example: Susan and John, you both mean the world to me. Susan, you know how much I love you and you couldn’t have picked a better man to be your partner in life. John, I admire and respect you and I am so happy that Susan finally found a wonderful, caring man like you.
- Tell a story. A unique story can turn an ordinary toast into a special moment. Think of a time when you witnessed the bride or groom doing something that revealed a unique, funny, or heartwarming aspect of their character. A personal story is memorable and will also help the guests get to know the bride and groom a little better.
Example: I remember the way Susan glowed the first time she talked about John. I’d never seen her talk or smile that way, and I knew something was different about this guy. But a year later is when I knew he was the one for her. I had planned a New Year’s Eve party that she actually helped me plan and prepare for.
I remember the first time Susan told me about John. She was glowing from happiness. But apparently she got sick that day but didn’t want to disappoint me. So when John arrived at her place to pick her up, he noticed she had a fever. After much coaxing he convinced her to stay home, monitored her fever and even made her dinner. While they didn’t get to stay up until midnight, I got a text from Susan the next day, “I had the best New Year’s Eve ever.”
- Point to the love it shows. As you tell a story about the bride and groom, remember to keep the focus on why that story matters. Chances are you’re sharing it because it is a part of their love story. Make that connection for everyone in the room by acknowledging the special love that they share.
Example: If you know Susan, you know that New Year’s is her favorite holiday. But discovering that John took the initiative, monitored her fever, and cooked dinner for her really touched me. It proved to me that he truly loves her and cares about her wellbeing. It also showed me how much she loves and trusts him.
- Hope for happiness in the future. Wish the bride and groom a “happily ever after” future.
Example: Susan and John, I am so happy that you both found each other. I wish nothing but a peaceful and happy life happiness filled with love and commitment, until death do you part.
- Make a toast! (Glasses raised, have a drink!) The best and only way to end a toast is to give a toast. Guests will know that it’s now time to raise their glasses and drink to the bride and groom.
Expert Tips for Giving Memorable Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Toasts
As you consider what you want to share for the parts mentioned above, keep JoAnn’s expert tips in mind:
Honor both the bride and the groom. While you might be the bride’s best friend, resist the temptation to only talk about your friendship. Instead, give equal time to both your best friend and her husband-to-be.
You can do this by addressing them as a couple or sharing a story about each of them. Either way, make sure to address both of them by name and make eye contact with both of them during the toast.
Honoring both the bride and groom avoids favoritism, creates a healthy atmosphere and sets a positive tone for the big day to come.
Make it funny, if you can. You don’t have to be a comedian to make everyone laugh; you simply have to share a funny story of the bride or groom.
As the maid of honor, you probably have many of these to choose from.
Pick one that won’t embarrass the couple or that doesn’t bring up anything taboo from the past. However, if humor is not your thing, you can still keep the tone pleasant and fun by remembering to smile.
Get creative. Add a skit or a song if you can. “My favorite toasts are those set to song,” says JoAnn. “My own daughters did an amazing toast to their sister set to ‘The Little Mermaid.’ It was awesome!”
Cry if you want to. “There is a time for everything under the sun,” including a time to cry. Showing your emotions and even some tears while giving a toast isn’t a downer.
Three Ways to Prevent Rehearsal Dinner Toast Faux Pas
Now that you know what you should say during a toast, here are a few things to avoid:
Don’t be mean. While sarcasm is a type of sense of humor, not everyone can appreciate it and some are even offended by it.
To be safe, avoid sarcasm and don’t turn the “toast into a roast,” says JoAnn.
Don’t be dirty. Dirty jokes are simply not appropriate at wedding rehearsal dinners. The room is filled with people of all ages and backgrounds and it’s best to keep things clean. Clean jokes will ensure that everyone has a great time.
Don’t make it too long. A long toast does not equal the amount of love you have for the bride and groom. Instead, it takes the focus off the happy couple and puts it on you. Avoid being boring or even annoying to the guests by keeping your toast between three to five minutes.
Think Outside the Toast
Besides giving toasts at the rehearsal dinner, what are other ideas for how to connect and appreciate one another at the special event?
Common Questions about Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Toasts
Our expert JoAnn has experience planning wedding rehearsal dinners and answering the frequently asked questions that dinner hosts and honored guests might have along the way. Here are some of the questions she’s heard most and her answers.
Who gives a wedding rehearsal toast?
The host of the party is typically the first person to toast the bride and groom. The groom’s parents usually host the wedding rehearsal dinner, so either parent can give a speech to welcome the guests and honor the happy couple.
After the first toast, parents of the bride, maid of honor, and any other members of the bridal party can give toasts.
Finally, the bride and groom are also required to stand up and thank the people who gave toasts.
When should you give your wedding rehearsal toast?
Start the toasts during the main course of the dinner, says JoAnn. This timing will ensure that guests have had enough time to mingle, eat and drink.
If you’re having more than one toast, JoAnn suggests scheduling them between the courses to fill the void between meals.
How long is a wedding rehearsal toast?
Keep toasts between three to five minutes.
Although you’re not as pressed for time as you might be at the wedding, a short and sweet toast is always more pleasant than a long speech that might get boring or lose steam.
Personalized Wedding Invitations and Rehearsal Dinner Invitations
Wedding rehearsal dinners wouldn’t be as memorable without toasts, those heartfelt speeches that honor the special couple about to be married.
If you’re hosting the dinner party, you’ll want to browse our rehearsal dinner invitations to find stationery that reflects the special couple in your life.