During the course of each of the main wedding speeches (the Father of the Bride speech, Groom speech and Best Man's speech) wedding toasts are traditionally raised to the bridesmaids, the Bride and the Groom.
Typically occuring towards the end of each speech, wedding toasts are essentially words of congratulation, good luck or appreciation that are immeditately followed by a drink to the relevant person or people.
The Father of the Bride Wedding Toast
The Father of the Bride will be the first of the speechmakers to raise a wedding toast.
At the end of his speech, he will lift up his glass, say a few words then raise a toast the Bride and Groom. It is traditional for his wedding toast to include sentiments of a healthy and happy life for the newlyweds, although there are no restictions whatsoever on what else the Father of the Bride has to say.
The following is a short example of a typical Father of the Bride wedding toast:
"Now I invite you all to raise a toast to my beautiful daughter and my son-in-law. May they live a wonderfully healthy life together and enjoy many, many years of happiness.
To the Bride and Groom."
More examples of Father of the Bride wedding toasts can be found in a dedicated article on the site.
The Groom's Wedding Toast
Once the Father of the Bride has concluded his speech and toast, it's the Groom's turn to take centre stage. Tradtionally the shortest of the three main speeches, the Groom's wedding speech should always be concluded by the raising of a toast to the bridesmaids.
As with the Father of the Bride toast there are no set guidelines or rules, but we would advise that any Groom's wedding toast doesn't look to place too much emphasis on how beautiful the bridesmaids all look, just in case his new wife decides to take offence!
The following is a short example of a Groom's wedding toast:
"May I take this opportunity to thank each and every one of the Bridesmaids here today. You've been a great help to my new wife and I and we are both very appreciative for all your efforts.
So if everyone could please join with me and lift up their glasses and raise a toast - to our bridesmaids."
For more suggestions, help and ideas, check out our Groom's wedding toasts article.
The Best Man's Wedding Toast
The last of the wedding toasts are tradtionally raised by the Best Man and he has two toasts to perform; the first in response to the Groom's toast to the bridesmaids, the second to the Bride and Groom themselves.
Here are a couple of example of wedding toasts for the Best Man:
"I'm sure the everyone would agree how beautiful the bridesmaids look and I know the Bride is particualrly grateful for all their help and support. So without further ado, a toast, to the bridesmaids".
"Here's to my old friend, my new friend, my best friends. Ladies and gentlemen, please join with me in raising a toast to the Bride and Groom".
For additonal ideas and examples, check out our Best Man wedding toasts article.
History & Tradtion of Wedding Toasts
The exact origin of wedding toasts is a little unclear, but essentially there are four main schools of thought.
The first, and eldest theory on wedding toasts dates back to ancient Greece. During an Ancient Greek wedding ceremony it was tradtional for the host of the wedding to drink from a pitcher of wine which was then passed around to the guests. The host would take the initial drink, and 'toast the guests' to assure them that is was free from poison.
The second wedding toast theory also dates back to Ancient Greece but differs somewhat in its interpretation. Again, a communal jug would be passed around the guests, but this time a piece of toasted bread would be placed in the jug and the wedding host, who would be the last person to take a drink, would eat the toast in honour of the guests.
For the third theory, we travel west from Greece to France. Legend has it that in France, the wedding toast was actually a race between the Bride and the Groom. Toast was placed in the bottom of each of their drinks and the couple would down their drink as quickly as possible before eating the toast - the winner would then become head of the household!
For our final theory on wedding toasts we remain in France, where drinking etiquette dictated that each glass was to be drank dry. As wine in olden times left a degree of sediment behind, bread was placed in the glass to absorb the remenants. The wedding host would then drink all the wine, and eat the bread to a chorus of 'bottoms up' thus completeing the wedding toast.
For those of you wanting to find out more, we've a whole host of other wedding speech articles on the site packed full of expert information and inspirational ideas, not to mention our online wedding directory that's filled with toastmasters, speech writers and more.
For friendly tips and helpful advice take a look at our wedding speech forum, or why not check out the 'related articles' and 'pages & websites you may like' below.