Not everyone is a born orator, but it doesn’t mean you can’t still make the best wedding rehearsal dinner toast!
OK, let’s get to the good stuff.
“May the roof above you never fall in, and may you both never fall out.”
Recognize this Irish proverb? It’s been heard in many a wedding toast throughout the years. Often, quotations consist of words used every day… but in the hands of a formidable wordsmith, these can be easily transformed into something beautiful and profound.
Right after wedding rehearsals, you and dozens of others are having dinner where it is customary to propose toasts to the bride and groom. Usually, it begins before dessert is served.
Don’t feel anxious if you are one of the lucky few asked to raise your glass. Making a toast during a wedding rehearsal dinner is not that hard.
Whether this is a speech for a sibling or a friend getting married, here are a couple of quick rehearsal dinner toast tips to keep in mind…
1) You’re only going to deliver a brief speech that expresses your love and support for the couple-to-be. You get points for sincerity more so than eloquence.
2) This isn’t a toasting contest. Making the best wedding rehearsal dinner toast doesn’t mean outdoing the speakers before and after you.
3) You only need to put what you feel into the right words. This is where writing a draft will help you a lot.
What You'll Learn...
Who Gives Toasts at a Wedding Rehearsal Dinner?
If the groom’s parents hosted the rehearsal dinner, his father or mother would propose a toast after greeting and thanking everyone for their presence. If you’re a parent and you’re not really sure what to say, there are tons of free sample speeches for fathers and mothers of the groom like these to help you on your way!
After one of the groom’s parents gives a toast, a parent of the bride speaks next. The maid of honor, the best man, and other wedding party members can follow. Other members of both the bride’s and groom’s families and guests may also give toasts.
Everyone who has something to say is encouraged to take the mic and speak. They may not get the chance to do that at the wedding reception. Besides, the cousin or childhood friend that hasn’t been seen in ages might give the funniest toast of the evening.
In the end, the bride and groom should rise and thank everyone who made toasts.
To be totally honest, there is no hard and fast rule on who can make toasts at a rehearsal wedding dinner. In a relaxed and informal setting, the book on rehearsal dinner etiquette is often thrown out of the window.
Preparing Your Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Toast
Set aside a block of time to write your toast. A lot of people might tell you that there’s no need…but I’m a trained public speaker, and even I start losing traction if I decide to go in and attempt to wing something like that.
Which is probably why nobody has asked me to be their best man yet.
It is better to read from notes than to suddenly start stuttering and stammering in what would probably have been the climax of your brief speech. Your audience might even think you had one too many.
Maybe you did have one too many…but hey, what business is it of theirs!?
Before you even sit down and begin writing your speech, keep in mind that you’re going to want to make your toast brief. The final draft shouldn’t be any longer than five minutes. don’t hesitate to write down everything you have in mind. You can trim edit and it down later.
Rehearsal wedding dinner toasts have three parts…
Your toast should start with identifying yourself and your relationship to either the bride or the groom. Not everyone at the rehearsal dinner has met you. If you’re good friends with the bride or groom, be sure to tell your audience when and how you first met them. Remember, it’s a rehearsal dinner toast for both the bride and the groom.
You can tell an anecdote for your main body. Try to recall an experience that highlights the best and most humorous qualities of either the bride or groom. Explain how these qualities can enrich their married life.
Here’s an example:
“John and I always wanted a treehouse when we were kids. When we thought we got one built, it suddenly fell apart. But John wouldn’t accept failure. He worked harder and encouraged me to do the same. Eventually, we got the treehouse built. It still stands today as a fun place for kids to play in. I am sure your marriage will also stand the test of time because John will work hard for it.”
You can also borrow a famous quotation for your main body. There are countless quotable things said on the internet. Find one that rings true to you and explain to your audience how it applies to the couple.
Don’t forget to give credit to the person who wrote the quotation though!
One example is by the composer Franz Schubert:
“Happy is the man who finds a true friend, and far happier is he who finds that true friend in his wife.”
You can end your short speech also with a quotation before raising your glass to make a toast. You can select one that wishes the couple eternal love throughout their lifetime.
Here’s an example of a traditional African quote:
“I wish your love for each other be like the misty rain, gentle coming in but flooding the river.”
Instead of including someone else’s quotation in your wedding rehearsal toast, depending how good you are, you can create your own! Use quotes you read and hear as inspiration. Who knows, you might come up with something better than anything that’s ever been said by anyone so far.
Now, if poetry is more your speed, go ahead and find a poem that you see fit. Or, if you prefer, why not include a blessing in your speech? It can be the perfect ending. Below is an excerpt from an Irish blessing:
“May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you.”
Things to Remember When Writing Your Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Toast
1) Try to use humor if it is naturally a part of your personality
Not everyone is a born comic. If humor is not your strong suit, then steer clear of the jokes. But if you know of a funny anecdote involving the bride and groom, definitely share it. As long as it doesn’t embarrass the ever-living hell out of them, it’s fair game.
2) Use only words you are comfortable with
Remember, you’re not doing this to dazzle the room with your command of the language. Keep your toast short and to the point. Abe Lincoln only took less than two minutes to read his now-famous Gettysburg Address. You can deliver your best wedding rehearsal dinner speech in the same period.
3) Try to be creative
You may be using simple words, but if you can turn your speech into a rhyme or a song…dooooo itttttt. Likewise, if you have the talent, you can make your toast while impersonating a famous TV or movie character.
Once you’ve reached the conclusion, customarily you should invite everyone to join you in raising their glasses to honor the happy couple.
Practicing Your Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Toast
Now that you have everything written or typed, read your speech aloud. How does it sound to you? Do you hear yourself speaking from the heart, or does it seem like you’re making a presentation in a business meeting? Are you speaking with feeling, or are you droning?
“Buel-ler? Buel-ler? Anyone? Buel-ler”
Also, your wedding rehearsal toast may look good on paper, but when reading out loud, certain words may not roll off your tongue correctly. Do a quick sweep to replace these words once you’ve identified them and revise your sentences until you can say them with ease.
Many people recommend practicing your toast before a mirror. Or, if you’re reading from notes, record yourself with your smartphone. The best speakers do both. Take note of your facial expressions and gestures. Do these match up with what you are saying?
Make adjustments to your speech or delivery as needed. Remember, one of the people getting married is either your friend or will soon become part of your family. Regardless of your current relationship, put your best foot forward.
Things to Remember When Proposing Your Toast
- Face the bride and the groom. You are speaking to them. And, when talking about them, keep in mind it’s a toast and not a eulogy.
- If there are children around, watch your language. Keep your speech clean and ixnay dirty jokes.
- It’s a happy occasion, so smile while delivering your speech.
- The drinks may be free, but steer clear until you’ve finished giving your toast.
- Be yourself throughout your delivery by giving a speech that is unmistakably you. Incorporate as many of the positive aspects of your personality as you can into the delivery of your speech, without totally stealing the bride and groom’s thunder.
- Don’t forget to thank the couple for inviting you to be part of their wedding, and to thank everyone else for being there to help celebrate the bride and groom’s special day.
Wrapping it Up
With these ideas, you’ll be able to easily write an amazing wedding rehearsal dinner toast in no time. Think of the act of writing a wedding toast as a labor of love. You’re toasting the people you care about and wishing them a lifetime of happiness.
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out “10 Tips for Giving the ULTIMATE Groomsman Speech” as well!