Raising a glass to wedding etiquette excellence

Before the revelry begins and you get down to the real party, there are so many wedding traditions that one generally cannot go without, and one of them is the wedding toasts.

How did it all come about? The team at Granny Mouse Country House & Spa did some digging and found that it has its origins in ancient Greek and Roman culture, where it was first used to pay homage to the gods, and to raise a glass to everyone’s health which went on to be a standard practice at every meal.  Other sources of information say that it was a tradition that started in the 6th century BC and the idea was to toast to a friend’s health and clink your glasses causing the drink to spill from one cup to another.

But getting back to wedding toasts as they are done these days, according to the banqueting team at Granny Mouse, the most important thing is proper planning. Try avoid impromptu speeches because everyone really wants to have a good time and they can fall flat. These are the standard roles that you can adjust to fit your traditional preferences:

The Parents

The traditional wedding speech order goes father of the bride, groom, best man and other toasts. In same-sex weddings, it is also common for both partners to speak but sometimes only one does.

The Maid of Honour and the Best Man

The best man’s speech finishes off the wedding speeches – no pressure! The best man’s speech is traditionally expected to deliver the laughs, so be sure to add in a few classic best man jokes. Coming before the best man speech, this is a chance for the maid of honour to share her own funny anecdotes about the bride. The bridesmaids may prefer to share a short speech between them. Some bridal parties are choosing to turn the maid of honour speech into a big occasion and prepare speeches, songs or videos that include all the bridesmaids and ushers.

The Bride and Groom

The groom should follow the father of the bride, and some elements of his speech should include thanking the guests for attending, thanking the parents, a few words about key members of the wedding party, thank the bridesmaids and, of course, compliment the bride.

If the bride is going to give a speech, or to join the groom in a joint speech, she should thank her guests for coming, thank her parents, compliment her partner, and maybe tell a funny anecdote about them, and of course raise a toast.

Finally some dos and don’ts

Whether you go the more traditional route or not, when deciding your wedding speech order, there are a few important details to consider:

  1. Think about how the person before you will end their speech.If they let you know, you can then alter your speech so it starts referencing the ending of theirs.
  2. Set time limits.For example, if you allot 10 minutes maximum to the best man he’s unlikely to speak for half-an-hour.
  3. Ask the person before you to introduce you.This saves you from having to clumsily introduce yourself to the room.
  4. Don’t have too many speakersIf you break the mold of having more than the traditional three speakers, then it can go on for too long.
  5. Ask the other speech-givers what jokes, toasts, anecdotes and thank-yous they plan on including in their speeches.
  6. Consider having a Master of CeremoniesThey can ensure that the speeches start at the appointed time and that the transition from one speech to another is done seamlessly.

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