11 Best Wedding Toast Examples That'll Win Over A Crowd Every Time

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Best wedding toast ideas

Wedding toasts are some of the most memorable moments in a wedding. Some toasts will be tearjerkers, and others may be especially meaningful or poignant, especially if the toaster is someone very close to the bride or groom and shares a history. But they are also sometimes funny and are more like a roast than a tribute.

If you're adhering to top 10 lists advising you on how to write your speech, you're going to end up with something that isn't a reflection of you. Rules are hard to follow, and no set applies to all the stories we have to tell. But if two or three resonate, try to use them as guideposts.

Here are some great wedding toast examples and ideas to get you started. And hopefully, your toast will make the newlyweds laugh and/or cry.

RELATED: The Top 10 Most Epic Movie Wedding Toasts Of All Time

1. Create a structure.

Your speech needs a beginning, a middle, and an end, just like you learned in school.

“You've come to tell a story honoring (and, yes, teasing is honoring too) someone you care about, so start honoring them by approaching it like a pro and setting yourself up for storytelling success,” said Colin (last name withheld) of Tinseltown Toasts.

2. Be reflective.

“Think about the nature of your relationship with the person you're speaking about, and consider whether there are any common themes that have threaded through the life of that relationship.

Who/what has that person always been to you? Who/what have you always been to them? If there's a strong answer to those questions, you've got the spine of your speech right there. A speech that has a theme threaded from start to finish will never become the jumble of words or random anecdotal tangents that leave your audience yawning or glancing at the bar,” Colin suggests.

3. Go with classic literature.

Favorite literary quotes are always a win with toasts, especially if the bride or groom are bookworms. Cinema buffs will also love if you thoughtfully include a favorite movie quote or two if they have personal meaning.

“We see passages from Shakespeare and Pablo Neruda often making a cameo,” reveals Kylie Carlson of The International Academy of Wedding & Event Planning

4. Get inspired by your surroundings.

“If you’re part of a destination wedding, it’s always a nice touch to include something traditionally shared at weddings local to the region,” suggests Carlson. In Italy, you could end your toast by saying “Per Cent'Anni,” which means “for one hundred years.”

5. Consider history.

Give a nod to the couple’s heritage. Says Carlson, “If either or both of the couple is Irish, for example, there are a wealth of Irish wedding blessings to consider.”

RELATED: How To Write A Best Man Speech That Will *Kill*

6. Pay tribute to those who can’t be there.

“One of my favorite things is when the person toasting incorporates someone who couldn’t come, such as a friend in the military who is currently stationed somewhere and can’t attend, or perhaps an elderly grandparent unable to make the trip,” Carolson says.

Yes, you can read their congratulations to the crowd, but thanks to technology, it can be easier than one would think to capture their well wishes and have them share through video or a recording. It does take a bit of pre-planning (especially with the DJ), but it can be well worth it.

7. Add a flash mob.

“We once saw a toast that turned into a pre-planned flash mob with the wedding party! I can’t imagine how much work it was coordinating (especially with wedding party members spread out all over), but it was a big, memorable win with the guests,” Carlson reveals.

8. Incorporate the history of the couple.

“If the couple met in college, see if you can have the school’s mascot come and surprise everyone at the end of the toast,” Carlson suggests. Many universities create an option on their website to request the mascot for an event, so check with yours.

9. Be personal, but don’t be too personal.

Personal stories are excellent, but know that they can also be alienating. Can they still embarrass the toastee and make an audience laugh? Of course! Can they still bring tears to the bride's father's eyes? Sure can.

So, says Colin, “Use them with purpose. They should be used as anecdotal evidence in support of your themes. Personal stories have deeper emotional and/or comedic impact if you can tell them in a way that invites the audience into your relationship with the person you're speaking about. You can do that by finding ways to frame your personal experience in universally-identifiable ways."

Good personal stories make people laugh and cry, and understand the nature of your love for a friend or family member when they illuminate the universal connections we all share.

10. Consider timing.

“With the exception of fathers or mothers of brides or grooms, who may be on the hook for a wedding tab and definitely have a long relationship with their child to reflect in their speech, 5-7 minutes is plenty. It takes about 5 minutes to really develop a narrative that has emotional or comedic impact. But less time is fine too,” Colin advises. 

11. Be familiar, but don’t try to memorize.

When it comes time to speak, unless you happen to speak regularly in a professional capacity, don't try to memorize it. “Be very familiar with your speech and take the time to put it (or bullet points) onto note cards, not your phone,” he suggests.

Your chances for an unforgettable speech go through the roof if you're comfortable with the material you've worked hard to write.

RELATED: 8 Ways To Completely Screw Up Your Wedding Toast

Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyles writer who focuses on health, wellness, and relationships. Her work appears in dozens of digital and print publications regularly. Visit her on Twitter or email her.