A toast to the happy newlyweds isn’t just for the wedding reception. Often, couples ask if they can include a toast right in the wedding ceremony.
I love it!
But what to say in the toast? Where to do it? What about the logistics of getting everyone a drink in their hands?
I’ve thought it all through so you don’t have to. And I’ve done it many times. Here’s what works best when the happy couple want a toast right in their ceremony.
Make the toast just before the presentation of the couple
While I’m a huge fan of starting off the wedding ceremony with a bang, in the case of a toast, we want to be toasting the married couple. So that means we have to wait for them to be, um… married!
The toast will have to come after the Pronouncement of the couple as married. Which typically means it’s near the end of the ceremony anyway – a great place it, and a great way to transition from ceremonial formality to the party time!
That’s why I recommend giving the toast right at the end, moments before the Presentation of the couple as newly married.
When I add a toast to the wedding, the order of ceremony as we finish goes like this: the Signing of the Registry, then a few Closing Announcements, then the Toast, and then straight into the Presentation of the Couple for the first time.
This also takes care of a very crucial logistical challenge: getting a drink into every guest’s hands with the least amount of disturbance.
Distribute the glasses during the signing
Making the toast just after the Signing and Announcements means there’s time for ushers or venue staff to hand out drinks to everyone. And when this is done during the Signing and Announcements, it’s not distracting the guests or the couple from an important ceremonial element happening at the front.
The Signing of the Registry tends to be a bit less formal in terms of guests needing to pay attention. And the way I typically structure my ceremonies, the guests and wedding parties are usually chatting because the couple have already kissed and the guests have already cheered. It’s a bit more on the rowdy side. So this is the perfect time to hand out drinks.
No Signing in your ceremony?
If there is no Signing in your ceremony, then I would recommend having the couple kiss, then moving straight into a few closing announcements about what’s happening next. And remember: the more servers handing out drinks, the more quickly everyone can get one and we can start our toast. Ask the couple to recruit as many servers as they can muster.
In a nutshell, whatever we choose to have going on up front while servers distribute glasses, we need to make sure it’s not something that will be marred by the hubbub of the serving of drinks. That’s why the Signing and/or Announcements are perfect here.
Now that everyone has a drink, it’s time to make our toast.
Keep the toast very short and sweet
The upcoming wedding reception is the time for long speeches and windy toasts. As the wedding officiant, we’re really just kicking off the party. The toast doesn’t need to be more than a few words and a brief well-wish for the newlyweds.
Here’s what I like to say:
“And now, ladies and gentlemen if you’ll please raise your glasses, I’d like to make a toast: [Newlywed 1] and [Newlywed 2]: love, laughter, and happily ever after. To [Newlywed 1] and [Newlywed 2]!”
(As always, that scripting is yours to swipe and use. Feel free.)
We also need to plan for how the couple and the wedding party can immediately ditch their glasses so they’re not carrying them back up the aisle. Often, it means a server is standing just off to the side and collects the couple’s glasses right after they take that sip, and then collects the wedding parties’.
As discussed above, at this point I go right into the Presentation, which goes something like, “And now, please stand with us. It’s my honour to present to you for the very first time: [Newlywed 1] and [Newlywed 2] as husband and wife!”
And off they all go down the aisle.
And then I finish the rest of my champagne. 😉