1. Consider to whom you are toasting.
You can toast to whomever you want, of course, but if the wedding is formal or traditional, there might be some conventions you’re not aware of. Ask around. Here are some guidelines:
* best man toasts to the bride
* maid/matron of honor toasts to the groom
* father of the bride toasts to the couple
* bride and groom toast to their parents and the guests
2. Clarify your relationship to the couple.
Some people at the wedding might not know who you are, so making this clear at the beginning will avoid any confusion.
3. Give thanks.
Show gratitude to whoever is hosting the wedding, whether it’s the parents of the bride or the couple themselves. E.g. “Thank you for welcoming us to this happy occasion, and sharing your joy with us today.”
4. Share an anecdote.
Stories of how various parties met are always popular, whether you talk about how the bride and groom met or your first time meeting either of them. Here are some additional ideas:
* The first time the bride or groom told you about meeting their partner.
* The first time you realized these people were an important part of your life.
* A time you got through something together, whether challenging or fun.
* The story you are looking forward to telling their kids one day.
* The way you have seen the bride or groom change for the better since they met.
* When you’re 90 and looking back, what would you say of your friendship?
* Tell a story of some specific detail or action that exemplifies why this person is special in this world, and to you in particular.
* If you were given three wishes for the couple, what would they be? Be careful with the use of clichés here. Don’t use wishes you’ve heard before.
* Tell about the time your friend saw you through an embarrassing moment. (Careful. Consider the audience).
* If it’s a second marriage and there are children involved, consider a toast referencing the newly created family.
5. Offer a compliment.
Say something nice about the person (or couple) you are toasting to. Although your intentions might be good, don’t go on and on about how great a person is; instead, choose a few appreciate adjectives that go a long way (e.g. “he’s generous, intelligent, and kind”).
6. End the toast on a positive note.
Offer a wish, a traditional toast, or a blessing. Here are some ideas:
* Here’s to the groom, a man who keeps his head though he loses his heart.
* May she share everything with her husband, including the housework.
* My greatest wish for the two of you is that through the years your love for each other will so deepen and grow, that years from now you will look back on this day, your wedding day, as the day you loved each other the least.
* May ‘for better or worse’ be far better than worse.
* Here’s to the groom with bride so fair, And here’s to the bride with groom so rare!
* May I see you grey, and combing your grandchildren’s hair.
* May you live each day like your last, and live each night like your first.
* May you see each other through many dark days, and make all the rest a little brighter.
* To keep your marriage brimming, with love in the wedding cup, whenever you’re wrong, admit it; whenever you’re right, shut up.
* I would like to make a toast to lying, stealing, cheating and drinking. If you’re going to lie, lie for a friend. If you’re going to steal, steal a heart. If your going to cheat, cheat death. And if you’re going to drink, drink with me.
7. Indicate the ending of the toast.
Finish off with a phrase that’s to be repeated by the guests. For example: “Let us now toast the happiness of Jill and Jack. To Jill and Jack!”