10 Rehearsal Dinner Toast Etiquette

Rehearsal Dinner Toast
Write your rehearsal dinner toast to tell the couple's story through your eyes in 3–5 minutes. Begin thanking everyone and offering sincere congratulations to the couple. Share fun anecdotes and only advise if you're close. End with inspiring words and a toast.

1. Say the Magic Word

You must thank the hosts for dinner and the guests for taking the time to listen to you and being there for the couple. Do this at the very beginning of the speech to create a pleasant atmosphere.

2. Show, Don’t Tell

Start with an anecdote that shows their essence. Don’t say the newlyweds are perfect for each other. Show that by sharing a memory. Like that time when Joan was playing with random puppies passing by and you saw Caleb, a veterinarian, drooling over her.

People will feel way more connected with a cute story in your rehearsal dinner toast. The funny stories can be about how they changed each other, how you met the couple, how you introduced them, their engagement story, your first impression of them, or the weird habits they have.

3. Keep it Short

Wedding guests are invited to eat and have fun conversations at a rehearsal dinner. They won’t want to listen to an hour-long wedding speech. So don’t ramble. Join in the fun with a short and to-the-point toast.

To do that, tell (clean) inside jokes about the couple and write a 3 to 5-minute toast. Writing it beforehand will ensure you don’t stutter, babble, or have to think of jokes on the spot. But don’t go overboard with jokes; make sure everyone will get them.

4. Practice, Practice, and Practice

woman practicing her toast
Woman practicing her toast

You need all the practice you can get. Practice in front of a mirror or ask a friend to listen to your speech and give you notes for improvement. That way, the toast will come naturally out of your mouth at the wedding rehearsal dinner. Public speaking is hard, but this can reduce your anxiety.

5. Congratulations

The happy couple is the whole reason for the dinner, so you must congratulate them. Tell them how happy you are about their wedding day and how you want them to have a beautiful life together. They will undoubtedly cherish your sincere congratulations.

6. When To Give Advice

Giving advice shows how you care and want the couple to live happily. But this is supposed to be just a rehearsal dinner speech, nothing else. Don’t give rude, unsolicited advice.

I know you feel you can help. But exposing the couple’s intimacy to feel you will influence their lives is not ok. Don’t expose their problems and offer a solution for them.

Only advise if you’re a close friend or family member, and keep it brief, please. A good example of sound advice would be something you learned after being married for years or something more general about love.

7. Weave a Story

Your speech should be cohesive, connecting each sentence into one great story. Create a narrative in a logical sequence: beginning, middle, and end. For example, that anecdote can be the beginning.

The middle can be all about how you see their relationship. And you can congratulate them at the end by telling them your wishes for a perfect wedding and future.

8. Don’t Steal the Show

Focus your wedding rehearsal dinner speech on the almost-married couple and their big day, just like you would in an engagement toast.

This isn’t about you or a chance to feel charming. You can talk about your perspective on their relationship and how you feel about it, but always bring the topic back to them.

9. Avoid Inappropriate Topics

Unlike bachelor parties, kids are usually at rehearsal dinners, so don’t be inappropriate. Even if there aren’t any, this isn’t the time and place.

Don’t bring up topics that make people uncomfortable, like intimacy, negativity, offensive remarks, or past relationships. These things could ruin the party.

10. End on a High Note

everyone raising their glasses at a party
Everyone raising their glasses at a party

Wrap up your wedding rehearsal dinner toast with a positive message for the couple. Say an inspiring quote to leave a lasting impression. Then, raise your glass and celebrate. This will preserve a positive atmosphere at the party.

Who should give a toast at a rehearsal dinner?

For more traditional wedding ceremonies, the bride or groom’s father gives the first toast as the rehearsal dinner host. Then, the mother of the bride or the mother of the groom speaks.

After that, wedding party members (excluding the best man and maid of honor) speak. These two will already give wedding toasts at the wedding ceremony. It’s time for the close family and best friends to talk.

Ana C.

Ana C. is an artistic writer who loves shaping language around her message. For her, etiquette is about respecting everyone and spreading kindness. She loves hanging out with goats, analyzing TV shows, and eating feijoada with farofa.

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