How many times have you been to a wedding where there is more than one toast to the bride and bridegroom? More than one, I bet.

The problem here is, one toast to the couple and they feel great. Two toasts and they feel a bit embarrassed and three or more toasts, it just becomes down right uncomfortable!

So what are the rules?

As regards how many there should be, there are none. However, there is one rule that should be adhered to if you want to make things flow and that is as follows:

“A toast, should always be followed by a response from someone applicable, except for one to absent friends, “The Loyal Toast”, if there is to be one and the final one” (Although thanks for that is still polite and well received!)

The Man in the Red Coat’s tips are as follows;

  • If speeches are part of your wedding, decide if there are going to be any toasts at the end or during them. (Some celebrations choose not to do this and there is nothing wrong in that.)
  • Decide then who is to speak and in what order
  • Then choose the toast that is suitable for the following speaker to respond to – if necessary adjust the order of speaking to match the toasts, so they flow nicely from one to another.
  • Finally, finish with the all important toast to the Bride and Bridegroom at the end*

To give you an example; (The standard one at most weddings)

  • Father of the Bride – having talked about his daughter at great length, he proposes a toast to her the BRIDE only. (Not the happy couple)
  • The Bridegroom – stands up on behalf of his new wife and says thank you. At the end of his speech he should then propose a toast to the Ushers (Groomsmen), Page Boys, Flower Girls, Bridesmaids and Best Man, (Delete as applicable) – THE BRIDAL PARTY. (Parents can also be included in this toast or have one done separately.)
  • The Best Man – starts his speech on behalf of all the aforementioned, thanking the Bridegroom for his kind toast and then at the end of his speech, propose a toast to THE BRIDE AND BRIDEGROOM.

As mentioned there are three exceptions to the rule:

  1. The Toast to “Absent Friends” – requires no response. As a result it often comes in the middle of a speech.
  2. If “Loyal Toasts” are being proposed (A Toast to Her Majesty The Queen or as at Jewish Weddings to the President of the State of Israel) – they also require no response and are governed by specific rules and timings.
  3. *After the Toast to the Happy Couple, Both the “Bride and Bridegroom” may stand and raise their glasses to the rest of the room saying thank you. This is actually a really nice way to round off any speech session.

Finally, I am often asked whether everyone should stand when a toast is given. Strictly speaking it is correct to do so. However, if there are many different toasts, the trick is not ask people to stand more than 3 times in quick succession. Therefore you should always listen to the person giving the toast as they should instruct you as to whether to stand or remain seated. A good example is the “absent friends” toast where, very often, you will most likely be asked to remain seated, but still raise your glasses.

As part of the services that I offer to all my bridal parties, speech guidance and formation of toasts is provided. However, for more information about speeches, toasts and any other aspects as to how to make your wedding day flow by using a Toastmaster, get in touch with me, James Hasler – The Man in the Red Coat by using the enquiry form on my contacts page.  Alternatively send me an email to or phone me on 07773 229909.

You are under no obligation, but unless you get in contact you won’t know what you are missing!