With couples getting more and more creative with their wedding ceremonies these days, you may have heard of a wedding ceremony toast and been curious. What exactly is it and should you add one to your ceremony? Plus, if you do, what goes into pulling off the perfect toast at your wedding ceremony?
What is a wedding ceremony toast?
A wedding ceremony toast is, quite simply, a toast given at the wedding ceremony! While wedding toasts and speeches are usually reserved for the reception, you can incorporate a short and sweet champagne wedding toast to the newlyweds during the wedding ceremony too.
A wedding ceremony toast can be as simple as, “Let’s all raise our glasses to the newlyweds and wish them a lifetime of happiness! Cheers to Jim and Pam!”
When should the toast at the wedding ceremony happen?
A wedding ceremony toast usually comes at the very end of the ceremony, right before or as part of the pronouncement of the couple. It’s the big celebratory ending, when everyone can raise their glasses to the brand new newlyweds!
Who should give the wedding ceremony toast?
Because this toast is usually part of the marriage pronouncement of the couple, it makes sense to have the wedding officiant give the ceremony toast. They can seamlessly transition from presenting the couple to leading the toast.
You could also choose to invite a special guest up to give the ceremony toast. This might be a great way to involve your parents in the ceremony or other loved ones. We have also seen couples decide to give the toast themselves, raising a glass to all of the wonderful guests who have joined them to celebrate!
Remember: A wedding ceremony toast is just a short “cheers to the couple/guests” moment. It is usually a sentence or two and not a full wedding speech, like you might hear at a wedding reception. Make sure whoever is giving this toast is aware that this moment should be short and sweet; they can save their stories about your childhood for their reception or rehearsal dinner speech!
5 reasons to have a wedding ceremony toast
- A wedding ceremony toast is memorable and unique! There’s a good chance your guests have never seen one before and won’t soon forget the awesome toast at your ceremony.
- You can customize the toast. While a champagne wedding toast might be the most traditional option, you don’t have to serve champagne. Pass out shots of tequila, mini bottles of your favourite liquor, juice boxes or tap a keg of your favourite craft beer.
- Start the party early. Nothing gets guests in a celebratory mood better than a ceremony toast! Let your guests know that your wedding is going to be a whole lot of fun when you bring cocktail hour to the ceremony.
- End your ceremony with a bang. If you’re looking for an exciting way to end your ceremony, a wedding toast is a great way to do just that. It definitely puts a big exclamation point on your ceremony!
- A wedding ceremony toast is a nice choice if you’re not having a reception. If you’re only hosting a ceremony or having an intimate elopement, including a toast in your wedding ceremony is a nice touch. It’s a chance for your loved ones to celebrate with you and raise a glass, since they won’t get to at a reception.
Of course, just because you’re having a wedding ceremony toast doesn’t mean you can’t have more toasts and speeches at your reception (if you’re having one). No guest will object to drinking delicious beverages in your honour more than once!
How to pull off a champagne wedding toast at your ceremony
While a champagne wedding toast – or wedding toast with your beverage of choice – may sound like a lot of fun, there are quite a few logistics that go into it. Check out our advice below to pull off the best wedding toast at your ceremony!
Keep it small
Wedding ceremony toasts work best with small groups. It’s a lot easier to get champagne flutes to 20 people than it is to 200! That’s not to say it’s impossible to do a toast with hundreds of guests at a ceremony, but it does get more complicated. The last thing you want to do is be stuck standing at the altar, waiting for 10 minutes while servers get glasses to every single person.
Figure out how drinks will get where they need to go
One of the big logistical problems you’ll need to solve in order to execute a ceremony toast is getting the drinks there and back. You’ll need to think about:
- How are the drinks getting to the ceremony venue and staying cold?
- When do guests get their drinks? Where or who do they get them from?
- What about the couple and wedding party? Where and when do they get their drinks?
- Where do empty cups/glasses/bottles/cans go afterwards?
- If the couple and wedding party have to recess back up the aisle after the toast, do they do so with their glasses or will someone collect them?
Some couples opt to have drinks available at the beginning of the ceremony, such as beer cans in a cooler that guests can pick up and bring to their seats. While this eliminates the need to hand out drinks mid-ceremony, it does mean that drinks could get warm, guests could start drinking before the official toast, and some guests may forget to pick up their drinks.
Instead, you may choose to have drinks distributed during the ceremony. This is less work for guests and ensures everyone gets one at the right time. However, this can be distracting if you don’t have a good time for it to happen during the ceremony. It can also take a long time if you don’t have enough people handing out drinks.
On top of the guests, you also have to consider the wedding party (if they’ll be standing at the front) and yourselves. You probably don’t want to hold cans of beer or glasses of wine as you come down the aisle and say your vows! How will you get your drinks in a quick and discreet way?
There’s no easy answer to these logistical questions. Our best advice is to think through the possible options and speak with your venue and vendors (more on that below). Because each ceremony is different, the right answer for a 12 person ceremony in your living room will be different than a 200 person ceremony in a hotel ballroom.
Plan something easy to drink
While a champagne wedding toast is traditional, it might not be the best option for your ceremony. Perhaps it’s easier for your guests to receive cans of craft beer or pre-mixed cocktails in bottles. If you do want to do a bubbly toast, consider having the champagne flutes pre-filled to save time.
You’ll also want to think about what guests are drinking out of. Plastic flutes and glasses may be easier to transport than heavy drink ware. Plus, plastic won’t shatter like real glass will if something gets dropped.
Lastly, you’ll want to consider your guests. While scotch may be your drink of choice, how do your guests feel about it? Will they happily toast to your marriage with a sip of Macallan or will there be a lot of grimacing faces and untouched glasses? You also want to consider guests who don’t drink alcohol, both adults and children. Will you serve a non-alcoholic beverage for them to toast with?
Discuss your toast plans with your venue and vendors
Before you get too far in your wedding toast planning, you’ll want to loop in your venue and ceremony vendors. Your venue has final say over whether a wedding ceremony toast can happen. They may require you to obtain a liquor licence in order to hand out alcoholic beverages. They may also have rules about open containers or using glass in their space.
Your vendors will also need to be made aware of your plans as they are likely the ones who will facilitate the drinking part of your toast. It may be up to your wedding planner, coordinator or venue waitstaff to figure out how drinks make it from the fridge to your guests’ hands. Plus, if your vendors have planned wedding ceremony toasts before, they may have some valuable advice for you!
Cheers to you for planning a personal wedding ceremony you and your guests will never forget! Don’t forget to check out our other wedding planning resources and get in touch to book a wedding officiant who will help you plan the most creative and custom ceremony ever!
written by Riana Ang-Canning
feature image by Clint Bargen Photography