What’s the Difference Between a Wedding Toast and a Wedding Speech?

A toast is someone or something in honor of which people usually have a drink, or the drink or honor itself, or the act of indicating that honor. For example, a person could be the toast of the town, for whom someone proposes a toast, after which everyone toasts the honoree.

The act of toasting consists of three parts: The verbal toast, the agreement, and the symbolic drink. In the verbal part, one person states a reason for the toast. This can be as simple as “Cheers!” or “Here’s to good friends,” or as complex as an anecdote followed by a statement of good will (for example, “Wishing both of you a marriage that lasts forever”).

Everyone else present signifies agreement by lifting their drinks into the air, often accompanied by shouted or murmured sounds of agreement, either repeating the toast word (“Cheers!”) or confirming the sentiment with terms such as “Hear! Hear!”, and often followed by touching one’s drinkware (the glass, the mug, and so on) against those of everyone else within reach. The symbolic drink is simply a matter of imbibing some of the drink to confirm the agreement; this can be a quick sip or a long draught, with no particular emphasis indicated either way.

Many situations in which toasts take place involve alcoholic beverages, usually champagne for particularly special occasions, but there is no requirement that the beverages contain alcohol. Often, drinks are mixed among participants, such as when some people drink sparkling cider instead of champagne.

A toast is really just a few words, basically a cheer, that is offered as you raise a glass for a drink with your buddies. For a wedding, it’s a bit more formal, but basically the same thing – it would be something like:

Here’s to the husband
And here’s to the wife
May they be lovers
The rest of their life.
May you both live as long as you want,
And never want as long as you live.

But as the Best Man, Maid of Honor, Father of the Bride, or even the Bride or Groom, a simple toast or cheer is not going to be enough!

When someone asks you to “say a few words at the wedding“, they’re no longer expecting a toast, but more likely 3 to 5 minutes of you congratulating the Bride and Groom, speaking about the newlyweds, offering advice for married life, or even poking a little fun of the Groom. And that is a Wedding Speech!

You can add a wedding toast to the closing of your speech, but don’t be fooled when someone asks you to “say a few words” at the Wedding!

Find more out about Instant Wedding Toasts