The Best Man Toast Etiquette

Follow these basic rules and deliver a warm and well-received speech

By Tiesha Whatley

rowdy wedding guests watch best man give a speech
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As the chief male assistant, the best man has a host of responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is to give a toast during the wedding reception. An effective best man toast adheres to certain rules of etiquette. It is an honor to be bestowed the role of best man, so make sure that your toast is a mixture of warmth, humor and emotion.

Write in advance

It is considered rude to make up your toast on the spot. Show the bride and groom that you cared enough to think about them and the toast in advance by preparing your speech -- and practicing it -- as early as a week in advance of the event.

Know your subject

Know the temperaments of the bride and groom. Do not be too funny and teasing for a mostly serious groom and vice versa.

Know Your Audience

Make your toast appropriate for different age groups. It may seem fun to use fraternity-house language, but it may be too much for the sensitive ears of some of the more conservative guests.

Length of toast

Even if you have a lifetime of memories with the groom, don't go on and on in your speech; no one wants to sit through an incredibly long speech. Keep your speech between one and five minutes -- 10 at the most.

Sandwich technique

Use the "sandwich technique" when writing your speech. Open with a sincere comment, gradually add jokes and stories, and then end with congratulations and sentiment.

About the Author

Tiesha Whatley is a contributor to

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Wedding Glossary


Male bridal party member who show guests to their seats before the ceremony. Often also performs the role of groomsman.

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