Modern weddings require an extraordinary amount of work -- and it's not just the bride and her mother making all the plans. Members of the wedding party are expected to propose a toast, and a simple "To your health!" won't do.
On a day when your closest friends or family members are getting married, you want to offer eloquence, wit and maybe just a touch of sage advice as you toast the happy couple. But not everyone has a way with words. Add in a healthy fear of public speaking, and it's easy to see why so many people struggle to compose a meaningful toast.
While most toasts are directed at the bride and groom, the newlyweds may toast the bridesmaids and groomsmen, as well as their parents. This means that everyone from the best man to the bride herself may be struggling to put together the perfect wedding-day toast.
Rather than trying to write an entirely original toast, why not build your speech around a quote from a noted figure? A timeless quote keeps guests engaged and staves off boredom, and you'll only need to add a few heartfelt words of your own to create the perfect toast. Use one of our 10 favorite quotes to find the inspiration you need to toast your family and friends in style.
10: Quote the Great Bard
My heart is ever at your service.
It may be short, but this quote from the famous playwright displays a powerful sense of poignancy. Not only does it perfectly capture the love and optimism of your wedding day, but it also speaks volumes above what any love poem ever could about devotion and commitment. What could any newlywed want more than a well-worded declaration of service and commitment?
Brides and grooms can use this quote to toast each other and offer a sweet, sincere alternative to the traditional rambling wedding toast. And because Shakespeare's name is almost universally recognized, this quote will help you grab your guests' attention after they've been sitting through a long round of toasts and speeches.
9: For the Father of the Bride
It is written, when children find true love, parents find true joy. Here's to your joy and ours from this day forward.
It's hard to find anyone more emotional than the bride and groom on their wedding day, unless it's their parents. Weddings are a loaded time for moms and dads, who experience a wide range of emotions watching their children prepare for a new life. This quote provides a way to toast the new couple and express joy for the choices a son or daughter has made and the person he or she has become. The words are full of warmth and love, but they're not so sentimental that guests will have to break out the tissues. Parents can combine this quote with a few favorite memories, or skip the reminiscing to keep the toast short and sweet.
8: Offer Advice for Wedded Bliss
Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.
-Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
If you're relieved to be done with the wedding planning (and halfway through the reception!), it's easy to forget that the real work hasn't even started yet.
Marriage is a work in progress, and the feelings and attractions that brought you together early on in your relationship are unlikely to hold you together as you mature and your lifestyle changes. Parents or grandparents who incorporate this quote into a toast can offer a gentle reminder that marriage is about growing old together and developing common goals and beliefs.
Saint-Exupéry's famous quote also makes the perfect starting point for toasts between the bride and groom. Promise that you'll build a future together, and that you'll always honor his or her needs and point of view.
7: Balance Wit and Wisdom to Toast the Bride
May she share everything with her husband, including the housework.
Forget flowers and chocolates -- what most women really want is for their husbands to do the dishes! The classic housewife role has fallen by the wayside as more women work outside of the home. Modern couples eschew traditional gender roles, and it's becoming more common for men and women to share financial burdens and household duties equally.
This quote will elicit a laugh from your guests, but it also provides good advice for the newlyweds. It reminds the bride to ask her husband for help and lets the groom know that he shares responsibility for maintaining the home. Bridesmaids, parents and friends can use this quote to toast the bride, but you shouldn't use it as an excuse to pick on the groom. Keep the tone light, and end with a heartfelt sentiment to balance out your sense of humor.
6: Share a Religious Verse
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance.
-1 Corinthians 13:7
Emphasize the deep spiritual nature of a wedding with a quote from the New Testament. Traditional verses like this one allow you to celebrate religion and the role it plays in marriage even if the bride and groom don't share your faith.
At its heart, this quote simply reminds the couple that marriage takes work, optimism and commitment through good times and bad. It paints such a complete picture of marriage that there's no need to add your own sentiments or anecdotes unless you want to. A simple congratulations and a raise of the glass will complement this quote perfectly, fulfilling the toasting duties of parents, friends or other guests.
5: Go Greek
By all means marry; if you get a good wife, you'll be happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher.
Who knew Socrates was a comedian? You'll amuse guests by showing them just how relevant this ancient Greek philosopher can be in our modern times. Just as Socrates was able to balance wit and wisdom, so, too, can a heartfelt toast. Parents, friends and even the best man can choose this quote to toast the groom on his wise decision to marry (and to applaud the perfect partner he picked!).
The groom can also make use of Socrates' words to toast his new bride at the reception or rehersal dinner. Add a sweet touch by daring to disagree with the great philosopher. Remind your guests that a good wife doesn't just make you happy -- the important lessons she teaches you about life, love and leaving the toilet seat down could turn any man into a philosopher.
4: Laugh with the Good-humored Bride
Sexiness wears thin after a while, and beauty fades. But to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that's a real treat.
It's hard to argue with this piece of advice from movie star Joanne Woodward. After all, her marriage to the late, great Paul Newman spanned four decades. In this quote, she shares the secret to a happy marriage: It's all about a good sense of humor.
New couples face plenty of challenges in the early days of marriage. What better way to move past newlywed squabbles than learn to laugh about them? This is the perfect quote for a toast by the bridesmaids to the happy couple as they remind their friends what will build a lasting relationship.
This quote also gives the bride an opportunity to celebrate her new groom's sense of humor. Witty, heartfelt quotes like this one help to keep toasts light and happy (and keep tears and heavy sentiment at bay).
3: Share Classic Wisdom
There's nothing more admirable than two people who see eye to eye keeping house as man and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their friends.
As true today as it was 3,000 years ago, this quote by the ancient Greek writer is a testament to marriage. Just as contemporary couples rely on love to build a successful marriage, their predecessors shared the same goals, dreams, struggles and sense of loving commitment.
Homer's words are universal and can be used in toasts given by parents, friends, or even the bride and groom themselves. It also stands on its own as a celebration of marriage. After all, what better goal could a married couple have than to keep a comfortable house, unite against troubles and share love and friendship? Keep your toast simple, and wrap up this quote with, "We're delighted to share this day with you and look forward to the future."
2: Remind Them That Marriage Takes Persistence
A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.
This quote is appropriate whether you're the mother of the groom or the bride's best friend. It's equal parts warmth and wit, adding a touch of humor to a very serious sentiment. McLaughlin, an American journalist known for her highly quotable works, enjoyed a long marriage to fellow writer Robert McLaughlin.
Her words caution the bride and groom that there are times to come that will challenge their union. Even in the most successful marriages, there are times of doubt, but what holds couples together is an underlying love for each other.
Personalize this quote with an anecdote of your own experiences, or a piece of advice for keeping the love strong over the years. This type of sentiment is particularly poignant coming from someone who's been part of a long marriage, such as parents or grandparents.
1: Celebrate All That's Still to Come
Grow old with me. The best is yet to be -- the last of life for which the first was made.
Not everyone can be a poet, but you can borrow a verse from one of the best for your wedding day toast. Victorian poet Robert Browning left hundreds of written works, but it's perhaps this quote for which he was best known. His words hint at the memories still to come, of children, goals and a shared future with limitless opportunity. It's particularly relevant today, when many couples separate before reaching old age. When your chances for success are relatively small, what's more romantic than vowing that your union will last?
It's hard to imagine a more beautiful and romantic image than an elderly couple rocking on the front porch after a long, fulfilling marriage. Anyone can get married, but it takes true love to stay together until the end.
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- The Coalition for Marriage. Couples and Family Education. "Marriage Quotes." (Aug. 13, 2010).http://www.smartmarriages.com/marriage.quotes.html
- Dickson, Paul. "Toasts." The Crown Publishing Group, New York, 1991.
- Warner, Diane. "Complete Book of Wedding Toasts." The Career Press, New Jersey, 1997