Wedding Traditions: Toasting the Bride and Groom

Toasting gets its name from an old tradition of dipping toast into a drink or to flavor a drink with spiced bread.  This was a common way to enjoy the company of others and eventually became a custom to honor visiting guests.

The phrase “to toast” became synonymous with bestowing honor on the person being “toasted”.

Part of the tradition has its roots in the sharing of a drink from the same glass so as to prove to the guest that the drink was not poisoned.  Later references talk of the clinking of two glasses together so that the liquid spilled over into each other’s glass; accomplishing the same thing, sharing the drink.  Also, there are some historical references that suggest the noise of the glasses clinking together would ward off malevolent spirits and bring the bride and groom good luck.

In the1800’s toasting became associated with celebrations, a gesture of good faith and a wish for the guest to have health and prosperity.  Eventually toasting became a wedding tradition as a way to wish good luck and a happy marriage to the newly married couple.

There are conflicting references as to who should toast first at a wedding celebration; the best man or the father of the bride.  But they all agree that the first toast should be to the bride.  It is not customary for the bride to offer a toast as the groom does this on behalf of the bride.

Although today a toast is typically made with an alcoholic beverage, any liquid is acceptable.  Champaign is considered especially festive.  When toasting, the glass should be held in your hand until the toast is complete to be polite.  It is also not polite not to drink from the glass (no matter what liquid is in it.).

When the bride and groom are being toasted they are to remain seated until after the toast and interestingly are not supposed to drink.  After the toast they can rise to thank the person completing the toast.

This tradition has evolved into more than a well-wishing toast but into a speech done by the father of the bride as well as the best man and others.  The speech part of this tradition is often one that brings fear to both of these people as few like giving speeches!  Our next blog post will give some simple steps the father of the bride can follow to create the perfect speech for his daughter.

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