Who toasts absent friends at a wedding?

23/06/2023

Weddings seem to be full of traditions and rules of etiquette. You can’t see the bride before the wedding. Hang on, no. That’s just the groom. Save the top tier of the cake for a baptism. Guests must not wear white dresses without permission, and if one does, the maid of honour is obligated to throw red wine at them. (That last part may not be a rule.)

The point of etiquette isn’t just about good manners, it also helps assign tasks so that, during what is a busy day, the important things don’t get missed out. One of those things is the toasts, and in particular, a toast to absent friends. So, who gets the honour? 

The etiquette of wedding toasts

A toast is a way of expressing appreciation and goodwill by raising your glasses together and taking a drink. Throughout the wedding speeches certain toasts are expected as part of the traditional format. The Father of the Bride will raise a toast to his daughter. The Groom will raise a toast to the bridal party and ushers. However, one key piece of etiquette to remember; if you haven’t been asked to give a toast during the speeches or throughout the day, then don’t just jump up and wade in.

Generally, you should stand when raising a toast, however, there are occasions when you would not. And toasts should be spaced out, to avoid having your guests bobbing up and down. So, it’s important that the person proposing the toast indicates whether guests should stand or sit.

A toast to absent friends

The toast to absent friends is usually part of the best man’s speech. The best man has a list of requirements as part of his role: thanking the bridesmaids, remembering to compliment them; some comments about the bride, and then the chance to share some humorous – but not too risqué – stories about the groom.

Then, the best man will read out any cards or messages from friends and family who haven’t been able to attend, and at this point, ask them to raise a glass to absent friends. This is one of the toasts where guests remain seated, as the people they are toasting are not in the room. This can be a straightforward toast, acknowledging relatives who live abroad, for example. However, it can also be a more sentimental moment, recognising important members of family who have passed on.

Finally, the groom offers one last toast to the bride and groom, and then the party can begin.

A wonderful place for a party

The lovely thing about weddings today is that the bridal couple often create their own style of day by mixing tradition with a modern approach. It’s quite usual today to have the maid of honour or bride give a speech as well, for example, and that might mean changing who gives the toast to absent friends or even leaving that part out. Whatever you choose to do to create the wedding of your choice, we’ve got the venue where you’ll want to host it. Coton House Farm offers all the flexibility you need, with licensed space indoor and outdoor for your ceremony, a beautiful Oak Barn for a traditional wedding breakfast, and our Stable Courtyard for a modern, relaxed vibe. But whichever one you choose, we’re sure there will still be plenty of toasts.

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