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As a rule of thumb, there are usually only four key speakers who offer toasts at the reception.  Here is the traditional order of toasts and speakers:
THE FIRST to speak is the bride's father, or the clergyman, or a close friend of the couple. The toast is 'The Happy Couple'. It is customary for this speech to contain compliments about the bride and groom, some words of wisdom on marriage, and amusing anecdotes about the couple.
THE BRIDEGROOM then replies on behalf of himself and his new wife. Tradition demands that somewhere in the first sentence he used the words which all guests are waiting for... 'on behalf of myself and my wife'. His speech can be brief but should include the following points:
  • To thank the first speaker 
  • To thank the guests, perhaps mentioning by name any who have travelled from far away. 
  • To thank them for their gifts and best wishes 
  • To thank, above all his new parents-in-law for the wedding, and of course, for their daughter 
  • To thank his own parents 
  • And finally to thank the bridesmaids and ushers and to propose the toast 'The Bridesmaids' 
Remember the term 'bridesmaid' refers to an unmarried women.   It's a matron of honour if the lady is married.
THE BEST MAN replies on behalf of the attendants.  He ends his speech with a special word of thanks to the parents of the bride as hosts, and proposes the toast 'The health of all four parents'. The best man then goes on to read the greetings and messages which have been received at the Hotel.
THE BRIDE'S FATHER may then wish to say a few words if he has not already spoken, thanking everyone for coming to his daughter's reception and hoping that they will enjoy the rest of the celebrations.
BEWARE - jokes that went down well with the lads on the stag night could well upset the minister and a few elderly aunts.  So watch what you say!
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