Because if you're going to give a speech, you'll want to make sure it's a good one.

By Jillian Kramer
January 27, 2020

While the mother-of-the-bride doesn't typically give a toast at the wedding—that honor is often reserved for the father-of-the-bride—there are situations in which a mother may opt to raise her glass to the happy couple, such as when a father has passed away or in the case of a divorced household. Of course, as Kelly Heyn, owner of SociaLife Events in New Jersey points out, "the mother-of-the-bride may also be expected to give a small toast at the bridal shower or at the rehearsal dinner," which means it's high time to hone your toasting skills.

And so here, according to Heyn, are the essentials to any killer mother-of-the-bride toast.

Related: Rules for Giving a Wedding Toast

Include a heartfelt, happy memory.

Start your toast with a memory that only a mother could speak to, suggests Heyn. "It should come as no surprise that a mother-of-the-bride has a special bond with her daughter," Heyn says. "Not only did she raise her, but she was there to witness every milestone in her life—and wedding guests really enjoy hearing about happy memories from the bride's childhood to get a glimpse at what she was like before they knew her." For that reason, the best memories will be those that most guests didn't witness firsthand, Heyn says. And when choosing the perfect story, consider one that will "highlight your daughter's personality or accomplishments, but [will not] embarrass her," Heyn warns.

Add a dream you have for the bride or the couple.

"A mother has many dreams for her daughter, one of which is that she will someday fall in love and get married," says Heyn. During your toast, you can share a dream—or the fact it has already come true. "Sharing your personal wish for your daughter and her new partner is a great way to express what you may have dreamed for her when she was born, in a way that only a mother can," Heyn explains. You can "offer your own piece of marriage advice or share some encouraging words about the joys and adventures that lay before them," too.

Welcome your daughter's partner into your family.

Before you close your toast, don't forget to "welcome your new son- or daughter-in-law into the family," says Heyn. "Not only will this naturally wrap up your toast, but it also gives you an opportunity to speak directly to your daughter's new partner." You could take this time to highlight his or her best attributes and why you feel he or she is the perfect partner for your daughter, Heyn says. "Feel free to bring up a story about [her partner]," Heyn adds.

Keep it short and sweet.

At wedding functions, guests are often asked to listen to multiple toasts. And "truth be told, most guests lose interest after only a few minutes," Heyn says. "It can be difficult choosing just one story to share or memory that highlights all of the important moments that led to this day, but your toast should really not exceed five minutes. Guests will appreciate and remember a shorter toast that says all the right things instead of a longer [detailed] toast."

And be sure to practice.

As they say, practice makes perfect—and a mother-of-the-bride toast is no exception, Heyn says. "Everyone has different reactions when it comes to public speaking," Heyn points out. "Some people thrive in those environments and others tense up. The best way to ensure you remain calm and collective when giving a toast is by practicing." She recommends that you write your speech a few months in advance, which allows for ample time to practice. "Read the speech out loud or practice in front of a few friends to get their feedback," Heyn says. "The more times you recite the toast, the more comfortable you will feel giving it."

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