Post # 1
Having never been to a rehearsal dinner, I need an overview of what is supposed to happen. Everyone eats, obviously, but do we (FH or I) toast anyone? Everyone? Do we propose it or is the groom just supposed to respond to someone else’s toast?
Also – at the reception, I’m getting conflicting information about who toasts. I know the best man, for sure, but what about groomsmen, Maid/Matron of Honor, bridesmaid, or parents? And the newly married couple? Do they say anything?
Please help, I’m totally clueless on this.
Post # 3
Well, I’m no expert on etiquette and tend to thumb my nose in it’s general direction half the time… ;-), but this is how I saw it and what we did.
I felt like the rehearsal dinner was really my time to toast everyone else. I wish I’d thought ahead and planned to toast everyone individually as I gave out their gifts, but I didn’t think of it until it was too late and my Darling Husband had already given out everyone’s gifts. (He was like a kid on christmas handing everything out). But at least I gave one big toast about how much everyone had helped us (and how much they were going to help us the next day at the wedding) and how appreciative I was. I wish I’d thought more about it before hand though. All the great things I’d thought of saying over the months leading up to the rehearsal dinner all kind of escaped me!
We had put an insert in the invitations letting everyone know that we were going to open the floor for toasts from anyone at the wedding. (What’s an Scotts-Irish wedding without toasts right?) I felt that this was when anyone who wanted to could congratulate us and let everyone in on the embarrassing stories. It worked out perfectly. We had people schedule to toast so that we could get things started and then it just went from there. When I felt that everyone was done, I got up and toasted everyone again. Telling them again, how thankful I was and how we couldn’t have had such a beautiful wedding without their help. Then I toasted my new husband, telling him how he had changed my life and how I already loved being his wife.
As far as who is "suppose" to toast. I think only the Best Man is usually required (although I’ve heard people making substitutions for extremely shy best men). I think it’s only fair to ask the Maid/Matron of Honor to do the same thing. But I think the bottom line is to think about how important it is to you. For me it was really important and I wanted it to be a big part of the reception. If it’s not that big of a deal then don’t worry about anyone doing it. I’ve seen parents, siblings, wedding party members, and then no one at some weddings.
I do however think that whatever you choose to do, let the toasters know ahead of time and maybe even give them some good resources to jumpstart their creativity. The knot has some awesome articles under the best man section that has awesome quotes and such.
Good luck! And sorry that was SOOOOOOO long!