Throughout history wine has been used for celebration. Often wine has signified, life, health, and vitality. The first toast most likely occurred during biblical times, but the first toast on record occurred in 450 AD at a huge feast in England. Quickly, the practice spread and became a common and ritualistic event at large feasts and gatherings.
Initially, the custom of clinking glasses was originally part of an old superstition that caused people to believe that the ringing noise produced by the glasses would keep evil spirits at bay. The actual phrase “toast” comes from a common middle ages practice of submerging toasted bread in wine to improve the flavor. The glass of wine was then communally shared by all of the guests. The seventeenth century added the concept of the toastmaster who was responsible for determining the order of the toasts and acknowledging those who needed to be recognized. But it wasn’t until the nineteenth century that toasts became the socially proper thing to do.
The history of the wedding toast, most likely follows the same timeline. As toasts became more and more structured and common for other event s and gatherings, the wedding toast assumed similar popularity and formality. Today, wedding toasts are common and follow a strict order. Often a DJ or a hired Master of Ceremonies serves as the toastmaster.
Traditionally, the best man offers the first toast. During his speech he should raise a glass to the bride and the groom. He should take special care to devote the bulk of his toast to the bride-it’s her big day, after all. The groom should offer a toast after the best man. He should acknowledge his new bride and also all of those who took part in planning and preparing for the wedding. The bride’s toast should follow the grooms and should be a toast to her family, all of her attendants, and her new husband. When the bride is finished speaking, the maid of honor traditionally offers a toast. The final formal toast should be given by the father of the bride. Non-traditional weddings may forgo or alter the speech order to suit the bride and grooms preference.