In the UK, wedding toasts are traditionally given between the dinner and the cake cutting. The speeches are traditionally given by the groom (occasionally replaced by the father of the groom), the best man, and the father of the bride.
The wedding toasts typically go like this:
- The groom's speech is typically short: “thank you for coming, I'm so lucky”
- Father of the Bride's is sincere: “thank you for coming, I'm so proud”
- The best man's is fifteen minutes of sarcasm and embarrassing stories, usually with a slideshow: “Thank you for the booze, I'm so funny and has anyone here not seen the groom naked yet, because you're about to!!”
I really dislike that it's an all-male lineup, and that it's so focused on giving away and receiving the bride. However, there's a definite advantage to the fact it's limited to so few people, and you've really only got one wildcard on the sexism front… who'll probably be bugging people for embarrassing pics of the groom, so you can get them to pass the no-ball-and-chain rule on fairly easily.
It's hard to get more women in there because you end up adding to the number of speeches, and after about 30 minutes of dutifully clinking champagne glasses, guests start to get bored.
How to have a more unique feel to your wedding toasts, and hopefully less sexism, too:
- If you can do so without giving offense, rather than adding to to the traditional line-up, try substitute people
- Ask folks to give speeches in pairs.
- Whatever you do, keep the number and length of the speeches short — no more than 20 minutes total!
- If people want to go funny, remind them to keep it personal — not jokes they found on the internet!
- Alternately, ask each person to do something other than speeches entirely — my stepdad is a folk singer, so I asked him for a song rather than a speech!