Attending a wedding is exciting: the invitation has promised a beautiful event and the couple has worked hard to make their special day as close to perfect as possible.
Now that they have said their vows and exchanged wedding rings, the receiving line is formed at the reception venue. Do you know what's the most appropriate comment to say to the bride and groom?
Surprisingly, many people who are invited to a wedding don't give this much thought, but what you say to the newlyweds at this point is important. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you greet the bride and groom or offer a toast to their happiness:
Plan and Rehearse
Think about your relationship with the couple: "Congratulations on your marriage" is always appropriate, but if you have known them for a long time, you may want to add a personal sentiment that you both understand.
Keep Your Comments Clean
You want to be sincere in whatever you say, but also respectful of the occasion. This is definitely not the time to make off-color jokes or statements of an intimate nature.
It's perfectly normal for a guest to want to see the wedding rings up-close and personal, but it courteous to ASK first, rather that simply grab the bride's hand to look.
Keep It Brief
Remember that there are other guests who want to congratulate the lucky couple, so limit your conversation on the receiving line to 1 minute. This may not seem like a lot of time, but you can say 250 words in 60 seconds.
Sometimes the excitement of an occasion prevents us from seeing a person's reaction to what we have said. It's just as important to listen to the response from the bride and groom.
Have Yourself a Seat
When you have greeted everyone on the receiving line and congratulated the bride and groom, move away from the receiving line area and find your seat.
All of these tips may sound like common sense however, they are worth repeating. All it takes is one careless or insensitive statement to the bride or groom to put a damper on the joy of the moment. Comments that refer to either the financial aspect of the wedding or the days of the couple's single life are absolutely off-limits at a wedding.
When it comes to making a toast to the newlyweds, you must respect protocol and allow the bridal party and their families to make their toasts first. If possible you should make a request before the wedding so that they are prepared. After everyone has spoken, it's good form to ask permission to speak before you raise your glass in honor of the bride and groom.
Once you get the green light to speak, the same rules apply as on the receiving line. A short, humorous story can be told as part of the toast, but make sure you keep your speech short and sweet.