A toast is someone or something in honor of which people usually have a drink,
or the drink or honor itself, or the act of indicating that honor. For example,
a person could be the toast of the town, for whom someone proposes a toast,
after which everyone toasts the honoree.
The act of toasting consists of three parts: The verbal toast,
the agreement, and the symbolic drink. In the verbal part, one person states a
reason for the toast. This can be as simple as "Cheers!" or "Here's to good
friends," or as complex as an anecdote followed by a statement of good will (for
example, "Wishing both of you a marriage that lasts forever").
Everyone else present signifies agreement by lifting their drinks into the air,
often accompanied by shouted or murmured sounds of agreement, either repeating
the toast word ("Cheers!") or confirming the sentiment with terms such as "Hear!
Hear!", and often followed by touching one's drinkware (the glass, the mug, and
so on) against those of everyone else within reach. The symbolic drink is simply
a matter of imbibing some of the drink to confirm the agreement; this can be a
quick sip or a long draught, with no particular emphasis indicated either way.
Many situations in which toasts take place involve alcoholic beverages, usually
champagne for particularly special occasions, but there is no requirement that
the beverages contain alcohol. Often, drinks are mixed among participants, such
as when some people drink sparkling cider instead of champagne.
A toast is really just a few words, basically a cheer, that is offered as you
raise a glass for a drink with your buddies. For a wedding, it's a bit more
formal, but basically the same thing - it would be something like:
marriages begin when we marry the one we love,
and they blossom when we love the one we married.
Wedding Toast to the Bride and Groom
But as the Best Man,
Maid of Honor, Father of the Bride, or even the Bride or Groom, a simple toast
or cheer is not going to be enough!
When someone asks you to "say a few words at the wedding", they're no longer
expecting a toast, but more likely 3 to 5 minutes of you congratulating the
Bride and Groom, speaking about the newlyweds, offering advice for married life,
or even poking a little fun of the Groom. And that is a Wedding Speech!