Traditional Scottish Wedding Toast

A Scottish Piper image by Ray Carpenter from

If you or your spouse are of Scottish heritage, or want to include some traditions from Scotland in your wedding reception, there are several appropriate toasts for your guests to choose from. These sentiments will serve to wish you well as you start your new life together.

To Begin the Reception

According to Scottish tradition, the father of the bride or the wedding officiant is the first to offer a toast to the newly married couple. The toast should include words of advice on how to be happy in marriage, and the speaker may also share a funny story about the bride and groom.

To Show Thanks

The groom is traditionally responsible for responding to the initial wedding toast. He thanks the previous speaker, as well as the parents of the bride. The groom also toasts to his own parents, as well as to the bridesmaids and ushers for their help with wedding preparation and organisation.

To Extend Well Wishes

A toast is also given on behalf of the wedding attendants by the best man. He wishes the couple health and happiness, and extends a toast to the parents of the bride for hosting the occasion. The best man often ends his speech by toasting to the health of all four parents (the bride's parents as well as the groom's).

Additional Sentiments

Scottish toasts also serve to pronounce blessings on the bride and groom. It is common for an individual giving a wedding toast to repeat the Scottish sentiment 'May the Lord keep you in His hand, and never close His fist too tight on you,' in order to wish the couple prosperity and long life.

Time for Toasts

At a traditional Scottish wedding, there is time for only four people to propose toasts to the couple -- the father of the bride, the groom, the best man and the member of clergy who performed the ceremony. Since the best man serves as the voice of the wedding guests, this cuts down on the time taken for toasts so that the reception celebration can continue.