Ask the Wedding Maven: Giving a Toast, When You Don't Know the Couple

By Azure Nelson, Published Sep 10, 2009

Dear Wedding Maven, I am the matron of honor in my sister’s wedding. My sister and I have never been close. We live on opposite sides of the country, and rarely see each other. Frankly, I’m a little surprised that she asked me to be in her wedding, much less her matron of honor. But, both our parents are gone, and I guess she just wanted someone from her family standing with her. Her wedding is next month, and so far, I’ve done nothing. Everything I’ve offered to do has been rejected, and she hasn’t asked me to do anything except show up and give a toast. There’s my problem. What on earth will I say? At this point, I don’t really know her very well and I don’t know her fiancé at all! How can I make a personal toast to people I don’t know? Signed Under-used Matron of Honor Dear Under-Used, I think you’re probably right that your role as matron-of-honor is a matter of your sister wanting a family member with her. That gives you the perfect set up for your toast. Here it goes: Growing up, my sister and I were not the type of girls to sit around planning our wedding. But, if we had, I'm sure we never could have dreamed something as wonderful and moving as today. I think we can all be inspired by how much Sister and BIL love each other, and I'm so grateful to have a role in this wonderful wedding. Of course, Sister and I can't help but be sad that our parents aren’t here to share this day with us. They loved Sister so much and would have been so happy to see how happy she is. So, for myself, my family, and my parents, I ask you all to raise a glass and toast sister and BIL. By mentioning your childhood, even in this vague a way, you give the appearance of intimacy. (If your sister did sit around planning her wedding as a child, just change it to “my sister used to daydream … and it shows”). By mentioning your parents at the end, you not only give them the proper honor and respect they should have at this family occasion, you also honor your sister’s reasons for choosing you as matron of honor. Plus, not to be crass, but bringing up the fact that the bride’s parents are dead, is a surefire way to get the tears going and distract people from the fact that you and your sister barely know each other and your toast could have been written by a complete stranger (which, hey, it was). Although you didn't really get to do much as matron of honor, perhaps this was your sister’s baby step at opening up the lines of communication between the two of you. If it’s important to you, see what you can do to keep the lines open. Good luck! Do you need wedding advice? Do you have a question about wedding traditions, etiquette, or relationships? Ask the Wedding Maven at About the Wedding Maven

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