Marrying Minors: Toasting is Toast

The Wedding Guru Judy Lewis fields this week’s wedding questions. Today: Toasting is Toast

Dear Reader:

This entry is the first in the Wedding Guru blog that will appear every other week. The content will be driven by your questions, so I encourage you to e-mail and I will make every effort to answer you in the blog. If you wish, I will omit your name so you can be anonymous. (Just let me know to do so in your e-mail.) Your question may be edited, or combined with another like it and, on occasion, I may direct you to more information in an article on Please be patient while waiting for an answer and please check back often. I hope you will find the blog informative and will always appreciate your feedback.

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With warm regards,

Joan asks: “We have a situation where the reception is being held in the church hall. We are using white grape juice and ginger ale punch. Both the bride and groom are under age (19 years old). The pastor says we may not even toast the couple with punch because it denotes alcohol. Our belief is we will be wishing the best to and honoring the young couple, and alcohol is not an issue.

Is there any precedent we can share with them to show that alcohol is not the important ingredient in a toast, but instead it’s the message given? Surely alcoholic and medically restricted persons can toast as well as our youngsters. We need something to back us up. Any help you can give us would be greatly appreciated!”

Dear Joan: I certainly understand your wish to have a celebratory toast, a tradition that dates back hundreds of years. There are, however, minor children involved and setting an example for them is what’s critical. Your pastor’s objection is much like not allowing children to “smoke” candy cigarettes. The least important part of a toast is what’s in the glasses. The most significant are the words that are said to honor the couple. Eliminate the punch toast and create new tradition. Hold a candle aloft to toast the couple with light. Recite the words of the toast to honor them. Or, look up the language that different flowers represent; check out this article about floral arrangements. You can also create a bouquet of flowers with special significance that you include in the toast and hand the bouquet to the couple.

To submit a question to “The Wedding Guru,” e-mail it to 

toasting at a weddingPhotograph courtesy of Hallmark Cards

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