Any of us who have attended weddings remember particularly great wedding toasts that were heartfelt and entertaining. Unfortunately, many of us also have probably witnessed toasts delivered by an intoxicated wet blanket who was insulting, sloppy, and brought the mood down. If you are tasked with giving a toast at a wedding, follow these steps to ensure that your toast is a highlight of the reception, and something you, and the bride and groom, can look back on fondly.
Best Tips for a Great Wedding Toast:
- Keep your toast short, under five minutes.
- Focus on the couple and their relationship.
- Keep it tasteful.
- You’ll be nervous, put key points on some notecards to keep you on track.
- Don’t be drunk, sloppy toasts are embarrassing for everyone.
- Be positive and share your warmest feelings, make it a toast the couple can be honored to share in their wedding video!
Read on for how to prepare yourself for Toastmaster Extraordinaire –
Preparing Your Toast
Don’t wait until the night before the wedding to start thinking about what you are going to say! If you are asked to give a toast, it shouldn’t be a spontaneous, off-the-cuff monologue, but rather a thoughtful, heartfelt expression of your well-wishes to the new couple. This approach will help you prepare:
- Brainstorm different stories, memories, and details about the couple. What comes to mind when you think about them together? What do they share in common and enjoy doing together? What are your favorite memories of the couple?
- What do you think is the most important about the union of these two people? What would you say to describe them to someone who doesn’t know them? How do they make one another a better person?
- Does a theme arise in your brainstorming that might help organize your toast? If an overall theme isn’t apparent, don’t get hung up on it. Perhaps you can talk about the progression of their relationship.
Writing Your Toast
This is not a time for you to show off or make the toast about you. Your toast should include the names of the couple far more than it includes “I” statements or references to your actions. Writing a toast is a process of brainstorming ideas, then organizing them into a short speech people can relate to. Try this approach:
- Start writing! Turn off your editor, and just put pen to paper and start putting your thoughts and ideas down.
- Once you get all your thoughts down on paper, look for patterns or chronology to organize what you want to say. Consider making a key point about the couple, then highlight it with a story, anecdote or memory that demonstrates your point.
- Keep the message positive and focused on the future. This is not a story of the “good old days”, it is about a new life that the couple is starting together.
The best wedding toasts are heartfelt and sincere. Some humor is fine, but remember it’s a mixed audience so don’t say anything too risqué, offensive or otherwise insulting. Ultimately, your toast should pay tribute to the couple and their union.
Delivering the Toast
Think of delivering a toast as a performance. You are getting into a character – a poised, sincere, loved-one of the bride or groom. When you stand up to deliver your toast:
- Stand up, introduce yourself, and share your connection to the couple.
- Connect with the couple and the audience by looking around the room and making eye contact.
- Don’t speak too fast when you deliver your toast. It’s okay to pause and take a breath now and then.
- End with your wish for the couple, and raise your glass in toast, “Let’s toast to the future and happiness of Bob and Mary. To Bob and Mary!”
Featured Image Credit: Samantha Kensell – Samantha Kensell Photography: samanthakensellphotography.com