No Nonsense Tips for Giving a Great Wedding Toast

RF250739There is a tradition at weddings that compels people who have no public speaking experience – and very little desire to develop any – to stand up in a room packed full of people, many of them strangers, and give a heartfelt, memorable speech in the form of a wedding toast.

The wedding toast is a time honored tradition and if it falls to you to make one yourself it is a must that you know what you intend to say before those toasting glasses are raised. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you write (and rehearse) your contribution to the wedding:

Be Yourself

Wedding toasts can become disastrous when the speaker chooses to try their hand at acting rather than be themselves. It usually goes one of two ways; either the toaster attempts a formal speech, quoting iconic poetry that a professional actor would find hard to pull off in a speech and the toast seems formal and pompous, or they try their hand at stand up comedy and leave everyone squirming in their seats trying to laugh at something that is lame rather than funny. Be yourself and speak from the heart and you should be just fine.

It’s Not All About You

As much as you should be yourself when giving a wedding toast it is certainly not all about you. While it is expected that you might recount memorable times you have spent with the bride and/or groom it is not the time to prove to everyone that it is you that is their BFF above all others.

Don’t Be Negative

Perhaps you and the couple (or half of the couple) do have a rather teasing relationship in private and that can be a great dynamic (and especially true in the case of siblings).  The wedding however really is not the time to continue that. A wedding is not really the right time to make fun of the groom’s indecisiveness, their lack of fashion sense, or the bride’s cooking. The bottom line is if you are in any way in doubt about whether something you think of to say may be perceived as too negative for your toast, just leave it out.

Keep it Simple

A wedding toast does not have to be any longer than two minutes and it does not have to be an Oscar worthy performance. Here are the basic guidelines the average wedding toast should follow:

Open with who you are and how you know the bride or groom. Briefly talk about what you’ve observed about their happiness since meeting and share a great (true) story about when you know they were ‘the ones’ for each other. Wish them a lifetime of happiness together, raise your glass to them and then sit down. As much as wedding toasts are a part of the day so is dancing, eating and having fun, so a nice short and to the point toast means that everyone can get back to doing that as well.

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