At some point or another, we've all had to stand up and speak publicly. Whether that was in high school or college for a communication course, for work, in front of a group of friends, or at a wedding. Wedding toasts can be a wonderful moment where the Bride + Groom reflect on meaningful relationships with their siblings, friends, and parents all the while the other guests have a good laugh and embrace the sentimental moment. Or wedding toasts can be disastrous. Like the time at my friend Anna's wedding when the Best Man slurred his speech and brought up the Grooms old college flings. Awkward doesn't even begin to describe the feeling in the room. So to avoid those uncomfortable moments, I've put together a quick list of tips that are sure to help you write a wonderful toast that will be remembered for all of the right reasons..
Take three deep breaths, stand up, face the guests, focus on the Bride + Groom, and own the room. I know it may sound easier said than done, but if you have confidence, it will show and any mispronunciation or wrong word won't sound nearly as out of place. The Best Man in our wedding wrote a poem and it was incredible; he was so confident delivering it, that everyone still talks about how wonderful his speech was.
2. BE PREPARED
Your speech should be written ahead of time, not during dinner before you're invited up to speak. Well thought out speeches always flow much better, are easier to understand, and having something prepared will boost your confidence.
Keep your speech focused on the Bride + Groom. Yes it's wonderful that you were college roommates and I'm sorry that you're still single, but all of these guests aren't here to listen to you ramble about being days gone by and how the Bride was always your wing-woman at the bar. My MOH gave a wonderful speech focusing it on my husband and I, our future, and how she couldn't wait to see all of the wonderful things that were to come, and believe me she could of told some real stories on me!
4. FOR ALL EARS
I can't stress this enough but keep your speech family friendly. There is nothing more awkward or panic attack prone than talking about the Bride or Groom's past blunders, flings, or that one time when. Remember this is a celebratory occasion, and someone's Grandma is sitting two tables over from you. Don't embarrass yourself, other guests, or especially the guests of honor. Please.
There is nothing worse than being in a room with two people who have a ton of inside jokes and you don't have a clue regarding what they're laughing about. Inside jokes are so cliche. You're not only talking to the person, you're talking to everyone. Don't make guests feel confused or left out.
6. HUMOR IS GOOD
Making the guests laugh is always good. There's nothing better than a positive reaction to a joke, but remember you walk a fine line between embarrassment and a funny story. Keep it light, and if you second guess something while writing the speech then leave it out. This isn't a standup routine, this is a wedding reception, so treat it as such.
Introduce Yourself + Brief personal connection to the Bride or Groom + Short Story / Meaningful Words to the Person + Compliment the Couple + A Simple Salutation | Cheers!
Think about it this way: what would you want someone to say if this were your wedding day?
Write it out, type it out, rehearse it out loud and in front of others. Practice makes perfect, and it will help your confidence and delivery. You don't want to have it memorized perfectly because it still needs to sound natural, but you also don't want the moment you give your toast to be the first time that you read it out loud.
My go-to wedding toast:
"May your love be modern enough to survive the times, but old fashioned enough to last forever."
Written by: J McGee