After many weeks, months, and sometimes years of wedding preparation, your loved one or friend’s wedding day has finally arrived, but what would a wedding be without a well thought out toast that appropriately honors the occasion? Whether you are the maid of honor, the best man, the father of the bride, or an honored wedding guest, below are a few suggestions on how to write and deliver the perfect wedding toast:
Procrastination Will Lead to a Bad Toast
The groom or bride consider you to be close enough to prepare a toast, and you should approach this task with a high degree of seriousness. Unless you are talented at speaking off the cuff, you do not want to be the speaker who scribbles your speech on a cocktail napkin five minutes before you are supposed to talk. Draft your toast speech at least four weeks before the wedding reception to provide yourself ample time to edit your work, get other people’s suggestions, and memorize what you plan on saying.
What Not to Say
Most importantly, what are the things you should not say during your toast? When you are writing your wedding reception toast, it can be tempting to talk about embarrassing dating stories, or exes, or to say how you thought the groom or bride would never settle down, but keep that material for the bachelor or bachelorette party.
While you may have been friends with the groom or bride since you were infants, not everyone may appreciate the kind of humor you share. Even worse, you may cause the audience to laugh while the happy couple feels uncomfortable, embarrassed, or even angry. Never leave the other guests wondering if you are delivering a roast or a toast. The toast should not be a time to tell inside jokes that only make a few people laugh, or inappropriate jokes you would not want your grandmother to hear if she were in the room.
What to Say
No matter how many people you know in the room, you should always begin by introducing yourself with a short description of how long and in what capacity you know the groom and the bride. You need to let everyone know why you were specially chosen to deliver this important speech. If you have been friends since kindergarten, start off by discussing how you met each other on the playground. If you met recently, focus on your current relationship.
Think about sharing a funny but appropriate anecdote about the couple. If you cannot think of a story to tell, talk about what you thought when you heard they were engaged and how happy you are they are married. If you are not too familiar with either the groom or the bride, highlight how you are looking forward to the second part of your friendship. Never make your speech overly long or complicated; if you have something to say, make it concise. Most wedding toasts last two to three minutes.
End on a High Note
Another important thing to remember is you are going to want to conclude on a high note. Take this opportunity to assure the new groom or bride they have made the right decision in getting together with your friend, son, or daughter. Try to give your approval of the relationship, provide them with any advice to ensure a happy marriage, and ask everyone to raise their glass and join you in wishing the couple a happy future. Conclude your toast by telling the couple how happy and appreciative you are for including you in this sacred ceremony. Finally, congratulate them and introduce the next speaker.
Never Forget Your Lines
The most effective way to make sure that you do not forget your lines or that it sounds rehearsed is by regularly practicing. You should try to make your wedding toast both spontaneous and sincere at the same time, so do not bring along index cards or cheat sheets. If you know with certainty that you will forget your lines, put down a few main points on a 3X5 card so you can glance down every so often.
Your friend, family member, or loved one chose you to speak at their wedding reception for a good reason: because they trust and love you. Speak from your heart and let the occasion guide the rest of your speech. Do not drink too much before you speak, follow these basic steps, and you will deliver a wonderfully memorable wedding toast.