Are you a best man, maid of honor, or even father of the bride? Then listen up! You have a BIG responsibility at the wedding…giving a toast. Some people cringe at the thought of speaking in public, but it’s part of the job for these important wedding players. In front of all of the couple’s family and friends, you have to honor them and acknowledge the significance of that special day. It seems daunting (and downright terrifying for some). But lucky for you, I’m dishing out my five best tips for giving a killer wedding toast!
Don’t wing it.
Do some prep work. You don’t need to write your toast out word for word (and if you do, please don’t read it that way from paper at the reception). But you should at least have a general idea of what you want to say. An outline or even a few bullet points are the way to go. You have a very important job. Don’t leave it to the last minute, going with whatever pops into your head in the moment!
Keep it brief.
Seriously. 2 – 3 minutes MAX! No one wants to listen to you go on and on…and on…and on. Sorry, but it's the truth. When I was a wedding planner, I had to sit through some painfully long speeches. In fact, our own day-of coordinator told my dad he had 3 minutes for his toast, during which he said that he had paid for more than 3 minutes. Everyone got a good laugh at his joke, but I could see some of our friends start to lose focus at about minute ten. Sorry, Dad, I love you but far too long. If you want to keep people’s attention, be concise!
It’s ok to be funny when giving a toast. Actually, it’s much more entertaining! Crack a few jokes or one-liners and you’ll be a hit with the crowd.
But limit the inside jokes.
The above bullet point has a caveat. Tell jokes…but make sure the jokes will be understood by most in attendance. Inside jokes are only funny to a few people; that’s what makes them inside jokes. You may get a few laughs from those in the know, but the rest of the guests will be left wondering what’s so funny. Leave the cool kid jokes for another time.
Remember: It’s a toast, not a roast.
This is not your opportunity to embarrass the newlyweds! Keep it clean. Leave exes out of it, no dirty jokes, and don’t do or say anything that a.) you will regret later or b.) will upset the happy couple. Instead, think good thoughts, speak to the future, and celebrate the love and accomplishments of the couples.
BONUS TIP: Don’t drink too much beforehand.
I know it seems like a few glasses of wine could loosen the nerves, especially if you’re already dreading speaking. But alcohol could have some other side effects. Slurred speech or even a case of the giggles could ruin your toast and make it memorable for the wrong reasons (ask me about the best man speech at my wedding…). Keep it light at the cocktail hour; you can party hard when you hand the mic back to the DJ.
Any other tips? Have you ever given a toast at a wedding? What helpful advice did you receive, or what should others learn from your experience? Comment below!