It’s that time of year again, and we thought it would be timely to re-post our popular hints for delivering a winning wedding toast.
You’ve been asked to give a wedding toast, but don’t know where to start.
In case you’re nervous about the prospect, remember that the bride and groom chose you because they trust you, and it’s their way of honoring you. Imagine you are telling a story to a group of friends, because you are.
The most common complaints about wedding toasts are lack of appropriateness and lack of taste. For instance, you don’t want to embarrass yourself in front of the wedding party by talking about how you and your best friend went out drinking.
Another common complaint is droning: going on and on, especially in a monotone voice, putting the audience to sleep. So, to help you craft the perfect toast—one that’s short and sweet, but memorable—here are some questions to ask yourself.
What is Your Purpose In Speaking?
Ask yourself what your goal is. It may be one or more of the following:
- Pay tribute
- Give advice
What is Appropriate?
How well do you know the bride and groom? Find out ahead of time whether there’s a topic you should avoid.
- How “in” should you be? Don’t tell inside jokes or stories if it’s a large wedding—other guests will feel left out.
- If you don’t know someone well, stick with generalities.
- Give advice or pick a nice (brief) reading.
Even if you’ve known the couple since you were children, some topics are off limits. If in doubt, consult with the bride or groom in advance.
Other Questions to Ask Yourself
- Who else is in your audience? Don’t embarrass your best friend in front of the boss, or shock the bride’s elderly grandmother.
- Is it a large affair or a small one? Smaller weddings are more intimate and guests are more likely to know each other and the couple’s inside jokes.
- Who are you addressing? (This can be the newlyweds, their families, guests, or a combination of all three)
Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll be well on your way to crafting a memorable toast.
Putting it Together
Some final advice: Don’t have too much alcohol to calm your nerves prior to the toast. It often doesn’t have the result you’re hoping for. You want to be able to exercise your best judgment.
Explain your relationship with the couple—quickly.
The more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll be. Write your toast early (a few weeks before the wedding is a good time to start) and practice. Here’s to a memorable wedding toast!