Out of the hundreds and hundreds of toasts I’ve witnessed, many have fallen flat or bombed completely.
However, almost every one of them had good intentions…so here’s some help to get you on point before you
grab that microphone and go live:
Always write your speech down…Never just speak “from the heart”
Write it…then re-read and think about how you can make the same point with less words.
The more you practice your speech the more natural and un-rehearsed it will appear when you give it live.
Be honest with yourself… if you are not a genuinely funny person then don’t try to be funny during your
speech. A short, heartfelt speech always goes over better than a serious of jokes that are not landing.
Be true to yourself.
If you are known in the group for being witty then feel free to integrate something funny into the toast but
remember that it’s not a roast and nobody in the room will get inside jokes so if you make a joke be certain it
will be understood and is content appropriate.
If you’re a more serious person then just speak from the heart and talk about your history with the couple or
offer some advice etc…
Remember to change the intonation of your voice throughout your speech.
The tone of your speech should be happy, enthusiastic, and optimistic.
Once you have the toast written then video yourself during practice and watch it to make sure you are happy
and comfortable with your presentation.
Always be sure that you speak to both the bride and groom.
Even if your sister is the bride and you hardly know the groom it’s inappropriate to go on for 3 minutes about
the bride and say nothing about the groom and vice/versa.
Always find a way to finish the toast by focusing on what a great couple they are together.
Your toast should not be longer than 2-4 minutes- Time yourself.
Remember, often times there are 3-5 people speaking and they usually go back 2 back…so that is already 8-12
minutes that guests are sitting and listening to people talking. If everyone starts to go longer than 2-4 minutes
it’s a real energy killer and guests start to lose interest.
Short and precise is always better than long and rambling.
Use IPad or note cards
Unless you have a photographic memory no matter how many times you rehearse don’t try to go from
memory. You may forget a key point and regret it later or lose focus and start to ramble. I know some people
worry that using notes doesn’t feel authentic but I promise you that a short and meaningful toast will always
trump a long rambling one and if you need to use notes then don’t worry about it!
If you do use notes, don’t use multiple long pages of paper.
Instead use small note cards which look much cleaner.
You can also use your phone or Ipad but make sure you have it opened to the screen BEFORE you are called
Where to stand?
It really depends on the room layout and where the couple is located.
But usually the best place to stand is adjacent to the sweetheart table but so that your back is not turned to
the room. This was you can look over occasionally to the couple but also address all the guests. If the couple
don’t have a sweetheart table and are seated at a long bridal table then sometimes you have to just stand on
the dance floor but again, find a position that will allow you to face the majority of the room.
How to hold the Microphone
The closer the mic is to your lips the better…as long as you aren’t making contact with it.
Speak at a level slightly louder than conversational tone
Remember to keep the mic centered at your lips and don’t let your mic arm move around as you gesture to
make a point
Don’t forget to bring your drink with you.
Decide in advance if you are going to hold your drink in your free hand.
If you are using notes then have a plan for where you’ll set your drink down until it’s time to toast at the end.
(Usually you can place your drink on the sweetheart table)
It’s okay to get emotional as long as you can keep your composure and finish the speech.
This is another reason that you should practice the speech several times in advance.
If you get emotional take a moment to compose but then push through.
If for any reason you feel you can’t continue then it’s best to wrap it up instead of standing there and letting
things get awkward.
If It Goes Sideways
If a toaster rambles too long, gets inappropriate or is just bombing then the couple should give a look to the DJ
or wedding coordinator. In severe situations we can fade up the music and walk over to take the microphone
back from the toaster. However, a smoother way to handle this is for the bride or groom to walk up and hug
them so that it’s less obvious that they are being cut off.
Toast Topic Suggestions-
Thank the parents for putting on an amazing wedding
A short story about the couple back in school etc…
Your best memory of the couple
Best vacation moment
Talk about how the bride/groom is a better person for having met the other.
Something the couple did that impresses you most
Your relationship with either of the couple
The dynamic that the couple has with each other
Why the couple is so perfect for each other
Think of all the things that the other wedding guests could say about the bride and groom and say something different.
Find an interesting quote or song lyric to use when wrapping up your toast
When in doubt follow this simple formula:
#1 Introduce yourself and how you are related to the couple/bride/groom
#2 Thank both families and whoever funded the wedding
#3 Talk briefly about your primary friend (bride/groom) and your relationship.
If appropriate tell a short/entertaining story (ONLY 1 story)
#4 Talk about why the spouse is such a great match
#5 finish with a quote, sentimental thought or well wishing to the couple.
#6 Cheers and hug the couple!
Don’t drink too much prior to the toast. (2 drink maximum prior to the toast)
Don’t mumble, enunciate!
Don’t bring up exes- ever.
Don’t get too personal about your own life- this is about the couple…not you.
Do not swear. Remember there is a whole room of people and some might be easily offended.
If you do tell a story…ideally it shouldn’t pre-date the couple.
Don’t make amends. The toast is not the time or place to make up or compensate for any past history.
Don’t joke about marriage. Again, you never know how easily offended the family members can be.
Don’t forget to make eye contact with both the crowd and the couple.
Telling a story is fine…just make sure it’s a story that everyone will actually be interested in hearing.
Don’t pass the mic off to anyone that isn’t on the list to speak.
Usually the couple (along with the coordinator) decides what order to arrange the toasts.
However, I think it’s smart to have everyone communicate on what they are going to speak about so that the
order makes sense. It really sucks to follow “THE MOST AMAZING WEDDING TOAST EVER” so in that situation
we’d put the best toaster last to bring it home on a high note.
Don’t be afraid to run your speech past a friend or family member prior to the wedding.
Use someone you trust as a filter to make sure your toast is on point.
Now go give the best toast ever!
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