Next to the wedding ceremony itself, toasts are often the most emotional moments of a wedding. A properly given toast usually brings back special memories, tugs at the heartstrings, and makes you laugh (not cringe).
If you’re curious on how to give a proper wedding toast without humiliating either the couple or yourself, here are a few helpful tips to follow.
The best toast is one that include personal accounts of good times together and of first encounters. Tell the story of how you know the couple and why they make such a wonderful couple. Do not include inside jokes if possible, as this won’t be appreciated by everyone in the audience. Instead, share a story everyone can appreciate. Be yourself.
Keep it short and sweet.
Remember that a wedding toast isn’t a long speech. But it isn’t a short “Congrats” either. Try keeping your toast under three minutes and no more than five. Guests may lose interest if you go any longer.
Instead of talking about their exes and telling “funny” jokes on how hard marriage is, talk about why you adore the couple and why they are amazing together. Avoid overly personal and overly sentimental remarks as not everyone in the wedding is part of the inner circle.
An ideal wedding toast has at least 70% humor. But you must be careful – there’s a fine line between being funny and vulgar. Saying something unnecessary can either hurt or humiliate the couple in front of friends and family.
Write it down.
To keep you confident, it helps to have a note card with you. It shouldn’t contain the message word-for-word though, it just contains some keywords to help you remember.
If you’re not used to speaking in public, practice what you’re going to say in front of a mirror. Practice the number of times you glance on your note card as well as your facial expression. Rehearse this with friends and keep it a surprise.
Have a drink, not two.
Having a drink can help you calm your nerves. If a shot of tequila gives you confidence, then go for it. But more than one shot can move you into saying something you might regret. So hold off from alcohol until after the toast.
Time it perfectly.
Both the bride and the groom should be in the room, seated together. The best time to start giving toasts is during the reception, when guests have seated and the first course has been served. For the succeeding toasts, each set should be announced by the wedding band leader in an elegant manner.
It’s alright to be nervous, but don’t spend the whole time freaking out. To help you stay calm, do a couple of deep breathing exercises before the toast. When speaking, look at the person you’re toasting. Remember to speak slowly.