Giving a toast at a best friend’s wedding is supposed to be an honour. Unfortunately, for many of us, the word terror comes a lot closer to describing things. Make no mistake, being asked to give a wedding toast can be more than a little nerve wracking.
The good news is that wedding toasts aren’t overly complicated. All that’s really required is a little bit of advanced preparation, an understanding of what not to say and perhaps a few clearly written cue cards.
Should you find yourself with a wedding toast fast approaching, here are ten simple tips for giving it in style.
Have One Drink, Not Ten
If you’re not a natural public speaker, having one or two drinks before your toast is not only going to be tempting, it might even be a good idea. It’s important to realize however that there’s a big difference between one or two drinks and six or seven. The former will help your confidence, the latter will help you slur your speech. If you want to drink before your toast, it’s therefore important to do so in moderation.
Don’t Try to Wing It
Some people like to wing their wedding toast, making it up as they go along. Unfortunately, this is actually one of the most common causes of cringe inducing, ridiculously inappropriate comments. Regardless of how talented you are when it comes to improvisation, write your toast in advance. Very few people are quick on their feet when they’re being stared at by a room full of people.
Know Your Audience
The first rule of public speaking is that you must know your audience. While your toast should obviously be aimed at the bride and groom, it should also be tailored to the other wedding guests. This means nothing inappropriate for children, nothing offensive to the elderly and nothing that the bride and groom wouldn’t want their parents to know.
Don’t Mention the Exes
One of the cardinal rules of wedding toasts is that you do not mention the exes. Nobody wants to hear about their partners past lovers on the day of their wedding. And there’s not a humorous anecdote in the world that’s going to change this.
It Doesn’t Have to be Funny
Contrary to popular belief, wedding toasts don’t need to be funny. In fact, unless you’re a naturally hilarious person, it’s usually best to leave humour out completely. Making the younger guests laugh without insulting the older guests is a nigh on impossible task. Sincerity, on the other hand, that tends to keep everybody happy.
With jokes and exes ruled out, you might be finding yourself a little stuck for material. The best thing to talk about during a wedding toast is simply memories you have of the happy couple. How did they meet? What past events do you feel best describe them? When did you know that they were right for each other?
Keep Things Short and Sweet
The best wedding toasts are generally those that last between one and two minutes. Nobody’s expecting a saga and most are likely to start tuning out if you keep speaking too long. As a general rule of thumb, if you can’t fit your toast onto a napkin, it’s too long.
Practice Makes Perfect
Once you’ve tailored the perfect toast, it’s time to start rehearsing it. The more you rehearse, the more confident you will be and the less likely you are to trip over your tongue. Don’t underestimate the potential for stage fright.
Use Cue Cards
Speaking of stage fright, if you’re worried about your mind going blank, don’t be afraid to write your toast down on a small piece of paper. Even the best public speakers do this and it’s an excellent way to keep yourself both calm and collected.
Toast not Roast
Finally, try to remember that you’re giving a wedding toast not a wedding roast. If you’re close to the bride and groom, it might seem like a great idea to include a few light hearted insults. Unfortunately however, the family of the bride and groom are highly unlikely to the see the funny side. And the resulting silence can be incredibly awkward for everyone. – EventChecklist.net
This post has been contributed by Nicola Joseph, a freelance blogger, currently writing for LRT Limo Rentals, a leading transport service in Toronto. She is passionate about sport and loves going camping on weekends. You can get in touch with Nicola via Twitter @NicolaJoseph.
Photo Credit: KayVee.INC