A wedding is more than just two people coming together to share their lives, it is a chance for their family and friends to celebrate their union and reminisce on old times. There is no better example of this than the wedding toasts. Toasts at weddings are one of those rare moments in life when you can say all of the heartfelt, funny and nostalgic things you have been wanting to say but never had a chance to. A simple “Congrats” or “Cheers” won’t suffice in this situation. If you ever have the chance to step up to the microphone and talk about a couple that is near and dear to your heart take it!! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. If you are a little nervous about speaking in front of a crowd or don’t know where to begin as you start writing your speech we have some tips for you!
1.) Humor and Sentimentality are a great place to start.
I don’t necessarily want to say that if they aren’t laughing they should be crying…but evoking emotion is part of a good speech. People like hearing funny or sentimental things about the Bride and Groom. Little jokes or fun facts about the couple are sure to lighten the mood and get a chuckle from the audience. Just as sweet memories of the couple as children might draw a tear from the crowd. If you don’t know where to start when writing your speech start with a memory. A funny moment you shared with the Bride and Groom, or the stories you remember of them as children are a great way to get the creative juices flowing. The speech will practically write itself
2.) Roast Them, but Limit Yourself.
Everyone loves a good jab every once in a while and a person who can laugh at themselves is always a good thing. However there is definitely a fine line when including those types of comments in a wedding toast. Playfully giving someone a hard time about something superficial is not a big deal, (and can even get a good laugh if done properly), but attacking a person’s character, past decisions or hitting on things that you know to be a touchy issue for them is not ok. Even if you try to make it playful, it is not a good idea to go down that road with mom, dad, grandma and the in-laws in the room. So saying something like “Everyone knows that the Groom can’t dance” is perfectly fine. Saying something like “Everyone knows that the Groom is cheap, better make sure that ring is real!” is NOT OK!
3.) Stay Away From Inside Jokes.
There is nothing wrong with inside joke. We all have them between close friends or family members, and I can understand how it would be tempting to insert a few in your speech to connect with the Bride or Groom in that special moment. However, inside jokes only really work for one reason; their meanings are a secret between a small number of people. These types of jokes leave the rest of the crowd wondering what the heck you are talking about. So if there is a part of your speech that is only going to get a laugh between you, the bride, and a few of your sorority sisters it might be better left unsaid. There is plenty of time for those types of toasts at more intimate events, like the bridal shower or rehearsal dinner.
4.) Keep It Short And Sweet
I am going to take the liberty of speaking for the rest of the guest for a moment when I say “Please, for the love of Pete, keep your toast SHORT!!” Short little jokes and quick stories are great; a detailed chronology of your entire relationship with the Groom, starting from when you met on that fateful day in kindergarten is a no-no. People don’t want to hear your life story because that day is not about you. They also don’t need you to recount the couple’s life story because, chances are, you aren’t telling them anything new.
I know that when you are in the zone time flies. When you add that to the nervous energy of being in front of a large crowd there is really no way to gauge how long you are talking. You feel like its been 2 minutes and in reality 20 minutes have gone by and the crowd is over it. So the best thing to do is write your speech out, rehearse it and time it. Don’t get up in front of everyone at the wedding and wing it, that’s when people start rambling. If you make it a point to figure out what you are going to say before you say it, there is a better chance that it will be concise and to the point. Not a jumble of old stories that ramble on until you lose your train of thought. Time it and if it is longer than 5 min, make some edits.
Hopefully these tips will make you a toastmaster in no time! As wedding caterers we get the pleasure of hearing a lot of toasts, most of them good and some of them not so good, but at the end of the day we can hear the love in each one of them. To take the time to stand in front of a large crowd and be vulnerable enough to speak from the heart about a couple that means something to you is always a win! Now go and rock that toast!
Photo Courtesy of Studio F