You’ve been given the great honor of offering a toast or speech at a wedding for someone you love. You want it to go well and they want it to go well. Here are some tips to help make your toast memorable, for all the right reasons.
- Prepare your speech beforehand. You’ll want time to practice and to run it by someone you trust to give you honest feedback
- Use Note-cards rather than a word-for-word speech if you can. If you do need to read it, read it out loud when you practice, to make it sound warmer and more sincere.
- Be yourself. If you’re serious, be serious. If you’re funny, interject some humor, but keep the humor appropriate to the occasion.
- Keep it brief. Depending on your skills as a speaker, 2-3 minutes is probably enough time to offer a nice toast. Leave them wanting more, rather than hoping you’ll stop soon.
- Remember, there may be several other toasts, so the total length of time for the toasts is the total of all toasts, not just yours.
- Refrain from too much alcohol prior to your toast. Alcohol may make you THINK you’re a better speaker, but it probably makes you think you’re a better dancer, too. Hang-overs, headaches, and lack of judgement are not pretty at a wedding.
- Keep it “Family-Friendly”. Watch your language. If you share stories, make sure it’s something you would gladly share with your own grandmother.
A good speech is 2-3 minutes of well prepared, appropriate, true-to-self, and heartfelt words.
Don’t be that guy:
- Do not talk about how much you hate “public speaking” or “doing this kind of thing” or “I’m not any good at this.” This is an honor and should be treated as such, and not as a distasteful chore. Those kinds of statements are a negative way to begin a very positive moment and make the moment about you, when your toast should be about the newlyweds.
- Avoid negative subjects, like breakups, previous marriages, cheating, divorce, etc.
- Do NOT attempt the mic drop. The couple will be charged $500 for a replacement if you do.
Keep it positive and don’t make it about how much you hate speaking in front of people.
Ideas for your Toast:
- Relationship – How do you know the bride & groom?
- Childhood stories – Did you grow up together as children? What did you do together that forged your relationship?
- Friendship – What does their friendship mean to you?
- How they met? Did you introduce them? What were your first thoughts when you met the other person?
- Watching them as a couple. Could you tell when they were falling in love? How?
- Words of Wisdom – What can you share to help them have a long, happy, healthy marriage?
- Reference a famous quote – If you know a quote which describes the couple, use it, but don’t over-do it with too many quotes.
- Always end on a positive note!
Speak about your relationship with them, give advice, share a story, and always end on a positive note.
- Use your notes. Don’t read word-for-word, but have your outline with you, in print large enough to read in what may be dim lighting.
- Bring your champagne or other drink up with you.
- Stand near the couple and don’t wander away. This is very important for photos and videos.
- Hold the microphone 1-2 inches from your mouth. It won’t pick up your voice at your chest. This will be recorded and it’s important for the sound quality to do this. Microphone feedback is caused when the microphone is held too far away and we are trying to compensate for that.
- Close by asking everyone to raise their glasses and toast the bride and groom.
- Don’t be nervous. This isn’t public speaking. You are speaking to a private gathering of family and friends, not making a speech for everyone to evaluate. The guests are only there because they were invited to celebrate this wedding along with you.
- When you’ve finished your toast, take a few seconds to savor that moment by giving them a hug, a kiss, a handshake, a high-five or fist bump, depending on what fits for you. We’ll introduce the next person when the moment is right. Do not introduce the next person unless your MC has asked you to do so.
- We’ll discuss your toast with you prior to toasting time. Knowing what each person is going to say helps us create smooth transitions and knowing your toasts in advance helps prevent having two people with the same story. We may even be able to help you with a song or sound bite during or after your toast. If it’s written in advance, it’s a huge help to us if you email it to us in advance. It’s great to surprise the couple, but please keep us in the loop on your plans. The more we know, the more we can help.
Use notecards instead of a phone, hold the mic close to your mouth, and end with a gesture of affection to the couple.
Need more help?
Schedule a free call or zoom with me to go over ideas, or even if you’d like to practice! If you need any special music or sound effects, get in touch with me (Chris Davis) at 208-538-9977.