Making a Memorable Wedding Toast

Wedding toasts are a fairly common part of receptions. Generally, a guest or member of the wedding party stands, asks for the other guests’ attention, says a few words, and asks everyone to drink their champagne in honor of what was just spoken. Toasts are different than wedding speeches in that they are usually much shorter. While the average wedding speech can last up to 10 minutes, the usual wedding toast only takes a couple of minutes.

Hip, Hip, Hurrah! by Danish painter P.S. Krøyer, 1888That time difference doesn’t mean wedding toasters will have an easier time of deciding what to say. In fact, most of the people who are going to be doing your toasts will be terrified because they don’t like the idea of public speaking, particularly with such a large audience and on such an important occasion.

So who should have the honor of leading toasts at your reception? Traditionally, the best man was the main toast giver at receptions. However, more and more people are being asked to make a toast today. Other members of the wedding party, particularly the maid of honor, are often asked to make a toast. The parents, grandparents, and even siblings of the couple might also be asked. You could also ask the person who introduced you or special friends to give a toast, too.

No matter who is giving the toast they should remember to keep the toast short and to focus on something that will keep the audience’s attention. Humor always works well, especially when combined with serious moments. Try to avoid jokes and stick to funny anecdotes about the couple or about the individuals. You should also remember the audience and be careful to use material that would be appropriate for everyone attending, including children and grandparents.

One of the most common mistakes people make when giving a toast is assuming that it’s a spontaneous speech. You just say whatever comes to mind. That is far from the truth. Instead, you need to plan out exactly what you want to say and practice it repeatedly for days before the wedding. By practicing, you’re going to increase the odds of a smooth performance and you’re going to reduce your nervousness. A few butterflies in your stomach is natural so don’t let that feeling keep you from giving your toast.

Another mistake is to rely too heavily on notes. While you do want to plan out your toast, you don’t want to read it from a note card. When people read something verbatim, they tend to sound unemotional and robotic. That’s definitely not how you want your wedding toast to sound. In fact, your wedding toast should reflect the feelings you have for the couple. If you care about them, then those feelings should come across in your toast.

Your best bet is to practice your toast and commit it to memory so you don’t need to have that note card at all.

Finally, the best wedding toasts are sincere. Don’t say what you think you’re supposed to say. Be funny, irreverent, risk-taking. Just mean whatever it is you say. No matter how good you are at pretending you won’t be able to fool that entire audience if you’re being insincere.

One last piece of advice is to seek out appropriate quotes about marriage, love, or relationships that you can incorporate into your toast. The quotes are a good way to get the audience’ s attention and to set the tone of your toast.

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