Now that we’re officially beginning the busy summer wedding season, many people (and maybe you) will soon be asked to give a toast at a wedding. Are you prepared? If you said, “Yes,” congratulations! However, if you have not even begun your “toast prep,” here are some tips to help.
1. Ideally, you should plan to spend three weeks writing, editing, and practicing your wedding toast. If words come to mind quickly and public speaking is not horrific for you, this should be no challenge at all. If you’re drawing a blank as to what a toast should say, read on.
2. Most importantly, the toast should be less than three minutes in length. A wedding toast that falls over the three minute mark runs the risk of rambling and boring your audience. Brevity is best. Choose your words carefully and speak to the earnest nature of your salute.
3. Humor should be used lightheartedly. You MUST know your audience before deciding what humor would or would not be appropriate for your toast. Begin thinking of the couple, analyze your relationship with them as well as their relationships with everyone attending their wedding and plan the use of humor accordingly. If you use proper tact and consider your audience’s tastes, your sense of humor can speak to your uniqueness and make the toast memorable.
4. Don’t use the toast to glorify you. Always remember, first and foremost, that is it the couple’s day and it is your job to honor them, not steal the show. Think about what makes their relationship – or their relationship with you – special and honor that bond you have with them.
5. Target the bride AND the groom in your remarks. The wedding day is for the couple. While there may be a stigma that the bride calls all the shots, grooms are increasingly becoming more involved in all parts of the wedding planning process. It is a day for the bride and groom, so be sure you mention both in your wedding toast.
6. Leave all excess baggage in the closet. The wedding day is a time for the couple to start a new life together. The couple’s friends and family (often older relatives) will attend the reception to hear your remarks. Wisely keep your comments G-rated and you’ll feel no guilt later.
7. Since different cultures have different customs and you might not know everyone in attendance, end your wedding toast with a simple sentiment of “Cheers,” a general term that will likely be non-offensive to all.
If you begin with an introduction of how you know the couple, insert a light-hearted joke, kind remarks about the bride and groom (even if you do not know one or the other, you can talk about how the bride/groom is lucky to have the other person), and a few heartfelt words, you’ll be ready to raise your glass knowing you’ve written a memorable blessing that the couple will remember and cherish.
Good luck and Happy Toasting!