Wedding toasts can be a tricky thing. You have to find the right balance of humour and sentiment while also ensuring you’re not stepping on the toes of your best man or maid of honour.
You’re about to give the best toast of your life, and you want it to be perfect. You have a lot of pressure on your shoulders, but don’t worry!
What’s your toast going to be about? A wedding toast is typically given by a member of the bride or groom’s family, a close friend, or someone instrumental in planning the wedding. It should highlight some of the couple’s best qualities and what makes them a great team.
Weddings are a time for celebration and love and a time to give heartfelt speeches that will be remembered for years. You want your toast to be truly memorable.
Wedding toasts can be one of the most memorable parts of the evening—for better or for worse. But, figuring out what to say and how to say it can be challenging for anyone, and that’s true regardless of how close you are to the couple.
Some people think it’s okay to wing the speech and talk about the bride or groom rather than give real advice on marriage. But if you’re going to take the time to write a toast, make sure it’s personal and meaningful so your listeners can really connect with what you’re saying!
Every wedding is different, but there are some universal truths. One of these truths is that every bride and groom deserves a heartfelt toast from all their friends and family members. This blog post will show you how to write an excellent wedding toast.
You’ll learn the best ways to present your speech, what topics to mention in your speech, and how to properly conclude it for maximum emotional impact on everyone in attendance at this special occasion!
Your wedding toast is an important moment in the ceremony when you get to thank your guests for attending and say a few words about what it means to be part of this celebration. If you’re feeling stressed about how to write an excellent wedding toast, then read on; we’ve got some tips that will help.
With these helpful tips, writing an excellent wedding toast will be easy as pie!
Giving toasts is a must when weddings are concerned. As friends and family gather to celebrate the couple, it’s appropriate and honouring to recount memories while wishing them well in their future together.
When it comes to the wedding reception, few moments are as highly anticipated as when the speeches begin. After all, everyone is excited to celebrate the unique love shared between the bride and the groom, and who better to highlight that bond than those who know them best?
Whether given by the best man, maid of honour, or the bride or groom’s parents, attendees look forward to these often heartfelt and moving toasts. And that means the pressure is on when it comes to writing one.
However, giving a toast can be intimidating at best. What do you say, how long do you speak, and should you be the one offering the toast?
Know Your Audience
…and make sure they know you.
There’s bound to be guests there that don’t know who you are. If you’ve only met their fiancé(e) a handful of times, chances are you won’t recognize a lot of their friends and family members. So before you begin your speech, introduce yourself!
Tell people how you know the bride or groom in a few words, so they have a better understanding of your relationship with the newlyweds.
It is unlikely that you are intimate with every single person in the room. Therefore, provide the guests with a quick introduction, but remember, it’s not about you!
All these people are here because they care about the bride and the groom, not to listen to you talk about yourself. So start by telling the crowd who you are and your connection to the couple.
While the most obvious tip for a wedding toast would be to keep it brief, it’s always also a good idea to remember that you’re speaking to the entire gathering of guests, not just the bride and groom. Anecdotal stories and sweet memories are great, but try to avoid inside jokes that no one else will understand.
Bring an item like a picture or a keepsake resembling your relationship with the bride or groom to grab the audience’s attention.
If you have a good story or amusing anecdote about how you met the bride or groom, try to work it in. Remember, though, keep it short. The introduction of your speech should be short and sweet.
Honour the recipient of the toast
The purpose of giving a toast is to honour the couple and wish them well in their new life together. It will be personalized, heartfelt, and memorable to the honoree(s).
The one giving the toast will speak clearly, briefly, and with appropriate emotion. Also, the result of a meaningful toast is that it will be delivered with love and appreciated by all who hear it.
Address the couple
With that being said, make sure you’re not giving the speech solely to one person. This day is about both of them, and while you may be closer to one person versus the other, do your best to include both of them.
Reach out to their spouse’s friends for some insight if needed, or make a note of all the wonderful ways your friend’s S.O. has had a positive influence on them. Talk about his or her first impression or what they said right after their first date.
Memories like that are what the newlyweds will be happy to hear.
Plan it Out, Tell a Story
Never begin a toast with your struggle to write it. Things like ‘I didn’t know what I was going to say today …’ tells everyone they have nothing to look forward to for the next several minutes.
When it comes to public speaking, winging it is never a good option. Unless you are a regular public speaker, remember that nerves often get the better of inexperienced orators.
The best way to combat a bad case of nerves is to have a plan. So if you are having trouble getting started, the best thing to do is put pen to paper. Think about your favourite memories with the bride, groom, or both and write them down.
You never know where inspiration will strike. A sweet memory can lead to an even more adorable story, and before you know it, you are halfway there.
Throw it back to your days in school by telling an old story about the bride or groom. Do you have a memory of the two of you discussing the qualities you wanted in your future spouse on the playground when you were 12?
If they’re someone you met later on in life, can you recall what they told you after their first date or talk about what they were like before their spouse came along? Try to brainstorm with others for some good stories you can share.
It would be best if you only used this stream of consciousness as a starting point. For a speech to be successful, it must have a theme.
Pick an attribute that you admire in either the bride or the groom. Then, choose stories that prove that point. Then, try to tie all the threads of your speech to that one attribute, and don’t stray too far.
Remember, you are here to highlight the bride and groom. You want the two of them, and every one of their guests, to feel good. So leave them with a few inspirational words and a lasting memory. It’s a hefty responsibility, to be sure, but the bride and groom trusted you enough to select you for this honour.
Use humour sparingly
While this shouldn’t turn into a Comedy Central special, it’s definitely okay to crack a few jokes.
Perhaps, they had a funny first impression of their significant other (that won’t cause hurt feelings), or maybe they had a bad habit they were forced to break once they’d found the one. We recommend sprinkling in only a handful of jokes throughout your speech versus making it chock-full of embarrassing events. Remember, grandma’s probably in attendance!
People giving toasts at weddings should remember that it is a time of celebration. So while it should be fun, it should not, under any circumstances, devolve into a comedy routine.
Wedding guests often witness overdone, awkward speeches filled with innuendo and inside jokes that fall flat. It is never appropriate for a toast to be a roast. Instead, stick with fond memories, compliments, and heartfelt sentiments.
An inappropriate toast can leave you looking the fool and, worse yet, damage your friendship with the bride and groom.
Play to Your Strengths
Don’t try to be something you are not. For example, if you are not comfortable telling jokes, don’t force laughs into your toast.
If your motivation is to make people like you, not the bride and groom, your toast may come off as inauthentic. People will be able to tell that you are up there speaking to them for all the wrong reasons. But, more importantly, so will the bride and groom.
Remember that the bride and groom, your good friends, will remember the words you say in your toast for the rest of their lives. So be memorable for all the right reasons.
The most important part of the speech is letting the bride or groom know how much they mean to you and how happy you are to see them find the person they want to spend their life with.
Please give an overview of your relationship with that person and let them know how much they’ve influenced your life. If there’s ever a time to be happy, the wedding toast is definitely it.
Keep it Short
Whether it’s due to the giver being nervous or having an exuberant personality, some toasts drone on, which isn’t ideal. The good news-especially for those who are a bit shy-is that shorter toasts are more impactful and appropriate.
A perfect toast, in most cases, may be the simplest toast. The Protocol School of Washington recommends those giving toasts go by the ‘Three B’s’: Begin, Be Brief, and Be Seated. That said, conventional wisdom suggests one to two minutes.
Remember, this isn’t a one-man show. There are likely multiple people making speeches; therefore, we recommend keeping your toast between 2-3 minutes.
Find out how many other people are speaking and adjust your time accordingly. It’s better to err on the shorter side, as people are probably eager to get to the dance floor!
Try to aim for three to five minutes. Anything longer than that, and you risk boring everyone. Three minutes is plenty of time to say everything you need to say.
If you are a fast talker, remind yourself to speak slowly and enunciate. It will be a real tragedy if you write a sweet and touching speech which no one can understand because you speed through it.
If you give a toast that is more than a few minutes long, you’ll start to notice people looking at their phones.
Practice Makes Perfect
Write your speech down or type and print it out. Then, read it out loud, not just to yourself in your head, and time yourself. Remember that your nerves will likely push you to speak faster than your usual calm voice.
Don’t feel like you have to memorize your toast. No one will expect it, and your nerves may take over and force the words from your head. Instead, read from the same note cards you used to practice. You will feel more confident knowing you are prepared for this.
If you find yourself getting nervous leading up to the big day, try to remember that this reaction is normal. One trick public speakers often use when they feel the nerves taking over is to tell yourself you are excited instead.
You want to think ahead of time about what you are going to say in your toast. But we don’t recommend trying to memorize it word for word. Instead, you are far better off practising a few times to get comfortable with the overall sentiment. Then, when you deliver the toast, it will come off as more natural and heartfelt.
Making a list of bullet points and naturally speaking to each of those is your best bet. When in doubt, record your speech so that you can review and tweak it before giving it live.
Have you ever heard the expression, “Fake it ‘til you make it?” Even if you don’t feel confident, act like you are. Chances are, no one will know the difference. The appearance of confidence will seem like real confidence to everyone else.
Keep nerves at bay
Okay, breathe. You’ve been asked to give a toast, or as the best man, you know it’s inevitable. It’s natural to be a little nervous when all eyes are on you. If you are worried about giving a toast, don’t overthink it, and keep it simple.
For example, when toasting the brides at a wedding, you might say, ‘To Ellen and Amanda. Friends I hold close in my heart. May your life together always be filled with great love, frequent laughter, and wild adventure.’ Also, remember that you are surrounded by people that cherish the couple just as much as you do.
There’s no need to freak out if you’re asked to make a speech! It’s an honour to toast to a close friend or family member, and it doesn’t require the same prep work as those graded speeches you made in school.
Write out your thoughts on note cards and practice in the mirror before you stand up in front of everyone. As long as you take a deep breath and speak from the heart, you’ll totally nail it.
End your wedding toast perfectly
The ideal way to end your toast is by toasting, of course. So raise a glass and celebrate the couple with a drink.
Immediately upon finishing the delivery, look back at the audience, raise your glass, look again to the honorees, take a sip of your beverage (hopefully it’s champagne, but any beverage is fine), and then be seated.
2. A Few Don’ts
- NEVER give a wedding toast when you are drunk. The bride and groom will not thank you, and, more than likely, you will end up embarrassing yourself and the not-so-happy couple.
- Don’t rely on your phone instead of printed or written notecards. Technology tends to fail. Inevitably, the middle of your toast will be one of those times.
- Don’t be crass. You are in mixed company, speaking to children and grandparents. Show the proper respect.
- Don’t mention money.
- Don’t talk about past relationships or marriages.
- Don’t make any suggestive honeymoon jokes.
- Prepare. Reading this shows that you’re thinking about your toast ahead of time, and that’s a good start. Be sure to follow up with the actual preparation and put some thought into what you say.
- Speak loudly and clear into the microphone. Although you may feel loud to yourself, the D.J. will monitor volume, and most newer speakers will naturally err on the side of too quiet than too loud.
- End on a high note. Raise your glass and ask the assembled guests to join you in toasting the bride and groom.
- Expect to be nervous. Speaking in public can be intimidating. However, try to accept the fact that this is a natural reaction, and don’t punish yourself for feeling nervous.
- Remember that this is only a few minutes of your life. Remind yourself that you are not doing this for you, but for two people you love. Think about the two of them and the love they share, and hopefully, you will forget your fear.
4. 5 Wedding Toast Etiquette Considerations for the Couple
Some couples revel in the spotlight, and others shy away from it. Even more likely-if opposites truly attract-is the fact that one partner loves attention and the other loathes it. So to feel honoured, instead of awkward, here is some sage advice for the guests of honour.
Listen, but don’t raise your glass
It’s natural to wonder what to do while being toasted. Listen intently, look at the giver, and laugh or shed a tear if appropriate. But never, ever toast yourself. Note that if you are the honoree, you should not raise your glass or drink. Likewise, one does not toast themselves. It’s akin to complimenting yourself.
Be familiar with toasting
Of course, your wedding planner or emcee will know the ins and outs of your reception timeline. However, knowing what to expect and when can help alleviate any nervousness. For example, the wedding toast is traditionally offered at the beginning of the reception.
Champagne or a sparkling non-alcoholic beverage is poured as soon as the wedding party and guests are seated-or in the case of a standing reception, as soon as the bride and groom have arrived and been introduced.
Offer the toasting duty to your best man
Depending on the attendants in your wedding party, ask the best man or best woman to offer the first toast during your wedding reception.
It is customary for the best man to give the first toast. A memorable toast by the best man might include a brief fond memory involving the bride and groom, followed by the actual toast.
Give the person toasting a time limit
We have all been at events where someone is giving a toast, and it seems to go on and on. But cutting it off can be tricky.
This is where it can be helpful to have a conversation in advance with anyone designated to give a toast at the wedding dinner, letting them know of the time parameters.
This will likely also be very much appreciated by those preparing the toast as they will know what expectations to meet—again, avoiding the awkwardness of someone going on too long by having clear parameters.
Toasting is appropriate at many wedding-centric events
Although the best man is in the spotlight during the wedding reception as the designated toast giver, others can give toasts at the reception or during other events, such as the rehearsal dinner, anniversary reception, engagement party, or post-wedding brunch.
Toasts are a delightful element of many types of celebrations, though we most often think of them associated with weddings.
Concerning toasts, remember that it’s all about honouring the newlyweds. No matter your comfort level, preparing and giving a heartfelt speech is a tribute to your role in the couple’s lives.
In addition, a loving toast is a fabulous way to start the reception by centring the attention on the newlyweds and offering best wishes for what’s to come.