We’ve all been there — cringing as some not entirely sober best man rambles on and on about how his buddy, the groom, had SO MANY terrible girlfriends before he met the bride. Or the sister of the bride cries her way through a speech filled entirely with inside jokes that no one understands. Or the father of either shows a slideshow of every major milestone that seemingly lasts well until after the cake should have been cut.
Weddings are emotion-filled days and sometimes, it’s hard to capture all of the things that you want to say in one, memorable, heart-filled speech. But if you’re looking to avoid some common wedding toast no-nos, here’s a good place to start. Your audience and everyone waiting patiently for cake will thank you.
Remember your audience
If you’re in a room full of your high school buddies, then by all means, tell any kind of embarrassing story you’d like. However, chances are that some parents and grandparents will be in attendance, and if you give a speech consisting entirely of stories that they can’t relate to, then you are shooting yourself in the speech-making foot. Be relevant.
Keep it short
Your friends love you, they do, but unless you’re Jerry Seinfeld, stick to a two to three minute toast. This ensures that you limit yourself to only the most relevant and heartfelt stories. And, when you give yourself a time limit, you don’t get stuck on a tangent about how that one time, in college…
For the love of pete, DO NOT get up on wedding day without having done a trial run in front of your significant other, hamster, or at least the bathroom mirror. Every good wedding toast that I’ve ever heard has been rehearsed at least once (if not four or five times) to find the best place for dramatic pauses, to make sure all the words flow seamlessly, or to see if it’s just a smidge too long.
This means not looking up four quotes on “true love” from a Shakesperean novel, nor does it mean composing a stand up routine that could compete with Chris Rock. A mix between heartfelt and funny usually yields the best results, but if witty jokes aren’t your thing, don’t feel like you have to be a comedian. Most of the time, the bride and groom simply want to know that they are loved and supported by their friends and family, so if your toast accomplishes that, then you’ve got it all down (as long as you practice, keep it short, and remember your audience, too
Okay, toastmasters, I know you’re out there. How many of you have given wedding toasts (good or bad!)? What are your recommendations for giving a good one?