Toasts (speeches) are a meaningful and personal part of a wedding day. It’s a rare chance to hear stories, advice, and heartfelt words from your friends and/or family. It’s one of our favorite parts of a wedding because we get to incorporate those toasts into wedding videos. So what should you do to give a great wedding toast?
Traditionally, the maid of honor and best man give a toast at your wedding reception. Our theory, however, is that this is your day and you can invite whomever you want to give a toast. The more the merrier – and the more memories you will make!
Ask a parent or grandparent or another loved one to give a welcome toast or speak during the ceremony. Ask more members of your wedding party to say a few words. This is your opportunity to invite your loved ones to tell you what’s on their heart. No matter if the toasts are comical or sappy, they will mean the world to you.
Now, on the other side of things, your friend or family member may get nervous when you ask them to give a toast. Most people don’t like public speaking, so that is really normal and common for them to feel that way. They may feel pressured to say the right words and probably not cry in front of everyone. Since we have heard and edited many toasts, we wanted to share a little advice with your loved ones who have to write and give a toast.
1) Speak from the heart
Don’t feel pressured to write the best toast in wedding history and don’t feel like you have to impress everyone. Remember why you are writing a toast – you hold a special place in the bride and/or groom’s life. They simply want to hear what’s on your heart during this monumental event in their lives.
As soon as they ask you, start preparing your toast. Brainstorm what you want to say to them, but let the words flow from your heart. It can simply be what you love about them and their relationship, memories (not embarrassing ones, of course!), advice, and how much they mean to you. Don’t be afraid to get emotional – this is a wedding day after all! If you are a funny person, make them laugh. If you are a sappy person, make them cry. 😉
2) Avoid cliches and inside jokes
There are a couple of phrases we hear over and over again during toasts. Almost everyone starts out their speech with “For those of you who don’t know me…” so try to think of a different way to introduce yourself. If you write a good toast, other people can infer who you are.
Also, you don’t have to tell people you are bad at public speaking or you are nervous, because everyone is! You also don’t have to apologize for getting emotional – it’s expected! So just do the best you can, despite the emotions and nerves, and give your toast! The focus of the day and this toast is the bride and groom.
If you are a family member, think of a different way to say “welcome to the family.” Moreover, skip the infamous piece of advice, “a happy wife means a happy life” and instead give personal advice.
Avoid inside jokes if you can. It may make things awkward for others if only you and the bride or groom know what you are talking about. Save that for their wedding card.
It’s okay to read a toast word-for-word from a piece of paper or an iPad, but if you are really comfortable you can just go by an outline or even memorize it. Do what works best for you.
Whichever you do, you should rehearse your toast. Read it out loud to a family member or friend. This lets you hear yourself actually speaking what your wrote. You can easily change sentences to sound better, change wording or words, etc… If you have an audience to test it on, they can give you advice to make it better as well. Also, time yourself and keep it around 5’ish minutes, as a rule of thumb. If you are really long winded, we’d say you don’t want to go too far over 10 minutes either. Just be sure you aren’t boring your audience.
4) Be yourself.
Again, try to remember what you learned back in speech class. Don’t speak too fast or too slow, speak clearly and confidently, but most of all – be natural! Remember to relax (you aren’t getting graded in this case.) 😉 You may not be used to speaking into a mic, but don’t let that bother you. The audience wants to hear what you have to say and see the bride and groom’s reactions.
5) Don’t forget to actually toast!
At the end of your toast, don’t forget to end it with a closing and actually raise your glass and toast with the bride and groom. Everyone else in the room will follow suit.
That is all there is to it! These are some simple rules that will help you write and give a memorable, classy, and deeply meaningful toast to the couple. It will mean more and more to them as the years pass. 🙂