The Ultimate Guide to Giving a Wedding Toast
Consider this a speaker's handbook.
Giving a wedding toast may feel like a big responsibility, but it's really nothing to fuss over as long as you're prepared. Here are some fail-proof steps to crafting the perfect wedding toast for the happily married bride and groom.
Some people find it helpful to look at past wedding speeches online while others find inspiration from toasts in movies or quotes from children's books, poetry, or music. Whatever you do to gather inspiration is your call, but it's always a good idea to have a frame of reference before you start writing your own speech.
Work Out the Timing
Wedding toasts shouldn't be more than five to seven minutes. If you speak for much longer than that, you'll start to lose the crowd to bathroom breaks and bar runs. Keep it short but not so short that you seem unprepared. You may want to ask the couple about their timing allotments as well as when the speech will take place. If there are multiple speeches, it may be necessary to go shorter and a three to five minute speech would be better suited.
Start with an Introduction
The odds of you knowing every single guest at the wedding are not high, so go ahead and introduce yourself with a little anecdote about your relationship to the couple. This can be short and sweet or more of a memory you have about first meeting one of the two lovebirds to give the audience some context.
Crafting the Speech
The ingredients of a good wedding toast include a little something about each person as an individual, a little something about what you appreciate in their relationship, and a toast to the future they'll have together. If you're able to include a story or two in there, or spice it up with your signature sense of humor, go right ahead.
Sure, everyone loves a funny wedding speech, but it's never funny if it's forced. A heartfelt speech can be just as memorable as a humorous one, so just be yourself. If you're a person who loves to crack jokes and get a crowd laughing, go for it. Otherwise, stick to what you know works for you.
Avoid Talking About Yourself
This speech is to be enjoyed by the guests as much as by the couple, so you want to be careful to write a toast that's not filled with personal references and inside jokes. It's also good to avoid using the words "I", "me", and "my" too much, as a speech can start to sound narcissistic quickly; this should be a tribute to the couple more so than a nod to your relationship with them.
As wedding toasts are meant to be short and sweet, it's usually best to steer clear of a presentation. However, if you've talked it through with the couple and feel that guests would benefit from a handout or visual element, you'll want to be sure it's not intrusive or an added expense to the couple.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Not only should you write your speech in advance, but you should also practice it to see how the timing goes and whether you like the flow. A helpful way to edit your own speech is by having someone else read it to you so you can listen for flaws and inconsistencies. Reading it through a couple of times with friends can also be helpful for the nerves you may be feeling about delivering the speech.