Six Tips for Giving a Heartfelt Wedding Toast

Photo: Sean Gallery

A few industry experts share their quick tips for giving a great speech during the reception.

01 of 07
wedding reception groom toast
Hajley Photography

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 honor, or the parents of the bride or groom, attendees look forward to these often heartfelt and moving toasts. And that means the pressure is on when it comes to writing one. Whether you're a veteran public speaker or someone who is terrified of speaking in front of a crowd, getting a few tips from the professionals can make the process of writing your tribute a whole lot easier.

Wedding toasts can be one of the most memorable parts of the evening—for better or for worse. 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. To make sure your toast is memorable for all of the right reasons, we asked a few experts (who have collectively attended hundreds of weddings each year), to share their tips on what makes a wedding toast stand out in a good way.

The first rule of giving a wedding toast is to know your audience. Typically, wedding guest lists consist of multiple generations and family and friends. With this in mind, it's best to avoid inside jokes, risqué content, and anything that might make the bride's grandmother gasp. When in doubt, practice your speech in front of a few select people to garner their reactions. And remember that it's perfect to find inspiration from other wedding speeches, so do some research.

Ahead, industry experts share their the rules to keep in mind when crafting your wedding toast.

02 of 07

Know Your Audience

Sean Gallery

"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 on else will understand," says Rachel Sackheim, director of sales and events, Brooklyn Winery.

03 of 07

Start off Strong

Liz Banfield

"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," says Liz Banfield, owner of Liz Banfield.

04 of 07

Keep It Short and Sweet

Chellise Michael Photography

"If you give a toast that is more than a few minutes long, you'll start to notice people looking at their phones," says Chellise Michael, owner of Chellise Michael Photography.

05 of 07

Practice Makes Perfect

Ashley Kelemen

"Practice, practice, practice. I wouldn't advise winging a toast," says Lindsay Longacre, founder of LVL Weddings & Events.

06 of 07

Make It Personal

Dez & Tam Photography

"Bring an item like a picture or a keepsake resembling your relationship with the bride or groom to grab the audience's attention," says Desi Mendoza, owner of Dez & Tam Photography.

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End on a High Note

Melani Lust

"I always recommend keeping it under three minutes," says Jennifer Zabinski, founder and president of Jennifer Zabinski Events, "speaking from the heart, and ending on a high note!"

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