If you’re the Maid / Matron of Honor or Best Man in an upcoming wedding, there’s a pretty high chance you’re responsible for writing and delivering a toast to the bride and groom at the wedding reception. Sorry if we spilled the beans.
Now if the idea of standing up in front of a room full people makes you nervous, don’t panic — we’ve put together some tips to help you write one of the most memorable wedding speeches for years to come.
PLAN! PLAN! PLAN! Have an idea of what you want to say already, maybe in bulleted form or some type of list with highlighted key subjects i.e. when you met the bride and groom, how you knew it was meant to be, etc.
Be true, be YOU While the most memorable toast you’ve witnessed might have been a funny one, you don’t have to go for that route if it isn’t true to who you are and the relationship you have with new couple.
K.I.S.S. – Keep it short sweetheart. Toasts are a special part of the reception and also one of the most anticipated parts of the event but above that is the dance floor, food and OPEN BAR. The more time taken up for speech, the more time taken up from actually enjoying the celebration. Make its simple, make it sweet and then put the rest in a card accompanied by a gift of some sort.
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE If you have opted for not "going from the heart", read your speech aloud to yourself or to a friend, and get comfortable with any tweaks that you may need to make. Get acquainted with your anticipated flow. Leave room for pauses for laughter, tears and any other emotional reaction that you want to come from your delivery.
Breathe! A toast should be authentic and genuinely from the heart. But if the nerves from public speaking outweigh the overall adoration you have for the couple, it’s okay. Take your time, breathe, take it slow if you must and if it helps, mark breath points to your speech so that it doesn’t sound like one run-on sentence.
No exes. Ever, like EVER. I don’t think we should have to go into vast detail about this one. In fact, this should be self-explanatory, since you’re not supposed to go negative in the toast. This shouldn’t even be a topic of discussion even if the bride or groom is still really good friends with said ex. This is an absolute NO-NO in our book and should be avoided at all costs if possible.
Stay sober. (or at least try) There will be more than enough time to hit the bar and liquid courage isn’t going to result in a great toast. Instead of s slurred speech, wild tangents, and the couple or guests having this moment as the last they remember of you (especially if its on video). Tip: if you are planning to give a toast, arrange for the wedding coordinator to make sure that you have cider or water in your glass until the toasting is over.
Make eye contact and smile, even if you are nervous. Surprisingly enough, if you look at the couple while you’re speaking, the words might just flow out naturally. Crowd interaction is another great way to break the ice. The bridal party is your sounding board, you can look to them for ad-libbing and agreements on some of the statements you’re making if you feel the nerves building.
If you get emotional, it’s okay. If you have to let a few tears loose, don’t hold back. That’s simply a sign of how much you love the couple and how happy you are. Don’t ever feel like you have to fight it back. There’s a strong chance you will be tugging at a few other heart strings in the room as well. Feel the love, it’s the occasion for it.