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Three Simple Guidelines for a Successful Wedding Toast

February 27, 2009

It doesn’t need to be long.  It doesn’t need to be complicated.  But because a wedding toast happens at such an emotional and sensitive point in time, many people worry entirely too much about it, and make it a lot harder and more stressful than it needs to be.  Just follow these three simple guidelines and you’ll do fine.

1.  Open With a Joke

Please remember that this is a toast, not a roast.  However, many who are adept at public speaking know to “break the ice” with an amusing anecdote or humorous story.  Whether you are the best man, maid of honor, father of the bride or anyone else who will be speaking, chances are that you know something interesting and funny about the groom or bride that no one else does.  Keep it short, nothing too embarrasing, and certainly keep it clean enough for a mixed group.  This is not your opportunity to try your hand at stand-up comedy, though.  The idea is to get the attention of the room focused on the moment, share a lighthearted laugh, and move on.

2.  Get Serious

The point of the wedding toast is simply to honor the couple.  That’s why you are all assembled, so offer them your sincere wishes for a long and happy life together, and if you are real and heartfelt, people will respond.  This is the time to move ahead with genuine well wishes, put into your own words expressing exactly how you feel and showing that you’re not afraid to say it.  Think of a short phrase that’s easy to remember, and will trigger the rest of your words.  You don’t need to worry about an overly eloquent speech, nor should you try to “wing it” and struggle with spontaneous creativity.

3.  Raise the glasses

As a wedding DJ and videographer, I’ve witnessed hundreds of receptions, and you may be surprised at how many folks get caught up in the moment, become too nervous from a fear of public speaking (which is mostly the needless pressure they put on themselves), or lose their notes entirely or can’t read them in the dim lighting of the room.  If there is champagne, cider, or drinks in hand at the reception, remember to raise the glasses in tribute.  That’s it!  Some of the best wedding toasts I’ve ever heard have followed this easy outline.  Good luck with yours.

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