Possibly the most moving part of a wedding day for me is the toasts. (It used to be the ceremony but once I started officiating I became less likely to cry. And that’s saying something.) But the toasts almost always get to me at some point…and usually it is when the toaster (is that correct?) is crying.
I’ve seen all kinds of toasts – funny, sentimental, long and short. Prepared…and not so prepared. I understand that it can be intimidating to stand up in front of 100+ guests and speak so here are a few tips.
Prepare something. I wouldn’t try to memorize it because, well, if you have had a few drinks it becomes more difficult to remember things clearly. Have notes. If you are preparing something to read verbatim then I suggest printing it in a larger font than you normally would. Lighting will be dim and small print is hard to read in the dark. And if you don’t have something prepared, you are likely to babble.
Keep it simple. I know you love the bride and groom but if you speak for too long you lose your audience. I think around two minutes works best. Of course you can speak longer, but remember everyone is there to celebrate. If you have a lot that you want to say to them, why not write them a letter and give it to them on their wedding day?
Introduce yourself. “Hi I’m Suzanne and I’ve known Susie since 9th grade” or whatever is appropriate.
At a loss for what to say? You can share a funny story (if it is short – and keep it clean) – maybe about how you first met. Or a sweet story like the time she told you he was THE one. Personalized toasts are always good but limit it to one story and don’t bring up anything that will really embarrass anyone.
Can’t choose just one story? How about the highlights “my top 5 favorite memories with Susie are…” and keep them to one line each. We don’t need to know the details. Using my example, one thing I might say to Susie would be “plum’ wo’ out”. She would know what it meant.
Afraid of getting too emotional? Why not toast to a happy life filled with love? Look on the internet for inspiration. No one ever said a toast has to be original.
When your toast is over, always close with something to let people know you are done. “So raise your glass – to Barry and Susie!” Or even a simple cheers. And drink from your glass – that is the point after all. 😉
Don’t be intimidated – you can do it! Practice in front of someone you love if you are nervous. Relax and remember the reason you were asked to give a toast is because you are loved.