Here's to Us
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Being thoroughly prepared is crucial. "Don't ever wing it," says Leah Ingram, author of The Complete Guide for the Anxious Bride: How to Avoid Everything That Could Go Wrong on Your Big Day. "A couple of days or weeks before the wedding, jot down anecdotes and practice saying them aloud. Make notes on index cards or even write the entire speech on a sheet of paper you take to the reception. Just don't show up at the wedding and blurt out whatever comes to mind. That is a recipe for a bumbling, boring and bad-taste toast."
If you as the bride are worried what the toast-maker will say, should you speak up? Isaacs and Ingram both say no, believing such behavior is too controlling. But David Pitlik, founder of ThePerfectToast.com—a custom speech-writing business—disagrees. "I don't think a bride who expresses concern is being pushy so long as she is tactful. Many people who have to give a speech are panicked and would probably appreciate some input," he says.
Don't forget to inject some humor into the proceedings, Pitlik adds. Relating a funny anecdote is effective, telling a joke is not—"jokes can backfire." He also reminds prospective speakers to say something about both the bride and groom, even if they know one of them only. "If you want to make a toast meaningful, speak from the heart."