Being invited to give a toast at a wedding is a big honor — and a big responsibility. There’s a fine line between a wedding toast that is sweet and personal and one that’s too personal or in bad taste. Not to mention the difference having a great delivery can make! We’ve asked our experts to share some of the top tips to make sure your toast is absolutely flawless.
1. Write It Down
No matter how great you are at public speaking, writing down a few notes will help you organize your thoughts. Whether it’s an outline or the actual text of your wedding toast, you’ll stay on track and avoid getting too long-winded.
2. Practice, Practice, Practice
Now that you’ve figured out what you want to say, spend a little time practicing. Make notes of where you want to pause for effect (or for a breath!), and set a timer to ensure you stay in the 3-5 minute sweet spot.
3. Avoid Touchy Subjects
Everyone loves a great childhood story or the tale of how your friend knew their new spouse was The One. But anything involving exes, run-ins with the law, or evenings of debauchery that would embarrass the happy couple (or their grandmothers) is taboo. The same goes for any joke you might tell: Know your audience, and aim for smiles and laughter without beet-red faces. It’s a toast, not a roast!
4. Be Reasonable With Your Liquid Courage
Toasts usually take place well after cocktail hour, so no one is telling you to stay stone-cold sober until 9:30 p.m. However, pace yourself so you’re happily confident, not sloppy and slurring.
5. Address Both Halves of the Couple — and Whoever Else Is Hosting
Even if the bride has been your best friend for 20 years, you should still make a point to address her new spouse, too. Follow a story about your friendship with the details of how you first met her groom so they both get some air-time and recognition. And don’t forget to mention and thank whoever is hosting for putting together such a fabulous celebration!