Wedding toast-givers, we get it: There's a lot of pressure to deliver the perfect speech. But as you select your words, remember this: "With a captive audience of the bride and groom's family and friends, what you leave out of the toast is just as important as what you put in," says Jaclyn Fisher, owner of Two Little Birds Planning in Philadelphia. What should be left out? We consulted the experts and found seven things that should never make it into a wedding toast.
Run-Ins With the Law
According to Fisher, trouble with the law should never be included in a wedding toast, no matter how small (or funny) the infraction. "Even though the best man may think it's funny to reminisce about the time he and the groom spent the night in jail, it's inappropriate with in-laws, coworkers, and grandparents in the room," she says. Instead, offer up a fond memory that speaks highly of the couple's characters.
Whether you overheard an argument over the wedding or know the groom's family doesn't approve of the bride, the toast isn't the place to air out the couple's dirty laundry. "The toast is not a time to slyly say, 'I'm sure his family will like you eventually,'" says Amy Nichols, owner of Amy Nichols Special Events and co-founder of The Poppy Group. "Leave all mention of any family or internal drama out of the toast and instead mention how lucky they are to be creating a family of their own."
A wedding is about the couple who just tied the knot, not anyone in their pasts. Not only will talking about the couple's exes make the couple uncomfortable, but it's sure to make wedding guests squirm, too, Fisher says. "Sharing the story of how the couple met or the first time you met them together is a much better alternative."
Remember: "What happens at the bachelor and bachelorette parties stays there," says Nichols. "Your wedding toast should not be an exposé on the wild side of your friend. Concentrate on how you've built your friendship over the years and been there for each other through the good and the bad." At the same time, Fisher says, your toast isn't the time to bring up any unflattering stories about the couple. "Use it as an opportunity to tell the crowd why you value your friendship," she says.
The Low Points of the Planning Process
Even if your friend wasn't fun to deal with as she blew through her big-day budget, your toast isn't the time to vent your frustrations. "That is now your little secret and it should not be shared with the guests at the wedding," she says. "Talking about what a fabulous job the couple did planning the wedding is a better approach to talking about the event."
While talking about that hippo figurine might send you and the bride into a fit of giggles, your guests will be left scratching their heads. "About 2 percent of the room will actually understand why it's funny, and the other 98 percent will feel awkward, uncomfortable, and left out," describes Fisher. "Instead of inside jokes, share some things about your friend that most people don't know. Guests will love learning the couple does The New York Times crossword together every Sunday morning, or that they volunteer at the community youth center every week."
Awkward or Embarrassing Stories
If you're making a toast at her wedding, you've likely seen the bride during her awkward phase (or phases). "You have so many fabulously embarrassing childhood stories you could share," says Nichols. "But resist the urge to talk about that one time at band camp. Not only will you embarrass your friend, but you might offend a more sensitive wedding guest or out your friend to their parents."