June equals the arrival of summer wedding season. This is a time of excitement and anticipation for many, including plenty of joyful dancing, gorgeous bouquets and Champagne-fused hookups with friends’ brothers. For others it’s a time of dread, filled with poufy dresses, bad weather and cringe-worthy toasts.
That said, want to avoid embarrassing yourself at a friend or family member’s wedding or worse, embarrassing the heck out of the bride and bridegroom? Check out a few helpful hints for what you should and shouldn’t say in a wedding toast:
Don’t Mention Exes
This is not, we repeat, not the time to mention anyone’s exes. The bride’s, the groom’s, the mother of the bride’s, yours…just don’t do it. It’s a surefire way hop on the Embarrassment Train.
Also Avoid Anything To Do With Sex
Much like exes, now is not a good time to talk about sex. This is a wedding. Even if it’s a super-casual wedding, it’s still a wedding. Save the sex talk for individual conversations during the reception, if that.
Refrain From Recounting Tales Of Long Ago
General toast etiquette says avoid stories that predate the bride and groom. As comedian Ali Wentworth says, “I don’t care about what the bride did in camp in the summer of ’74 or what the groom did on that hilarious trip to the beach in high school,” she said. “When I hear those stories, I start eating my salad and talking to the person next to me.”
Don’t Go Off-Script
Avoid tangents. Tangents are not your friend. No one is interested in stories that “kind of” have to do with what’s going on, or involve your pet cat.
It’s Not About You
This is not the time to talk about your job, or how you’re still looking for a boyfriend, or anything else that’s about you. Talk about the bride and groom–only! Another way of making it about you is using the toast to apologize for past wrongs. Think Anne Hathaway as sister Kym in Rachel Getting Married. Not good.
Avoid Marriage Jokes
Yes, plenty of marriages end in divorce. No, you shouldn’t make any marriage jokes, especially “Marriage is an institution, but who wants to live in an institution?’ Not classy.
Speak To the Room, Not For the Room
Don’t hold your glass till the end, don’t stand there with pages and pages of notes. “I’m thinking: ‘Oh, my God! We’re only on Page 1,’ ” says Wentworth of someone with a lot of notes. “ ‘We have two more pages to go.’ ”
She added that an good toast is told to the room, not just the couple. “You tell it to the room,” she said, “but don’t speak for the room. When I hear, ‘We all love you so much,’ I go: ‘Whoa! Speak for yourself. I’m on the fence about these people.’ ”
Avoid getting too intoxicated before giving your toast. This is often disastrous, especially if you start giggling or blubbering. Once you give it, feel free to get as smashed as you want.
What You Should Say
Go for the 3-2-1 formula: first talk of a funny or heart-warming story, then move on to how the couple is meant to be, then say something like, “May you have a life filled with love” or “May you always find joy in.”
Use these tips and you’ll be golden!