Giving a toast at wedding can be terrifying, especially if speaking in front of a large group of people is hardly your favorite thing in the world. Check out a few tips for making the whole process easier on yourself:
Don’t Make it About You
The toast should be about the bride and groom, NOT YOU. Even if you have known the bride since birth. Even if you introduced the couple. Even if you knew about the engagement long before anyone else. Stick to the subject at hand, and forget the self-congratulations.
Keep It Short and Sweet
Unless you’re Jimmy Fallon or another nationally-renowned comedian, avoid making long speeches that feel as though they’ll never end. Besides, everyone wants to get to the eating and the drinking and the dancing, so go the short and sweet route–all other guests will be happy, and probably really relieved. In case you’re unsure, the ideal wedding toast speech is about three minutes.
Embarrassing Does Not Equal Funny
Refrain from telling stories about how the groom got drunk and threw up on the bride when they first met, or how many girlfriends the groom had before he met his future wife. This is the couple’s wedding day, so avoid any and all embarrassing stories. No one will laugh, and everyone will be uncomfortable.
Pick One Story–Two at Most
A short and lovely story about the bride and groom is just that–lovely. If you think you have the time and can pull it off, you can opt for two stories, but generally speaking, one is all you need. Going the amusing (again, not embarrassing) or sweet route is always optimal.
Write it Out. Then Rehearse It.
Think you can “wing it”? Nerves and alcohol may have something to say about that. Write out what you want to say and practice it a few times, preferably in front of at least one other person. Said person can provide feedback, and tell you what works and what really, really doesn’t. Write your toast on note cards, as taking out your big binder will likely make everyone groan and wonder how long the toast will be. Even if you have your speech completely memorized, bring your cards anyway, in case of nerves or again, alcohol.
Keep these tips in mind when crafting your speech! If you do, it’s very likely you’ll have people coming up to you during the reception saying how cute or otherwise wonderful your toast was. Have fun!