The Art of the Perfect “Toast”

What is the perfect wedding toast?

I am often asked by clients and their wedding parties questions about toasting. Public speaking for most is a frightening experience, so giving a toast for a loved one in front of a room full of people can be overwhelming.  How long should my toast be? What should I say or not say? Who should toast?

A good toast should not be more than two or three minutes in length and definitely not more than five. True you and your best man or maid of honor have been best friends since kindergarten and may have a ton of great memories to share but this is not the time. The average attention span is only 8 seconds. So, keeping it short will be appreciated by most guest and make it easier for the “Toasters”.

Speak from your heart. This is a special moment for the Bride and Groom and you’ve been given the opportunity to share in their special day. Toast from your heart always and you will never go wrong, A little laughter can go a long way, so a witty quip or an amusing piece of marriage advice will add to the entertainment factor of your toast.

Don’t say anything that will embarrass the bride or groom. Sure, you no doubt have some great stories of times together that you wish to share. This is not a time to take a long walk down memory lane of ALL your amazing adventures. While you might think, a particular story is amusing, everyone has a different comfort level and you don’t want to risk potentially embarrassing him or her.

Be prepared. You may be one of those few individuals that is perfectly comfortable speaking off the cuff, in front of a crowd but giving a toast for a friend(s) you are close too can be an emotional moment so it’s understandable that in that moment you may forget your words. Having notes as a reminder of what you wanted to say can keep you on track and keep you from rambling or using the phrase “I don’t know what to say”.

Practice! Practice! Practice! Stand in front of a mirror or practicing in front of a friend may be helpful.  No matter how short and sweet your toast may be, practicing your toast will ensure that your toast flows flawlessly.

Who should give toasts?   I recommend the bride and groom consider the program, the timing of the evening and the overall tone that the Bride and Groom wish convey.  I do not recommend an open mic; this can cut into the evenings program.  With that said the Best Man should always toast the bride and groom. He has customarily been the first to toast followed by the maid of honor, if she chooses. The Father of the Bride will toast at some point in the evening and depending on the program, it works well just before the  Father and (Bride) daughter dance. In some cases, both parents of the bride may wish to give the toast together.  The grooms father may want to say a few words, but customarily this would happen at the rehearsal dinner however, he may prefer to toast at the wedding reception. A Bride’s Toast is another tribute routinely included but not always, it is usually given by a close family member and just before dinner is a great time for this particular toast. Lastly, most importantly, the Bride and Groom should say a few words to thank guest and family for joining them in one of the most important days of their new lives together.  Keeping your toast to a minimum will be appreciated by guests and allow everyone to get to the celebration that much sooner.

Today’s weddings can be as diverse as they come, the same can be said about toasts. Having some helpful tips for your “Toasters” will help to put them at ease ensuring a more fluid reception. In the end leaving family and guests with lasting memories of all the wonderful sentiments!

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