Argh! Public speaking for some is the equivalent of having bamboo shoots shoved into their fingernails, but a couple of tips will help wedding-day toasts from becoming awkward, embarrassing, or just plain boring.
For the bride and groom:
- Prepare a list ahead of time of who is giving toasts, and make sure the MC or best man knows the order of the speakers.
- If you have a lengthy list of toast-givers, consider having toasts given at the rehearsal dinner instead as it’s generally a smaller, more intimate setting.
- Schedule toast time for before or after the cake cutting or during the salad or entree so people aren’t starving.
- If you plan to toast with a specific drink, i.e. champagne, make sure your the servers know when to begin circulating with the chosen beverage.
For those giving a toast:
- Keep it personal, but not too personal. This isn’t the time to reminisce about frat-party stories that may embarrass the bride or groom or cause them to blush in front of their new in-laws.
- Be yourself; don’t worry about being a comedian. You’re there to share your feelings, not to entertain the group. A heartfelt toast is more meaningful that a comedy routine that falls flat.
- Toasts should be limited and no more than three minutes long.
- Write some notes to reference if you worry about forgetting what you want to say.
- Avoid “stage fright” by looking at the couple, not the whole room.
- Feel free to borrow romantic quotes, song lyrics, or a poem.
- At the conclusion of your toast, raise your glass as a cue to the other wedding guests that it is time to drink to the happy couple and their new life together.