A couple months ago, I was enlisted by Wedding Party’s Blog to write a story on giving a wedding toast. It’s kind of the perfect time to share it here since…my sister is getting married on Saturday and I’m assuming I’ll have to do a quick toast at some point. So here is what I wrote, hope y’all enjoy and find it useful!
Now let’s get down and dirty and talk about the scariest thing ever—giving a wedding toast. I know, giving a speech can seem like a daunting task — I’m right there with you. Public speaking has always made me sweat but, if you take the time to prepare, you’ll be great. Here are a couple tried and true tips that are bound to help you toast to the lovely new couple!
1. Don’t forget to bring your drink to toast.
Seems silly, but you can’t offer to lead everyone in a toast without a drink to toast. You’d think this was an easy one to remember until you get up there and say, “so let’s all toast to the bride and groom…” and realize that you’re just holding up your hand, because you forgot to bring a drink.
2. Keep the toast short and sweet.
As fun as it is to tell a really awkward story about the grooms bachelor days or the brides wild college years, know that not everyone will get your jokes and sarcasm. When a joke falls flat, it can be awkward for everyone. Remember that the toast isn’t about you (remember that painfully awkward scene in Bridesmaids…yeah…), it’s about the marriage between the bride and groom. Think quality, not quantity: make your toast about the bride and groom, and keep it sweet and simple.
3. Do the toasts at the rehearsal dinner.
This one is totally up to the bride and groom, but I feel that the toasts get the most attention by those who care when it’s a more intimate and smaller group of close family, friends and the wedding party. Sometimes toasts in the middle of the wedding can, dare I say, disrupt the flow of the party, so leave the toasts for the rehearsal dinner.
4. Practice your toast.
I totally get stage fright and I’ve learned in public speaking classes, most of that comes from lack of preparation. Introverts are often the best speech and toast givers because they would never get up there and “wing it” like an extrovert, and they take time to prepare, which always prevails in the end. And while I’m a total extrovert, I’m never good at winging things like speeches—that usually ends up with stuttering and stammering. So prepare a toast, practice it in front of a friend or family member, and then you’ll be ready to go!
5. Open with how you know the bride and groom.
Remember there are a lot of people there that don’t know you, even if you’re the brides’ sister (hello whole new side of the family). So introduce yourself and start strong. Be yourself and usual your natural tone, and you’ll grab everyone’s attention. You don’t have to be cliché, you don’t want everyone guessing what you’ll say (no Wedding Toast Bingo here!), but keep it simple and natural, and it’ll be wonderful and meaningful.