Six dos & don’ts – a guide to planning a wedding toast
When planning your wedding speeches for the evening here is a great precursor to present your speakers with. The words said are an important aspect to your day so it is good to make sure that everyone speaking feels comfortable. Feel free to print this as a resource and provide to your bridal party, family or friends who are speaking, to give them some piece of mind around how to approach their toast. As a celebrant and often now MC, I give this information out to my couples when planning their wedding day.
1. Do make the toast personal. Do speak from the heart. Be genuine and say what you truly feel whether you opt to conduct a serious or funny speech.
2. Talk about how you know the couple, or, if you only knew one of them also talk about the time when you met their fiancé. It is important to include both partners. You could even mention why you feel they are perfect for each other.
3. Write it down and read. You won’t be able to memorise it so have your toast in front of you. You may never need to glance at your words, but knowing they are there will be a great comfort.
4. Include pictures if you are able to! You can make your toast stand out by giving fun visual aids to your “audience”. Utilise technology if you are able – cardboard cut outs and the like. Great to make visual references where you can.
5. If you know the couple really well, talk about what the couple has in common or how their differences enhance their relationship. What are their quirks and pet peeves about each other. Maybe one person is a camping nut and the other prefers a 5-star hotel. Great to really look at the differences and similarities, what connects them and what sets them apart as individuals. People love to hear these types of stories, so if there’s one to be told (bonus points if you were there), then make sure to tell it. Anecdotal evidence is great with humour and fun as long as that does not make up 80% of your speech.
6. Practice your toast in front of the mirror and in front of people that you know will be honest with you. This means taking it to someone other than your mum or best friend because they will probably tell you that it’s fantastic. You want to know the truth before you deliver a toast at a wedding and not make your friends regret ever asking you to speak.
1. Leave out the really embarrassing stories. Really think about what you are sharing and whether it is appropriate. Consider your audience and how there maybe family members in attendance (hi, mum!) that won’t appreciate these types of comments.
2. Further to the above don’t tell private jokes, what might be funny to the bridal party unless understood by the audience is lost.
3. Goes without saying but don’t drink to much before you share your toast.
4. Don't talk about yourself remember the speech or toast is about others not about you.
5. Don't share a long toast and lose your audience. Short succinct, personal, to the point will go down well. Look at ways to keep editing it down, less is more.
6. Don’t turn this into anything other than a toast. This is not your chance to serenade the couple with a surprise song. Performances like this are a fabulous idea, but they should be saved for later on at the reception after people have had a chance to eat. There is plenty of time for fun stuff like this later.
There you have it! A few dos and don’ts when giving a toast at a wedding. Keep it simple, short, sweet and you will be loved by the guests and appreciated by the couple. Remain calm, take a deep breath and enjoy. It is an honor and just have fun doing it!