Wedding Speeches and Toasts
Winning Toast (October 2007)

According to a recent poll, 48% of all Brides are worried about the Best Man’s Toast, hoping that it will not be embarrassing or uncomfortable, but instead thoughtful and appropriate. And there’s good reason to be concerned. We’ve all heard toasts that made us squirm in our seats, questioning the judgment of the person giving the toast. To help guide your Best Man, give him this list of toasting do’s and don’ts, along with your appreciation and gratitude in letting him know how much you are relying on him in helping make your day so special.

DO . . . DON’T . . .
Start off by introducing yourself and thanking everyone for attending, as well as the couple’s parents if they’re hosting the event. Explain your connection to the Groom and tell a funny (but tasteful) story or two about your friendship, skipping the inside jokes. Forget to talk about the Bride and why she’s a perfect match for the Groom. Tell a quick story about the first time you met her or how you knew the Groom was falling in love with her. Make your words personal, as if they couldn’t possibly be used to describe any other couple.
Feel free to share a little bit about the Groom, from his fashion sense to his culinary skills, or singing and dancing abilities (or lack thereof). Mention ex-girlfriends, former bachelor “stud” status, alcohol or drug use, violence, anything sexist or negative about the wedding or family members.
Talk about what a bright future the Bride and Groom will have together and wishing them lots of luck in their new life together. If you wish, incorporate a little relationship advice – from personal experience, or from quotations, song lyrics, poems, or passages from spiritual literature. Forget a conclusion. Raise your glass and ask the other guests to join you. Look directly at the happy couple, say “Here’s to (fill in the blank), and take a sip from your glass.
Practice. You’ll feel calmer in giving the toast when you know it well. Make sure it’s no longer than 3-5 minutes. Got for quality over quantity – even a 1-minute speech can be a home run if it’s heartfelt. Have more than one drink before giving your toast.You want to make sure you can enunciate and not slur your words. Plus your judgment on what’s funny or not won’t be impaired.
Use notecards to remember the key talking points. Stiff cards work better in shaky hands than flimsy sheets of paper. Try not to read your entire toast from the notecards. Rush. Take a deep breath and look around the room before starting your speech. Stand away from the microphone to avoid any screeching noises so that guests aren’t backing away from the sound.
Pause if you get a laugh. Wait until it dies down before moving on to your next line. Lose confidence if one of your funny jokes misses the mark. You may be the only one who noticed. Just keep going and don’t give it a second thought.