Whether you’re the best man, the father of the bride or in another special role, giving a toast at a wedding is an honor and can be a fun and valuable experience. Follow these tips to make sure you’re prepared:
- Focus on the one message you want to convey. What is the main idea/emotion you want to share?
- Only include details/stories/points that relate to that message and support it.
- Be appropriate when considering which stories to include – do you really want Grandma to hear this story?
- Don’t force trying to be funny. No one is expecting a stand-up comedy routine, so don’t add in canned jokes or try too hard to get a laugh. Avoid sarcasm or harsh phrases, like, “we’re so glad Emily found Robert, because the rest of her boyfriends were losers,” which can fall flat or sound mean. You can include (appropriate and relevant) amusing anecdotes and stories.
- Prepare notes or a script. I don’t recommend memorizing the toast since it will increase your nerves and can sound canned.
- Don’t go on too long. Practice your toast and time it, so you don’t take longer than you’ve been allotted. And shorter is always better.
- Practice. You want to start and end strongly and with confidence instead of using “ums” and “ahs.”
- Practice your opening: what will be your first few sentences?
- Also practice the closing: what will be your final words? Usually, it’s something like, “Now join me in toasting/raising a glass to Emily and Robert.”
- Practice delivering from notes or if using a script, practice delivering from it so you can still make eye contact with the audience and not sound monotone
- Make sure your non-verbal communication (body language) matches your words.
- Speak loudly enough and slowly enough (use pauses) so everyone can hear.
- Make eye contact with the couple and the audience.
- Be aware of your facial expressions – remember to smile.
- Stand in one spot to deliver the toast rather than pacing nervously (this will be better for photos and the video, too.)
- Prepare for the logistics of the room.
- Will you have a microphone? Where will you stand in relation to the couple? Will the couple and the guests be seated or standing?
- What is happening before and after your toast?
- What is in your hand – notes, mic, the drink to toast with? (hint: keep the drink on the table next to you until you need it).
- Be prepared for emotion, either yours or others. It’s okay to get a little choked up or emotional, as long as you know how you will move forward through the emotion to complete the toast.
If you follow these tips, you’re more likely to give a good toast that will be cherished by the couple and the guests and not cause them to cringe when they watch it on the video.
© 2018 Gilda Bonanno LLC