So, one of your closest friends or family members has asked you to speak at their wedding! What a privilege, right?!
If you're like most people, you're already sweating at the thought of a your solo voice on the mic with a hundred pairs of eyes staring at you.
Well, fear not friend! I've filmed hundreds of toasts and compiled this list of all the things I've learned along the way. Follow these rules and you'll have the guests in tears and belly laughing in no time!
All images in this guide are provided by the very talented Shelly Anderson Photography.
The first and most important lesson about giving a toast is to remember that the toast is not about you. The focus of the toast should not be on your relationship to the bride or groom - solely talking about how you met them, how you became friends, and all your funny moments together.
Now, I'm sure you have an incredibly significant friendship with the bride or groom, and we should know that! But the important thing to remember is that this day - and this toast - is about the bride and groom's relationship to each other.
(Side note - parents, this doesn't fully apply to you! While the day is about the bride and the groom, you've done a lot of work getting them to this point - so feel free to dig into the events of childhood if you'd like! But we still want to hear about their significant other too!)
So sure, you can let us all know how you guys became friends when you were in diapers. And let us all know the great qualities that make your bestie so wonderful! But keep the focus on the bride and the groom. You are one of the closest observers of their relationship - so give us the inside scoop on it!
Ideas to inspire thoughts and stories:
What are your favorite attributes about the bride/groom?
Think of specific stories that reflect this quality.
When did you first hear your friend talk about their significant other?
What were your thoughts/feelings when you heard about your friend speak about them?
What were your thoughts when you first met their significant other?
When did you realize these two were right for each other?
Why are they good for each other?
Why are you excited they are getting married?
What are your hopes for them as a married couple?
Inside jokes are great, but public speaking isn't the time for it. Sure, the bride or groom might be cracking up, but you'll just hear crickets and get blank and confused stares from everyone else.
Granted, I've been to a lot more weddings than most of your guests. But I might throw my camera across the room if I hear one more person tell the groom to put his hand on the bride's hand because it will be the last time he'll ever have the upper hand.
Okay, maybe that's a bit aggressive. But seriously, if you found it in a Google search, we've all probably heard it before.
Roasts are GREAT. There is nothing better than a good tease, especially between guys. Everyone's usually got a little wine in them and they are ready for a good laugh. So think of some stories!
But, the key to success is to make sure there is a punchline. Every joke should culminate to a point when the audience realizes "Ah, this is now the time to laugh at what was just said."
This is just not classy. Sure your sister got a little crazy in Mexico and made some poor decisions in her college days - but now is not the time to bring up those wonderful memories. Trust me, I know it's a joke - and I've seen it done - but it just looks catty. And speaking of other guys…
That's just awkward. For everyone.
Always, always, plan what you will say. Write it out, if not verbatim, then as bullet points. Practice till you're comfortable. It will allow you to feel confident in the jokes, the delivery, and you might even *gasp* enjoy it!