You were just told that you will be giving a toast at the wedding. OMG!! Many people that are given this opportunity panic at what they are going to say. You are most likely a close friend of the bride or groom, so you have history to rely on, so use it. Adding true anecdotes can be your best method of infusing the toast with humor. Talk to their friends for suggestions.
You may ask, “How do I stop my knees from shaking?” The answer is twofold: 1. Be very familiar with what you are going to say and, 2. Just before you begin, take several deep breaths – in through your nose and out through your mouth. Breathing this way has a calming effect.
Remember to hold the microphone close to your mouth. There is nothing more annoying to the guests than to not be able to hear you or to watch you motion with your hand that has the microphone in it – moving the mike to and fro away from your mouth. Always begin by introducing yourself. Tell the guests your name, and that you’ve been selected to be the maid of honor/best man, etc., and what a great honor it is.
Unless you are a natural born comedian, NEVER tell jokes (genuinely true and funny/humorous stories – yes) and never say things that might embarrass the bride and groom or anyone one else in the room. Many people think a standard joke is going to be the best route to humor in their wedding speech. WRONG! Humor is a good way to make the audience – and you – relax. No off-color stories. Keep it clean. A “PG” rating for a wedding toast is a good thing.
If you have been asked to give a little speech and you’re a little shaky about the subject now that the time draws near, know that it’s normal. I won’t tell you that you will not be nervous, because unless you speak regularly in front of people you probably will be. If your heart isn’t beating a little faster and there’s no adrenalin, it probably won’t be much of a speech. The important thing is to keep it in perspective.
Write down what you want to say. Use large index cards or sheets of paper, but write everything down. Don’t wing it. That seldom works. Search Google for some suggestions but always personalize it to the bride and groom. It’s not about you. It is all about the bride and groom.
Remember that you are talking to your friends. Your friends and family are the warmest audience you’ll ever have. They’ve come to your wedding, and they’re on your side. As best you can, relax and remember how comfortable you would be if you were sitting around just chatting with friends – then tell your story.
Practice! Practice! Practice! Rehearse! Stand and deliver your toast in front of a mirror. Don’t memorize, but know your speech so well that you only have to look down at your paper every once in awhile. If there is anything that kills a mood fast, it’s when you appear to be unprepared.
It’s often the waiting to present the toast that is the hardest part. Waiting to go on will most likely make you nervous. Once you’re on your feet, and you’ve started talking, as long as you know what you’re going to say, it can be a lot more fun. Remind yourself of that as you’re sitting and waiting, and make it easier by repeating your first several lines to yourself. That way when you get to your feet, and the room goes silent, you won’t suddenly freeze. Instead, you’ll just say that line you’ve been repeating to yourself over and over. And with that out of the way, you’ll find the rest just follows.
Don’t say things like, “I’m not used to doing this, so bear with me,” or “I’m really nervous, etc.,” or ever apologize for anything – it only calls negative attention to what you are doing. It’s your self-consciousness that causes you to say dumb things like that. Everyone is listening but they don’t want to hear anything but what you have written in your notes. Just do your duty. You will get compliments whether you think you deserve them or not.
You may want to end with a romantic quote. Limit your toast to about two minutes. Ask everyone to lift their glasses and drink a toast to the bride and groom.
IMPORTANT: Before the reception, remind the bride and groom that proper etiquette says that during a toast “to” the Bride and Groom, the couple should NEVER stand, raise their glasses, or drink to themselves. The Bride and Groom should thank the toasters or at least smile and graciously nod. They are not obliged to propose a toast in return.
One last thing. Do NOT have a drink to calm your nerves. That seldom ever works either. Okay… maybe one, but be very careful not to over imbibe. That’s when your nerves will most likely get the best of you, you may stumble over your words, become a chatty Cathy or rambling Ron, and embarrassing yourself and the bride and groom.
Copyright © 2012 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s “romantic” Wedding Website. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 470 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.
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