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How to Make the Perfect Wedding Toast

Sometimes in life, and especially at weddings, you’re called upon to do something you’d rather not do. Giving a wedding toast may be one of those things for you. But no need to worry. Follow these simple tips, be prepared, and you’ll do just fine.

The first thing to remember is that a large range of ages and relationships will be represented at the reception. Many of them don’t know each other and some of them may not know you either. So be sure to have your wedding DJ announce you and tell the crowd your name and how you are related to the couple.

Once you’ve been introduced, greet the crowd and make eye contact. You may want to briefly recognize any really special guests like the bride’s 87 year old Grandma, the groom’s Cousin Julie who flew in from China, and so on. Keep this brief though because the focus of your toast is the happy couple.

Whether you are the maid of honor or the best man or someone else who’s been asked to give a toast, keep things light, heartfelt and appropriate to the event. This isn’t a bachelor or bachelorette party. This is not the time to bring up past misdeeds, former girlfriends or boyfriends, or make rude jokes at someone else’s expense. Also, don’t share inside jokes that only a few of the guests will understand. This makes people feel left out.

So what should you say? I’ve created the following outline you can use to plan and practice your speech in advance.

  1. Say your name again, how you know the couple and how happy you are to be here on this special day with family and friends. Now is a good time to recognize those really special guests if there are any in attendance.
  2. Direct your attention to the couple as you speak. It’s entirely acceptable to have a copy of your speech to refer to as you go. But don’t let your eyes stay there. Keep making eye contact with the couple.
  3. Now is the time to get personal. Think about how you know the groom or bride. Since grade school, as a co-worker, or in a softball league? Share something that is remarkable about the person that drew you in right away. If you can, share a memory of when the two met. Then share some nice remarks about their spouse. If you don’t know any, be creative. Even a disagreeable trait can have a positive aspect if you think about it.
  4. Finish your toast by adding a congratulatory statement and raising your glass to the couple. Need inspiration? You can check out this site for some sample endings.
  5. Be brief! There will probably be others toasting and everybody is ready to celebrate. Three to five minutes is perfect.
  6. One last thing…practice before the reception. Even just reading aloud from your notes a few times will make a big difference and help you feel more at ease when it’s time to toast.

Remember, you’ve been asked to give a toast because you are a special person in the couple’s life. Be sincere and enjoy the moment.

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