What reception would be complete without a toast or two?
Unless your prospective toasters (most often parents, best man & maid of honor) are professional speakers, or in sales of some kind, they may feel pretty nervous (or even extreme anxiety) at the prospect of having to stand before the entire reception and be on the mic. Alone. With all of the focus on them.
In addition to watching countless toasts at Something New (they’re my favorite part of the reception!), I myself have been the best man at three weddings, and have had to deliver the Best Man toast on at least a few occasions. Here’s my tips for a terrific and memorable speech!
Keep is Short
If the idea of speaking gives you anxiety, this point may not be for you, as you’ll want to keep it as short as possible right from the get-go! But for those of us with the gift of gab: hear my words! Keep it short! A great format to keep you on track is to think of this run-down:
- Compliment the couple. If you can work it in, compliment them each respectively as well as together.
- Tell a joke, a memorable story or anecdote. This should tie-in with the couple, the day, or the bride/groom. If appropriate, roast the groom a little bit, but keep it PG (never roast the bride).
- Wish them well and show your support of their marriage.
Ideally your toasts should be no more than 5 minutes. Three minutes is probably the perfect length for a toast. Don’t believe me? Try sitting still and not doing ANYTHING for 3 minutes. Feels longer than you thought, right?
You Cannot Fail
An important concept to remember when giving a toast is that this is the ONE speaking engagement you’ll have where you simply cannot fail. Yes, it’s a formal setting, but no one has paid to attend the event (and certainly not to see you as a headliner), and the bosses of the day (the couple) have your back 100%.
If you feel anxiety, that is 1000% normal. But it’s very important to remember that everyone in the room, and I mean everyone, wants you to do well.
DO NOT READ OFF OF A SCRIPT!
Ok, so I know I’m probably going against some conventional wisdom here when I say this, but DO NOT WRITE YOUR SPEECH VERBATIM (word for word). There are a couple key reasons why you should NOT do this:
- There is a big temptation to make the speech multiple pages (very long… i.e. too long).
- You sound different (translation = stiffer) when you read a script, and most people sound less sincere while reading than when speaking extemporaneously.
If the prospect of speaking without paper in front of you is a bit too much, I would suggest making a few cards with bullet points on them to help you keep track of where you are in the speech (which again, should be short!). This approach helps with the problem of anxiety while keeping a heartfelt cadence to the toast. It also helps keep your shorter!
So those are some quick thoughts on giving toasts. At the end of the day, no matter what, it’s important to have a great time and to remember everyone else is there to have a great time too. Then make sure to have fun and enjoy the rest of the reception!
Make sure your toasts are captured – get in touch with us about our collections by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by giving us a call at 602-730-0478!