A wedding toast isn’t a few jumbled lines scrawled hastily across a napkin or a piece of paper. It’s an actual speech given by the best man or maid of honor during the reception! So, instead of blindly searching Youtube or coming up with something at the last minute, use our simple tips to guide you along from the moment you start on your first draft till you finally accept the mic from the Emcee.
Photo by Avior Pictures
Tip 1: Keep Your Introduction Short
Begin by congratulating the couple and thanking them for inviting you to their wedding. Next, introduce yourself then explain why you were chosen. Basically, you need to emphasize on how close you are to the bride or broom. Talk about how long you’ve known each other and the huge difference you made in each other’s lives. Finish with an interesting one-liner that sums up the rest of your speech.
Tip 2: Talk about the Bride or Groom
Whether you engage in light-hearted teasing or tell a short story, you task is to emphasize their loveable traits and not embarrass them in front of their new spouse, thus recounting their drunken escapades or talking about exes is a big NO-NO. Such jokes and stories create unnecessary tension that mars the happy occasion.
Tip 3: Share Their Love Story
Give a fresh perspective by sharing your own take on their relationship. Add in juicy details here and then or maybe slip in a joke or two before zooming in on that special moment when you realized they are meant for each other. This detail should be the crux of your entire speech, because your toast is essentially a public affirmation that the newlyweds managed to find their ‘special one’.
Photo by Renatus Photography
Tip 4: Acknowledge Their Spouse
Reflect on the things you admire in him or her. Write down as many points as possible and then slip these compliments into your speech. You can either address the spouse directly or attribute positive changes observed in your friend to him or her. The latter way keeps things smoother and less awkward when you don’t know the new husband or wife that well.
Tip 5: End on a Good Note
Reconsider ending your speech with a witty quote or a joke. This doesn’t make your speech more memorable, but it can ruin the entire speech. Everything falls flat when your joke or quote fails to impress. Skipping the closing statement and calling for a toast immediately is a safer option, if you don’t have any noteworthy to say.
Step 2: Keep Practicing
Tip 1: Liven It Up
Throwing in jokes or anecdotes makes things more interactive, but use these sparingly. A typical 5-8 minute speech shouldn’t have more than one or two anecdotes. Also, try sticking to your preferred type of humor rather than following someone else’s script. What works for them may not work for you!
Photo by Avior Pictures
Tip 2: Time Yourself
Any speech below 2-3 minutes is far too brief. Plump up your speech up by being more descriptive or using the additional time to banter with the bride or groom, so you appear more spontaneous. On the flipside, never let you speech exceed 7-12 minutes, because that makes it too long. So, to be considerate to everyone, keep your speech to 5 minutes tops.
Tip 3: Don’t Stumbling Over Your Words
Read your speech out loud once or twice, and note the places you tend to skip over or pause awkwardly. During the next read through, stop and reword these words or phrases, using the exact words you said less than 1 minute ago. You can even delete unnecessary words or sentences! Just do whatever it takes to keep your speech flowing smoothly.
Tip 4: Get a Second Opinion
Get you’re a family member or one of your friends to listen to you. As you speak, don’t look at your script; afterwards ask about your pacing and pronunciation. Nailing these makes your speech clear and easy to follow. Lastly, ask if you made enough eye contact or gestured too much. Maintaining eye contact keeps your audience engaged while minimizing hand gestures stops you from distracting them.
Photo by Annabel Law Productions
Step 3: Stand and Deliver
Tip 1: Use Cue Cards
Relying on a script isn’t a good idea. You would be tempted to look down, when you are nervous, instead of making eye contact and smiling. A better idea – for those afraid they’ll forget what to say – would be to write key words or phrases on small cue cards (approximately 3 inches by 5 inches). Practice one or two rounds with these cards, so you are familiar with them.
Tip 2: Make Eye Contact & Smile
When people start texting or talking, it means you didn’t make enough eye contact! Counter this by looking round the room occasionally. Pan from right to left or left to right and acknowledge those smiling faces. A simple nod or a bigger smile would suffice. Even when you are addressing the couple, stop and look up every now and then to let the rest know you are aware they’re there.
For those who are still struggling, remember you don’t need ‘divine’ inspiration from Youtube or Google. By following these tips, even the most nervous best man or maid of honor can deliver a great speech!
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