Toasts are a traditional part of a wedding. Usually, the Maid (or Matron) of Honor and Best Man each offers a toast. Often, the father (or parents) of the bride (or sometimes groom) does as well. (That photo above is my dad giving a toast at my wedding in 2013.)
You might be tempted to allow others to make a toast, but those are better left for the rehearsal dinner, where more speaking is expected. At a wedding, people expect to eat, drink, and dance.
Here's some advice to share with those who will be giving toasts to prevent them from derailing your wedding day.
1. Keep it short
No toast should last more than 5 minutes. The best are between 3 and 4 minutes. Regardless of how witty the toaster thinks he or she is, your guests really don't care that much. (It sounds harsh, but it's true.)
2. Keep it relevant
Please don't be like the maid of honor at one wedding who recounted seemingly every single moment she and the bride, her cousin, had shared growing up. Again, no one really cares. A brief description of your relationship to the couple is sufficient. The toast should primarily be about the couple, not about your escapades with one half of the couple.
3. Make it heartfelt
Wedding toasts aren't the time to make jokes at the expense of the bride and groom. It's a toast, not a roast. Your toast can be funny, but it should also be sincere and kind. It should be about how well-suited for each other the couple are. It should be about how happy you are for them, and how happy they make each other. It's their wedding day, not open-mic night.
4. Write it down
The only thing worse than a long toast is a rambling toast. Prepare your remarks in advance, and practice them out loud while timing yourself (see tip #1). Memorize your toast if you can, but always have a written back up copy with you at the wedding.
5. Finish with an actual toast
A toast isn't just your opportunity to wax poetic in front of a crowd. It serves a specific purpose: you are wishing the couple happiness in their married life. At the end, you should ask everyone to raise a glass to the couple. And don't forget to take your glass with you when you go up to make your toast, so you can raise your glass as well.
If you follow these tips, you will give a successful toast, and no one will remember you as "that guy who rambled on incoherently for 10 minutes." That's a worthy goal!
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