- Practice. Practice. Practice. When you have a speech you are proud of, get in front of a mirror and practice. Practice gestures, timing and facial expressions, anything you need to do to make sure you are ready to give your speech. This is the time to really polish your speech.
- Keep it clean. There will be a wide variety of people there, from grandma to the kids running around the tables. Give a toast that is appropriate for all age groups and sensibilities. This is their big day; no need to be a distraction from it.
- Speak to the crowd. Make eye contact with the people in the room, since you are delivering the toast to them. It makes the audience feel included, and helps you relax as you are speaking.
- Politeness goes a long way. Say some thank yous at the beginning to the bride and groom, the parents, and anyone else who is special to the couple. Then thank all of the people there for showing up for the bride and groom’s big day. Introduce your relationship to the couple or how you met them. It is a nice way to start and work your way through some of the jitters.
- Be yourself. If you are not a naturally funny person, you don’t need to be funny in front of a room full of people you do not know all that well. Great toasts are something that are given from the heart and reflect the personality of the person giving it.
- Don’t wing it. This is a big day for the bride and groom. They asked you to be part of their wedding as a best man or maid of honor, so you should take some time to prepare what you are going to say.
- Think Gettysburg Address, not State of the Union. You want to create a speech that is short and to the point, but not so short it looks like you are making it up as you go. Three to five minutes is a good time frame to shoot for.
- This is a toast, not a roast. Tell funny stories that are not embarrassing to anyone in the room, especially the bride and groom. Self-deprecating humor and funny stories are great, as long as no one gets hurt in the end.
- Don’t be tipsy for the speech. Having a cocktail or glass of wine before the toast to calm your nerves is fine, but no more than one. While we are on the subject of drinks, make sure everyone has one before you start so that they can raise their glasses at the end.
- Leave the past in the past. Absolutely NO discussion of exes. Period. Talk about events that happened to them as a couple, not ones that happened to them individually before they even met. And leave out that one night. You know which one.
Remember that a wedding toast is your chance to honor the couple on their big day, and send them off into their marriage with your best wishes. Don’t let the public speaking jitters keep you from enjoying the reception. Have fun celebrating your friends!Tags: Roberts Centre, wedding planning tips, wedding reception, wedding tips, weddings