11 Tips For a Perfect Wedding Toast

Mike Staff Productions Wedding Photography

11 Tips For a Perfect Wedding Toast


MikeStaffProductions1087_20130831_Yheulon-EnhancedUnless you are a professional emcee, the thought of standing in front of hundreds of people at a wedding reception to give a speech can be a little nerve-wracking – or downright terrifying. These 10 tips will make you feel like a pro, even if just for a few minutes.

Plan your speech. A wedding speech is not a time to wing it – or to wait until the last moment. Plan what you are going to say and practice saying it. Try it before a mirror or a small group of people in advance. Ask for feedback about the pacing – too long, too fast, etc.

Make notes that you can read. Whether you make notes that are word for word or key terms that you want to cover, make notes that are written large enough to read. You may also want to print them on strong stock paper so the rustling of paper isn’t heard.

Start with a quote. Stuck on where to begin? There’s a reason that many speeches begin with a quote. Look for quotes, popular wedding readings or poems to begin your speech. They can be just the inspiration you are looking for.

Decide the theme of your message. Wedding speeches are generally well wishes for the couple or thanks to those gathered. While the message will likely be one of the two, you can keep your comments timeless, romantic or humorous.

This isn’t a roast. You are speaking before the gathering of family and friends. This is not the time to regale the crowd with off-color comments or embarrass the couple. If you decide to use humor, keep it PG and light-hearted. The funny story of how the couple met is perfect, the details of the bachelor party – not so much.

Be loose, but not too loose. Don’t take the mic when you’ve had too many drinks. It’s a wedding toast, save your drink for after your comments.

Use the mic properly. If you aren’t sure how to hold the mic, ask the wedding DJ for a few pointers. Hold the mic close to your mouth, about chin height. If you talk with your hands, use your non-dominant hand to hold the mic. Be sure to pronounce each word clearly. And yes, this thing is on.

Introduce yourself. You don’t need to preface your introduction with

For those who don’t know me.

Start your toast by stating your name and relationship to the couple. For example,

Hello everyone, my name is Julie and I am honored to be the maid of honor

Keep it brief. The wedding toast is a tradition and a chance for you to share a few wishes. It isn’t the time to recount every interaction you’ve ever had with the couple. Aim to keep your toast under four minutes and everyone will get to eat a warm dinner.

Focus on the couple. The toasts should mention both the bride and the groom, not focus on one exclusively. At a minimum, use your conclusion to wish them both well.

Raise your glass. Remember to invite the listeners to toast the couple at the conclusion of your toast.

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