An Insider’s Guide: How to Give a Great Wedding Toast from Evelyn Clark Weddings
Some of the perks of being a wedding planner include the fact that I get to listen in on the heartfelt wedding toasts from my couples’ closest family and friends. These toasts are often funny, touching and sweet, and give me insight into aspects of my clients’ lives that I did not have.
Photo Credit: Kyla Brown Photography
Unfortunately, wedding toasts can also be awkward, lengthy or just plain uncomfortable. I’m sure we have all been there when a toast starts going terribly wrong or terribly long, leaving you squirming in your seat. Of course, these are never the intentions of the wedding toast-er. Nerves and inexperience are the culprits when it comes to bad wedding toasts, so I have collected a few of my best tips to help avoid those awkward moments and help you for making a great wedding toast.
Wedding toast tips from Calgary wedding planner Evelyn Clark Weddings
1. Bring a glass up with you to do your wedding toast.
Simple, but most people actually forget this part! You can’t do a toast without a beverage in your hand, so please remember to bring one. This glass can also give your hands something to hold onto so that you are not fidgeting with a pen, paper, etc. Also, don’t forget to actually ask everyone to toast the Bride and Groom. Along the years, the “toasts” have become synonymous with “speeches”, and many people forget that the purpose of the toast is to declare a collective sentiment to the Bride and Groom, wishing them well in their marriage.
2. Remember that the main idea behind a wedding toast is to honor the Bride and Groom.
While it is all fun and games to subtly mention how the Groom tamed his former wild ways when he met the Bride, please try to refrain from playing any cliché games à la “please return the Groom’s house keys to him right now” and have a parade of women dropping off keys into a bucket, in addition to telling any “wink-wink, nudge, nudge” stories about the Groom’s Bachelor days. These kinds of clichés or games can create awkward moments for everyone because of the negative connotations. Or, worse, they can go over flat if guests do not quite understand the “game” or the inside-joke stories. Instead, focus on simply speaking from the heart and speaking about positive things…leave the song & dance for another time.
3. Keep the toast Short & Sweet.
This has been said and gone over so many times, I feel like I shouldn’t list this tip. However, keeping your toast short is probably one of the most difficult concepts when it comes to wedding toasts. I think that the there is a misconception that if your toast is short, that means you didn’t put any effort into writing it. This is simply not true. In this case, being succinct and the Quality, not Quantity rule applies. While your toast should probably consist of longer than 3 sentences, if it takes you longer than the amount of time to recount 1 story about the Bride/Groom, then your toast is probably too long.
4. The wedding toast is not about You.
Anyone remember that cringe-worthy scene in the movie “Bridesmaids”? (I practically had to leave my living room, I was so embarrassed). Often, toast-ers use their toast as a time to recount their relationship with the Bride or Groom. While sharing 1 or 2 short anecdotes about your time together is fine, you do not need to use your toast to prove how close you are to the Bride and/or Groom. If they have asked you to do a toast at one of the most important days of their lives, we already know that you must have a close relationship with the Couple of Honour…you don’t need to assert your friendship/relation status by going through a detailed timeline of your relationship.
5. Practice your wedding toast.
So simple, right? Unfortunately, procrastination usually takes over, and you are scrambling to write your toast the evening before the wedding, leaving you…no time to practice. It is just like when you were in school and had to do any public speaking assignments. If you don’t practice, you are not able to gauge how long your toast is, how fast/slow you are speaking and if your toast even makes any sense.
A good trick I picked up from my Classical piano performance days is to record yourself delivering your toast — most Smartphones have a recording app. Knowing that you are being recorded will help create a similar feeling of performance (when all 200 wedding guests are staring at you for your toast). This helps you learn how to control your nerves. Replaying your recordings will allow you to pick up, and fix, any issues like speaking too fast or mumbling your words. Trust me, by the time you actually get up to do your toast, you will feel a lot more at ease!
Finally, if you are completely lost on where to start with writing your toast, here is a good formula to stick to if you are at a loss for what to say:
•Thank the Hosts of the wedding for a fantastic Reception (be it the Bride/Groom and/or their Parents)
•Briefly describe how you know the Bride/Groom or Couple
•Explain why the Bride/Groom is so incredible (this can be 1 short story)
•Explain why the Bride and Groom make such an incredible couple
•Invite everyone to toast and declare your wish for their wonderful marriage/long future together/etc.
Use these tips and you should be on your way to creating a wonderful, meaningful wedding toast. Brides and grooms, don’t forget that these rules apply to you too when you are making your own toast!
Expert Wedding Planner: Evelyn Clark Weddings
Evelyn Clark Weddings is a Calgary based wedding firm known to create memorable, once-in-a-lifetime wedding experiences for their couples. They are available wherever your love takes you.