As a member of the wedding party, you are honored tobe a part of this special day. Someone very dear to you has found the person they want to walk down the road of life with, and that’s a beautiful thing. In honor of the celebration, you want todoeverything within your power to make the occasion memorable: buying a special gift, writing a sweet card of congratulations, and soon. One thing about your role as a member of the bridal partyfrightens you, though. Public speaking has never been your strong point, and now you are obligated to give a toast to the happy couple commemorating their new life together— how do you do it? WeatSpruce Mountain Ranch have provided some helpful advice on how to give the perfect wedding toast that will please the crowd and honor the newlyweds.
...Write it out beforehand:
By writing out what want to say before you give the speech, and having notes while you deliver it, the likelihoodof forgetting orad-libbing the toast goes down significantly. Oftentimes, the biggest mishaps in wedding toasts happen because the speaker forgot what
they wanted to say, or they never prepared something in the first place, causing them to feel that they didn’t deliver a great toast. Ideally, write out the speech in advance, practice it, and then condense the content into a few short notes to have during the toast. It creates a more personal feel to have notes than to read the entire speech.
...Practice it several times:
"Practice makes perfect.” The old saying may sound cliche, but in the case of public speaking, it cannot be said enough. Running through a speech several times makes sure the speaker includeseverything they want to say in a timely and polished manner. Plan to run through the toast at least five times, preferably over the course of a few days, to help cement it into your memory and prevent it from sounding as though it were written five minutes ago.
...Keep it under five minutes:
As a member of the bridal party, you probably have years’worth of memories and stories to share. Don’t. While your history with this person is wonderful, now is not the time tore-hash every childhood story or college memory. Share a couple of brief anecdotes before arriving at a conclusion about the story. Make every example relevant to your toast. (Example: “ Ashley, I’ll always remember playing Barbie wedding with you as a child and how you dreamed of your prince coming. In Joe, you’ve found your prince, and I couldn’t be happier for you both.) In keeping stories brief and relevant, you can make a heartfelt toast without putting anyone tosleep.
...Remember to breathe:
One of the biggest pitfalls people make in public speaking isrushing— since they don’t want tobeup there in the first place, they assume that going as fast as possible will make itgo quicker. While this is true, it’s hard for the audience to understand the speech when itis rushed. Try to breathe, take a few pauses, and keep your speaking rate to a reasonable pace. By doing this, everyone will be able to appreciate what you are saying.
...Look at the happy couple:
Eye contact can be hard when you’re also trying to look atnotes and remember what you want to say. Be sure to look at the happy couple and the audience, and most importantly, to smile. This will make your toast feel more personal.
...Consume alcohol beforehand:
Masking your nerves by consuming alcohol will hinder, not help with, giving a toast. Having a drink earlier in the day while getting ready is okay, but having no alcohol for at least a few hours beforehand helps to ensure that you deliver the best toast you are capable of, sans nervous laughter, tripping, and bad storiesofcollege sorority days. Simply put, it’s not a good idea to give a speech under the influence of alcohol, especially on such animportant day—if you are a drinker, wait until after the speech tohave a drink.
...Mention anything better left unsaid:
Maybe you went to college with the bride, and you have a hilarious story of how the two of you entered a wet t-shirt contest in Mexico over one spring break. Funny as it may be, now is not the appropriate time to mention it. Humor can lighten the tone of the toast, but make sure that anything funny is not embarrassing for the couple in front of all their family and friends. (Example: “ Joe, as your big brother, I remember watching you eat dirt in the backyard as a kid. Now, you’ve become a great man with a beautiful woman by your side. It’s been an honor to watch you become the person you are today, and I’m so glad that you found Ashley.” )
...Blubber through the speech:
Today is emotional, and a few tears of happiness are perfectly acceptable. With that said, sobbing is not only uncomfortable for the happy couple and the audience, but the meaning of your toast is also lost with excessive crying. If there are certain subjects that will trigger you to start sobbing, avoid using them in the toast. Keeping it short, light, and happy will put a smile on everyone’s face and help you to make itto the end of the speech without falling apart.
We at Spruce Mountain Ranch hope that this blog has offered helpful tips for giving an effective wedding toast! With any further questions about how to deliver a good speech, email our wedding blogger Micah Radakovich firstname.lastname@example.org. She has been a public speaking tutor and is happy to share her experience and insight!