If you are the maid of honor or best man I’m sure you are feeling the enormous pressure of giving a good toast! In the movies we always see these cringe-worthy toasts that make the audience squirm – we want to avoid this type of toast at all costs! According to Toastmasters International, a global organization devoted to communication development, here are the ten things you should pay attention to:
- Identify yourself. Let the audience know what your relation is to guests of honor.
- Be prepared. Write out your thoughts to ensure that it flows together and practice!
- Stay on topic. Although your nerves may be getting the best of you, remember to keep on track with your original written toast.
- Get personal. A toast should be unique to the couple, heartfelt and customized for the big day.
- Use humor, but avoid telling potentially embarrassing stories and using offensive language.
- Be creative. Avoid clichés, consider using a sweet quote to illustrate your feelings.
- Be brief. Brief is best, keep your speech under 2-3 minutes, any time over this and the audience stops paying attention.
- Limit alcohol consumption. This toast will likely be recorded by the videographer and possibly a few attendees, best not to have slurred speech permanently captured.
- Stand; lift your glass by the stem and say, “I’d like to propose a toast.” Pause to allow guests to shift their attention toward you and give them time to lift their glasses. When you start speaking, lower your glass to about waist height.
- Practice makes perfect. Rehearse your message in advance in front of a group of friends and in front of the mirror, this can help get rid of extra “umms” and other crutch words as well as help your posture.
BONUS TIP: Speak directly into the microphone, if one is provided. People often hold the microphone too far away from their mouth and then guests won’t be able to hear you speak.
Here are some sweet quotes to help you get started!
- “Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.” – Mark Twain
- “You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” – Dr. Seuss
- “Once in awhile, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale.” – Unknown Author
- “The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.” – Audrey Hepburn
- “Love doesn’t make the world go round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.” – Franklin P. Jones
- Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” – Maya Angelou
- “A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” – Mignon McLaughlin
*Tips courtesy of Toastmasters International, with additions by Exceptional Events