Wedding toasts can be as nerve-wracking for the couple getting married as the guest giving it.
As a planner, I listen to wedding toasts nearly every weekend! Some have brought the room to tears, and others have made people cringe. I love my couples and want them to love their toasts, not to feel embarrassed or uncomfortable.
Here are my top 12 dos and don'ts that will help you give the perfect wedding toast!
Don't: Have too much to drink before giving your toast. Please do not cause the couple and their guests (and planner!) stress by trying to give a toast while intoxicated. It truly takes away from how special the moment is. A slurred speech will be awkward for everyone, and there's plenty of time to hit the bar afterward!
Do: 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 given from the heart and reflect the personality of the person giving it.
Don't: Start by saying how nervous you are or how much you hate public speaking. Few people enjoy speaking in public! No need to take time out of your very short speech to let everyone know how nervous you are. Find your inner confidence, and no one will ever know!
Do: Keep your speech short. Wedding days are LONG! Toasts are often one of the final things before dancing starts, and people are ready to bust a move! The best toasts are two to four minutes long.
Don't: Wing it. Of course, you do not have to write and read the toast word for word, but it is best to have a plan or outline.
Do: Briefly share how you know the couple.
Many guests may not know you or your relationship with the couple. Start by sharing a brief description of how you know each other, like a sweet story of how you first met. But remember, the toast shouldn't be all about you.
Don't: Share stories or make comments that leave them feeling embarrassed. This is their wedding, NOT the right time to make the couple feel embarrassed! You should especially avoid jokes related to the wedding night or honeymoon. Keep in mind that grandparents and older family members are there.
Do: Speak to both partners. Even though you likely know one person better than the other, make sure you are speaking to both the bride and groom. Some ideas of things to share are:
When you first knew they were perfect for each other
What you love most about them as a couple
Specific qualities you love about each of them
How their qualities combine beautifully in their relationship
Don't: Reference any previous significant others, fiancés, or spouses. Just don't. Nobody wants to think about their spouse's ex-boyfriend or girlfriend on their wedding day.
Do: Make guests laugh AND cry.
My favorite toasts share stories that make guests laugh, and then move the group to tears. All the guests love hearing funny and sweet stories about the couple but make sure to avoid inside jokes that others don't understand.
Don't: Reference them having children if they have not explicitly said they want them. Many couples do not plan to have children or may not be able to. Avoid speaking about them as parents unless you are sure they do plan to have or adopt children!
Do: End the toast on a high and happy note, then invite the guests to raise their glass and toast the couple!
At some weddings, all the guests will have champagne, and at others, they will toast with any drink they have. Whatever they're drinking, don't forget to invite everyone to raise a glass. Cheers!
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. Sincerity goes a long way—speak from the heart and enjoy a drink afterward!
I hope these tips help you to give a simple, heartwarming and personal toast!