Wow the Crowd
How to Give a Flawless Wedding Toast
So your best friend in the entire world just called you up to tell you they’re getting married. And the best part: they want you to be their Best Man or Maid of Honor! As the excitement sets in, you’re suddenly hit by the horror that this means you’re going to have to give a toast at the reception. Fear not, because we’ve got you covered. Follow our guidelines below and you’ll nail it and have the entire room hanging on your every word.
First: Do. Not. Procrastinate.
You don’t have to write it the day they call, but think about doing it pretty soon. You can always polish it and add to it before the big day, but getting the meat and potatoes of your speech down on paper early will give you plenty of time to hone it to perfection.
Remember, this is not a comedy routine. You want to be funny and get a few laughs, but you don’t want people rolling on the floor laughing. Ultimately, you’re talking about your best friend and the person they’ve chosen to spend the rest of their life with, be a little funny, be sensitive and heartfelt, and, most importantly, keep it classy.
You are representing his or her friends to the rest of the wedding guests, and naturally there are a few things you’ll want to avoid. Any past lovers are a major no-no. All those drunk nights back in college, yeah, stay away from that. Inside jokes are great, but if only a few people in the room will understand, give it a quick mention and move on or choose to leave it out altogether.
Most importantly, keep it short. Ideal length is about two to four minutes for the entire delivery. We’ve all been to one of those weddings where the Best Man goes on for twenty minutes about that time he and the groom got plastered and woke up in a…you get the idea.
Another key piece of any public speaking is practice. This is where it helps to write that speech early. Once you’ve written it, practice, practice, practice. Ask any of the best public speakers in the world and they will tell you that you have to know your routine well enough to recite it in your sleep. This gives you instinct to fall back on when your nerves kick in up there in front of the crowd.
My best friend recently got married. He was my best man, and I was honored when he asked me to be his. I wrote a great speech and it went well, but I had my notes written on a piece of paper in my hand and everyone could see how much I was shaking. Everyone still loved it and I got quite a few compliments, but I wished my delivery had been stronger because it would have improved the whole thing and really given it that little extra.
Follow these simple steps and your next wedding toast will be a great success!
If you’re having some writer’s block and don’t know where to start, here’s my toast I mentioned above. Feel free to use it as a template or just for ideas to help you get the ball rolling.
I want to start by thanking everyone for making the trip out to this beautiful gathering spot to celebrate the union of Ben and Erika.
I first met Ben at school at Montana State University in Bozeman. I knew from my first conversation with Ben that he was an amazingly focused and driven individual, and one of my favorite things to this day is listening to Ben discuss his scientific work because his passion is always contagious. I know Erika is a great fit for Ben because his passion for her is one of the only things that exceeds his passion for science.
Some of my earliest memories of Ben involve a group of floor mates, our RA and a roll of duct tape; late-night life conversations; and a great many less than appropriate conversations over the dinner table at the dining hall.
Since then we’ve had many journeys, and whether it was on-demand phone navigation support, proofreading papers, love advice, or the steering column disconnecting on Ben’s 1950 Suburban, we have always been there for each other. [Even our cats are best friends.]
A friend once described Ben as an inappropriate person who says inappropriate things at inappropriate times. Yet, somehow, Erika always knows exactly how to respond no matter what Ben says or does. [Erika, you may have already figured this out, but Ben likes to clean up after his roommates; I encourage you to take advantage of that.]
Ben is actually a very sensitive person. He’s raised baby birds practically out of the egg, he plans the perfect dates, and he must have done something right to get someone as great as Erika. Erika, you are beautiful, incredibly smart, and that smile is enough to brighten anybody’s day.
I’m so happy that Ben has found such a great woman, and that they’re embarking on a new life together. So, let’s all raise our glasses to many years of happiness to come!