Throughout my career, I’ve personally witnessed well over 3,000 toasts and speeches by fathers, mothers, distant relatives, and best friends. Some heartfelt words fell short, while other toasts were littered with inside jokes that nobody understood. I’ve watched grandparents gasped as the best man tried to embarrass the groom. Or the 35 minute life recap of each month the maid of honor spent with the bride.
On rare occasion, I hear the perfect blend of a good story, a funny punch line and sincere words of love, brought together as glasses are raised and the toast is made. Last year I was privileged to hear the bride’s father deliver what I thought was the perfect toast. It was funny, yet poignant, not too long, sincere, entertaining, and valuable. The bride’s dad gave what I think was the best wedding toast I’ve ever heard.
Alberto, (The Father of the Bride) is a handsome, well-mannered, quiet man. He is a proud man and rightly so, considering his wife and two daughters are all equally beautiful both inside and out. Alberto however was not a public speaker. So, as the weeks grew closer to his daughter’s wedding day, he began to worry about how to address 300 guests. He wrote several drafts, talking in detail about his little girl’s life. Unsatisfied with all his attempts, Alberto finally tuned to cue cards that summarized exactly what he wanted to convey. It was a home run!
10 tips to give the best wedding toast ever!
- If you’re not funny, don’t try to be funny. You’ll come off awkward and uncomfortable. Instead, keep it short, sincere and heartfelt. Leave the inside jokes at home. If only you and your best friend (the bride) understand the funny story you’re telling, you’ve just alienated everyone else in the room.
- Write out your toast, and practice, practice, practice! Not only does this allow you to look your audience in the eyes, but the more you practice, the more your emotions will subside. After the 20th practice, the words, not the tears, will flow.
- Two drink max before a toast. Seriously, you’ll thank me after you watch the video.
- Don’t swear. Sounds obvious but after the F-bomb is dropped, nobody remembers anything else you said.
- If you’re going to tell a story, have a brief intro, a concise body, and conclusion that lands on a high note.
- There is a fine line between funny and vulgarity. Be funny, but stay classy. Don’t talk about exes, strip clubs, that wild night in Vegas, etc., etc.
- Don’t talk about yourself. Really, nobody wants to hear about how you are the bride’s bff, especially the 8 other women that feel the same way.
- Don’t mumble! Don’t hold the microphone too close to you mouth. Speak clearly and articulate.
- The “entertainer” should give the final toast. If there are a 2 or more giving a toast, the polished, funny public speaker should go last. It’s bad enough that you’re shy, emotional and quite. If you have to follow “Mr. Saturday Night” it will just make your job harder.
- Acknowledge the guests, and don’t forget to thank the hosts.