1) Watch the comedy. Humor in a wedding toast (or most anywhere else) is great, but you want to be certain your comments will in fact be funny to the bride and groom and their family and friends. This means no inside jokes, no spilling of secrets, (this is not the time to tell the bride she was actually the groom’s second choice, or to tell the groom the bride is marrying him against her family’s advice…) no snarky comments and please, no bathroom humor. People are in tuxedos for heaven’s sake.
2) Run it by one (or more) people you trust. It may sound hilarious and /or touching to you, but to an objective ear, not so much, or even “What were you thinking???” Best to know that before the big day. If you can, run it by someone on both the bride and the groom sides. People of different ages will hear your toast differently as well, so if you can have a 28 year old, a 58 year old and an 88 year old test it out so much the better.
3) Keep it short. People are socializing, eating and drinking. They will stop doing those things to hear you speak. Be kind. Be brief.
4) Do NOT Read. I’ve said it before, and it applies here as well, it is impossible to look sincere when you are reading the words, “I’m so happy for my dear friends…” It’s OK to have notes! Just don’t make them whole sentences. Think phrases or even key words to keep you on track. When my sister got married I had an index card with five words on it: Joy, Her birth, Lucy, Frank. The theme of my toast was the joy my sister had brought to our family. First, when she was born, second, her cat, Lucy, and third, her husband Frank. I knew with those key words I could elaborate without getting off track. And even though it was only a three minute presentation, I knew I had to do step #5 – the best way to insure I would nail it.
5) PRACTICE OUT LOUD. Yep, just as you would for any other important presentation, you’ll want to practice this little speech over and over and over. That way, no matter how nervous you may feel, the words will form nicely and flow easily because your brain and your mouth have practiced.
Implement these 5 rules before your wedding toast. You’ll be giving the bride and groom and their family and friends a cherished memory. (And you’ll NAIL IT.)