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How to Make a Great Wedding Toast

Dear Occasional Speaker,

I’ve been asked to propose a toast at a special friend’s wedding. I’m really nervous and I’m stuck for what to say.

Can you help please?

Firstly let me tell you that its absolutely normal to feel at little anxious. Think of those jitters as simply a sign that you are anxious, i.e. anxious to communicate your feelings on this special occasion, not anxious because it’s all out of control.

Some points to keep in mind

Tip 1: The purpose of your toast is to honour the couple, not embarrass them so resist the urge to recall past relationships or embarrassing stories about the time the bride got drunk and passed out on the bathroom floor.

Tip 2: Consider your audience by keeping your toast to between three to four minutes. Your audience who have come to celebrate the wedding of a special friend or relative so this is not your time to hog the limelight.

Tip 3: Once you’ve written your toast, practice delivering it. Reading it to yourself is not the same as speaking it aloud. By all means have notes but keep them to a minimum. Refer to your notes but definitely do not read your speech in its entirety.

Here’s some ideas on what you could say:

  • If you know one individual well, but not the other, recall how, or when, your friend first mentioned his/her significant other to you
  • Make a list of some positive qualities that you admire in the bride/groom – what are some things they have done in the past that illustrate that they have these qualities
  • What it is that you value most about your friendship
  • Mention a time when you got through something challenging or fun together
  • Was there anything unique in the way they met or their engagement? – these can make interesting anecdotes
  • Share an anecdote – stories of how various parties met are always popular, whether you talk about how the bride and groom met, or your first time meeting either of them
  • Jot down any shared memories or experiences – childhood memories often make good stories
  • Think about why the couple are well suited – perhaps it’s because opposites attract, or because they share comment traits
  • Find a relevant quotation about marriage or relationships – try searching the internet for a quotation on marriage or relationships; scan children’s storybooks or verse for inspiration; get creative and write your own short verse
  • Decide what it is you wish for the couple’s future

Now give your toast some structure:

  1. Start by introducing yourself and clarify your relationship to the couple. Keep in mind that not everyone at the wedding knows you.
  2. Recall how you met one, or other of the couple, or tell a story about your shared childhood experience.
  3. Recall a story about the bride or groom that serves to illustrates a personality trait you love in them, or one that shows how well suited they are.
  4. Offer some advice to the couple. This can be words of wisdom, funny, from the heart (or a combination of all).
  5. End on a high note – Express your wishes for the new couple’s happy, healthy, prosperous future.
  6. Ask the audience to stand and charge their glasses as they join you in the toast.
  7.  Lift your Champagne glass, look firstly to the guests and then toward the couple and smile as you say, “To (name of bride) and (name of groom)….”
  8. Once those being toasted have been acknowledged, take a sip of your drink and resume your seat.

Most importantly: Be yourself and keep your toast simple, personal and sincere.

Like some help writing your toast or delivering your wedding speech like a professional?

Feel free to call The Occasional Speaker at 0400 778807, or fill out our contact form to request more information.

We’re here to help!