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7 Tips for Giving a Memorable Wedding Toast

communication personal development
People raise their glasses for a memorable wedding toast


By John Millen

Wedding seasons are when I tend to get unexpected calls or texts from friends and clients who “need a little help so I don’t screw this up.”

That’s because this is when many of us are tasked with giving one of the most important, yet delicate talks of our lives –– the wedding toast.

It’s easy to mess up a wedding toast. Just search for “bad wedding toast” on YouTube to see painfully awkward toasts. 

With this in mind, I decided to write this guide with tips to help you prepare and deliver an engaging and favorably memorable toast.

That’s because giving a wedding toast is a great honor, but it can also be a daunting task. An effective wedding toast can bring laughter, tears and heartfelt emotion, leaving a lasting impression on the newlyweds and their guests. 

Whether you're the best man, maid of honor, or a close family member, your words can add a special touch to the celebration. Here are seven tips to help you deliver a toast that will be remembered for all the right reasons:

1. Know your audience

Before you start writing your toast, consider who will be in the audience. A wedding usually has a diverse mix of people, from close family and friends to distant relatives and colleagues. 

Tailor your speech to be appropriate for all ages and backgrounds. Avoid inside jokes that only a few people will understand, and steer clear of controversial or embarrassing topics.

2. Start with a strong opening

Grab everyone’s attention right from the start. Sometimes weddings have themes, which can give you a strong beginning.

You may also start with a memorable quote, a heartfelt story or a funny anecdote about the couple. This sets the tone and engages the audience. 

For example, you might start with, "As Mark Twain once said, ‘To get the full value of joy, you must have someone to divide it with.’ And today, we are here to celebrate the joy that [Bride] and [Groom] have found in each other."

3. Keep it short and sweet

The perfect wedding toast is brief but meaningful. Aim for a talk that lasts about three to five minutes. This is long enough to convey your message and share a couple of stories, but short enough to keep everyone's attention. 

Remember, it's better to leave the audience wanting more than to lose them with a long-winded speech. 

As I always say, no one has ever complained that a presentation was too short. (Remember that at work as well. You’re welcome.)

4. Focus on the couple

While it might be tempting to share long tales from your history with the bride or groom, it’s not about you. Remember that the focus should be on the couple. Highlight their relationship, their journey together and what makes them a perfect match. 

Share stories that illustrate their love, commitment and unique qualities. For example, you could say, "I remember when [Bride] and [Groom] first met. It was clear from the start that they had something special – the way they looked at each other, the way they laughed together."

5. Add a touch of humor

A little humor goes a long way in a wedding toast. Light-hearted jokes and funny anecdotes can help ease any nervousness and make your talk enjoyable. 

Just make sure your humor is appropriate and in good taste. Avoid any jokes that could be seen as offensive, embarrassing or hurtful. A good rule of thumb is to keep it clean and respectful.

6. Practice, practice, practice

Once you've written your toast, practice it several times. This will help you feel more confident and ensure you know your lines well. It’s often helpful to rehearse in front of a friend or family member and ask for feedback on the content and delivery. 

I recommend that you video or audio record yourself with your phone as you practice so you can watch or listen and adapt as needed.

Pay attention to your pacing, tone and body language. Practicing will also help you gauge the timing of your toast to make sure it’s neither too short nor too long.

7. End with your toast

Conclude your talk by inviting everyone to raise their glasses. This signals the end of your toast and encourages the audience to participate in celebrating the couple. 

You might say something like, "To [Bride] and [Groom], may your love continue to grow and your lives be filled with love and happiness. Cheers!"

Giving a wedding toast is a chance to celebrate love and share in the joy of a couple's special day. With these tips, you'll be able to craft a toast that is heartfelt, engaging and memorable. 

So take a deep breath, raise your glass, and give a toast that the newlyweds and their guests will cherish for years to come.

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John Millen

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