Proposing a toast or making a speech at a wedding can be a nerve-racking experience. Even if, in your head, you have a million things to say about the bride and groom, it’s difficult to translate those thoughts into a coherent and entertaining expression of your well-wishes to the couple. Not sure how to proceed? Here are some tips on making a wedding toast or speech that the couple will always remember.
Write It Down
Not all of us have been blessed with the skill of improvisation. If the thought of winging it fills you with dread, write down what you’re going to say. That doesn’t mean you need to mechanically read every word off of the page, which could make you sound just a tad insincere, but having a rough outline of your speaking points can provide you with the confidence to say how you feel, and mean it, too.
Focus on the Positive
You know the couple well. That’s why they asked you to speak at their wedding. Keep your comments loving, supportive, and hopeful about the future. Most importantly, don’t mention anything about the couple’s former partners. This is their special day, and nobody will appreciate a tactless airing of their past dirty (and private) laundry. Tell a funny story, but avoid embarrassing either the bride or groom. Be honest about how you feel, but remember that the couple’s entire family is present, so keep it clean. Don’t forget that your mother’s oft-repeated rule “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” still applies at the wedding venue.
Stay Sober Until After
Stick to non-alcoholic beverages until you’ve finished your speech or toast. When you’re intoxicated, your ability to make good judgment calls suffers greatly, bettering your chances of saying something you, and everyone else, will regret. Better to keep your wits about to avoid any awkward situations. Furthermore, you might find yourself a little more emotional than usual after a tipple or two. Sobbing uncontrollably during your speech is a definite wedding faux pas.
Practice, Then Practice Some More
Give your speech in front of a mirror, or, better yet, a friend or willing audience member. Ask for their feedback, and be open to tweaking your speech or toast in order to be more audience-friendly. The more you practice, the more natural your speech will be, and the more relaxed you will become while speaking it. You’ll probably still get nervous, but don’t worry. Your well-rehearsed and positive speech will assure the bride and groom that they made the right choice by picking you to speak on their wedding day.