The vows are said, the guests are seated and the champagne is poured.
It’s time for that most honored (and often feared) tradition—the wedding toast.
And if you’re the one tapped to do the honors, it can feel a little daunting. From the competitive toasting in the film Bridesmaids to Michael Scott’s inappropriate “tribute” in The Office, pop culture is filled with examples of terrible toasting.
But don’t panic. All you have to do is keep your toast heartfelt and sincere, says Angela Ensminger, coauthor of On a Personal Note: A Guide to Writing Notes With Style.
“Use real-life language, real-life scenarios, emotions and humor. Don’t worry that you’ll have to be the next Shakespeare. Just be yourself.”
Hallmark writer and editor, Matt Gowen, was moved to tears by the way his brother wrapped things up: “May I see you gray and combing your grandchildren’s hair.” This variation of an Irish blessing touched the hearts of the bride and groom, as well as every guest.
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- Keep your toast short—3-5 minutes.
- If you’re the bride’s friend, be sure to include the groom (and vice versa).
- Call out the couple’s “made for each other” compatibility.
- Avoid any mention of past flings, sweethearts or spouses.
- Express your hopes for the couple’s future.
- Make it personal. Show them you know them.
- Research. The Internet is the toasting rookie’s best friend. Twitter, YouTube and Google searches yield great examples of both successful and disastrous toasts to help you prepare.
- Restraint. Remember that this day belongs to the happy couple and not to you. So while your remarks can be eloquent and memorable, they shouldn’t detract attention from the bride and groom.
- Respect. Chances are, if you’ve been asked to toast the event, you know the couple well. Try to tailor your remarks to their tastes and temperaments.