couple raising glasses to wedding toast

Photo: Michael Stephens Photography

Congrats! You’ve been asked to give a speech at a wedding in the near future. It may seem nerve-wracking to get up in front of all those family members and friends, but there’s no need to feel that way.

We’ve got some tips and tricks to help you give the best wedding toast guests are sure to rave about long after the party’s over.

Wedding Toast Tips:

Introduce yourself
There’s bound to be guests there that don’t know who you are. If you’ve only met their fiancé(e) a handful of times, chances are you won’t recognize a lot of their friends and family members. Before you begin your speech, introduce yourself! Tell people in a few words how you know the bride or groom so they have a better understanding of your relationship to the newlyweds.

Tell a story
Throw it back to your days in school by telling an old story about the bride or groom. Do you have a memory of the two of you discussing the qualities you wanted in your future spouse on the playground when you were 12? If they’re someone you met later on in life, can you recall what they told you after their first date, or talk about what they were like before their spouse came along? Try to brainstorm with others for some good stories you can share.

Make a joke (or two)
While this shouldn’t turn into a Comedy Central special, it’s definitely okay to crack a few jokes. Perhaps, they had a funny first impression of their significant other (that won’t cause hurt feelings), or maybe they had a bad habit they were forced to break once they’d found the one. We recommend sprinkling in only a handful of jokes throughout your speech, versus making it chock-full of embarrassing events. Remember, grandma’s probably in attendance!

Be sentimental
The most important part of the speech is letting the bride or groom know how much they mean to you, and how happy you are to see them find the person they want to spend their life with. Give an overview of the relationship you have with that person and let them know how much they’ve influenced your life. If there’s ever a time to be sappy, the wedding toast is definitely it.

Address the couple
With that being said, make sure you’re not giving the speech solely to one person. This day is about both of them, and while you may be closer to one person versus the other, do your best to include both of them. Reach out to their spouse’s friends for some insight if needed, or make note of all the wonderful ways your friend’s S.O. has had a positive influence on them. Talk about his or her first impression, or what they said right after their first date. Memories like that are what the newlyweds will be happy to hear.

Keep it short and sweet
Remember, this isn’t a one-man show. There are likely multiple people making speeches; therefore, we recommend keeping your toast between 2-3 minutes. Find out how many other people are speaking and the adjust your time accordingly. It’s better to err on the shorter side, as people are probably eager to get to the dance floor!

Don’t panic
There’s no need to freak out if you’re asked to make a speech! It’s an honor to toast to a close friend or family member, and it doesn’t require the same prep work as those graded speeches you made in school. Write out your thoughts on note cards and practice in the mirror before you stand up in front of everyone. As long as you take a deep breath and speak from the heart, you’ll totally nail it.