A POST ABOUT A TOAST PT 2
Practice your speech on someone else, preferably even a few others before the big day. It will help work out the kinks ahead of time. What might be hilarious and endlessly entertaining stories to you, may not be to those who weren’t there to experience it, and you just might put your audience to sleep with them (I’ve actually seen this happen). A practice run on someone else can prevent this.
Write it down. When I see someone stand up to give a toast and they don’t have anything written down, a little panic stirs inside of me, and it’s usually justified in the minutes that follow. People appreciate preparation. Nobody is impressed by your ability to freestyle a speech. There are the few rare exceptions to this rule, some folks are just good speakers, they speak clearly and get to the point without taking detours or getting lost on the way. But those of you who are truly blessed with this ability certainly know who you are, and most of you who aren’t still seem to think you are for some reason. Just play it safe and write it down.
Humor is good, but know where to draw the line. If the whole toast is shtick, then the crowd is going to think all you have is shtick, and you’re not capable of coming up with genuine, positive, well wishes, which is what the toast is all about.
I would assume that last statement is obvious, but I’m learning the hard way that the simplest concepts aren’t so obvious anymore. Having said that, I must state the most obvious thing of all;
THIS DAY IS ABOUT THE BRIDE AND GROOM!!!
This seems to be so easily and often forgotten by the guests at weddings. I can’t keep track of the number of times I want to say to people at every wedding “this is not your day, it’s theirs, and they planned it this way”. But there’s too much to write on that subject alone, so I’ll save it for another, or many other blog posts.
And a note to any couple planning a wedding, I’ve never seen an “open toast” situation go well. Ever. The number of things that can go horribly wrong are never considered ahead of time. But they happen, and you don’t realize it until it’s too late, and nothing can be done about it. Either appoint a few special people to say something, or let your guests know ahead of time that there will be no open toasts so anyone who would like to say something should submit their request to do so well in advance. If you have a website for your wedding, this is a perfect place to let this be known. You assume that all of your guests have the best intentions, and your best interest in mind, but once the train starts rolling and the alcohol starts flowing, that train can derail pretty quickly if the tracks aren’t laid properly.
I tried to look for video samples but found no good ones. If you know of any, please leave them in comments.
Note: the most common denominator I’ve found in all toasting tips is to toast sober. One drink is good to calm nerves, but more than that could get you in trouble.
Good luck! Now go forth, and toast right!