Plan - Take time at least a few days before the wedding to think about what you are going to say. You may find it helpful to write your speech out in its entirety, but when you deliver it at the reception try not to read it word-for-word. Instead of a complete script, we recommend making a few notes (an outline or key words) on an index card. You can lay the note card on the table and glance at it as needed to make sure you’re on the right track, and it will sound much more natural. This method allows you to make eye contact with the bride and/or groom, as well as the audience, instead of just looking at a piece of paper for the entire speech.
Content - What you choose to say is up to you, but here are some things that may help get you started:
- Start with a brief introduction, making sure to identify your relationship with the bride and groom.
- Determine whether you are going to give a more touching speech or a more humorous one. Keep this tone in mind as you write your speech.
- Describe the bride or groom before they met their new spouse, and then how you’ve seen that person change after they met.
- A quote, story of how the bride and groom first met, or a fond memory of you with one or both of them may also be nice to include.
- Keep your content PG-rated—there may be children or elderly guests present.
- Avoid making the bride or groom look bad or mentioning anything that might be embarrassing.
- Keep your speech light-hearted. Guests want to be entertained—not taught a life lesson.
- Don’t forget to raise your glass! Often, less experienced toasters get so caught up in the story aspect they trail off and pass the microphone without ever raising their glasses to salute the bride and groom. Decide how you’re going to finish your toast ahead of time—a special wish, recited traditional toast, or blessing of the bride and groom all work well. Raise your glass with a resounding congratulations or cheers, and don't forget to clink glasses and drink to your own toast!
Delivery - Make sure that everyone can see and hear you as you make your awesome speech.
- Stand with good posture and hold the microphone at your chin to make sure it picks up your voice so all guests can hear you.
- Your speech does not have to be long—no longer than three to five minutes or people start to get antsy.
- Engage your audience by looking out across the room and also at the bride and groom—glance down at your notes only when you need to.
- If you know you are likely to get emotional during your speech, be prepared with kleenex or a hankerchief.
- Remember to enjoy the moment and have fun!