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  • Holly Blum, The Word Whisperer

8 Steps To A Perfect Wedding Toast

Giving a wedding toast that hits all the right notes and leaves nobody cringing (especially the bride and groom!) is the ultimate goal for every speech giver. Whether you’re the father of the bride, best man or maid of honor, delivering a speech that wows should be priority number one. But is this easier said than done?

The wedding toast is one area where couples (and their event planners) lack control, leaving brides and grooms feeling anxious about what might be shared. Put their mind at ease by following these 8 steps to writing and delivering the perfect wedding toast.

1. Start writing early. Many people have a tendency wait until the last minute to write their wedding toasts. Even if you consider yourself to be a gifted writer, leave yourself plenty of time to draft and edit. Two to three weeks before the celebration is a good starting point. Make sure that you build in extra time to practice your speech aloud, preferably in front of a few trusted friends, to make sure that it flows well.

2. Stick to the time limit. Many weddings will have multiple speakers, so keeping speeches to three to five minutes is key. Anything longer and you will lose people’s attention. Say what you want to say and gracefully let everyone return to the party.

3. Stay away from inside jokes. When you’re deciding what stories and memories to include in your speech, don’t be tempted to include a litany of inside jokes. Although the bride or groom may appreciate them, the rest of the guests aren’t likely to connect with the material. Instead, pick anecdotes that will resonate with everyone in the room, regardless of age, gender or length of relationship with the bride and groom.

4. Write like you talk. Wedding speeches should sound like a polished conversation, not a formal presentation. The trick is to write your speech like you talk. Don’t be afraid to use contractions and even slang (as long as it’s tasteful). Keep sentences short, just like you would when you’re having a regular conversation. At the same time, stick to your script. Too much ad-libbing can mess up your rhythm and send you off track.

5. Keep your tone balanced. The toasts that are most often remembered (for the right reasons) are those that come from the heart, with some humor infused. Funny stories, jokes and laughter certainly help loosen the crowd and make you feel more at ease. Just make sure that you balance the laughs with healthy and heartfelt sentiment to communicate how you feel about the happy couple.

6. Stay true to yourself. Above all, your speech should reflect who you are as a person. If you’re funny or witty, make sure that your speech is too. If you’re a person of few words, make your speech short and to the point. At the end of the day, your speech should reflect your authentic personality, not who you think people expect you to be.

7. Say no to booze beforehand. If you think a drink or two will help you loosen up before you have to take the microphone, you’re mistaken. Chances that alcohol will make it even more challenging. Think about how many times you’ve heard people deliver sloppy, drunken speeches and how unhappy the bride and groom have been as a result. Once you’re done with your speech is a perfect time to have a glass of celebratory champagne. Consider it a reward for a job well done.

8. Hire a ghostwriter. If after reading these tips you still don’t feel confident that you can write and deliver a winning speech, consider hiring a professional speechwriter. Sometimes, having someone to guide you through the process is necessary to keep anxiety at bay and deliver on your promise to the bride and groom that you’ll come through with a killer speech. If celebrities and politicians can have a speechwriter on their side, there’s no reason why you can’t too.

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