How To Win Over The Crowd With Your Wedding Toast
Updated: Jan 29, 2020
As soon as the master of ceremonies says it’s toast time, there’s usually a brief lull as guests prepare themselves for what’s to come. Will it be a tearjerker? A joke fest? Something in between? Will the best man say anything inappropriate? Will the maid of honor be drunk? These are the things most guests silently wonder in the moments leading up to the toasts. So if you find yourself walking up to the microphone to deliver a wedding toast, make sure you’re bringing your ‘A’ game, not just for the happy couple, but also for the crowd. Yes, all eyes will be on you as you deliver your speech, but if you keep these tips in mind, you may just win everyone over.
Take time to think carefully about your relationship with the bride or groom and its significance. What have you learned from this person and what have they learned from you? Determine whether there are any common threads between your answers and use that common grown to build the foundation of your speech. This will help make sure the speech flows well from beginning to end instead of sounding like a stream of consciousness.
Don’t forget the couple’s heritage or background. Including a cultural blessing or phrase can be a nice touch. Give a nod to how the couple met as well. If there’s an interesting story attached to it, this is an easy way to provide color and context around their relationship.
Acknowledge those who can’t be there.
If someone important to the couple cannot attend in person, consider including their well wishes in your speech or even sharing it on a short video. The crowd will appreciate your thoughtfulness in paying this kind of tribute.
Play to the crowd.
While it’s tempting to make the speech about your relationship with the bride or groom, remember that if you make it too personal the crowd can feel alienated. The trick is to share stories with more universal themes that resonate with the majority. When you’re done writing the speech, count how many times you say “I” and try to reduce it significantly. Wedding guests want to hear about the couple, but not really about you.
Speak from the heart.
Whether your speech is written artfully or more casually, you can’t go wrong speaking from the heart. Don’t agonize over word selection or transitional phrases. Instead, pick two or three stories or memories and use them to express yourself honestly. When it comes from the heart, your words will come across as much more heartfelt and genuine.
Delivering a winning wedding toast isn’t always easy, but ample thought and preparation can make a huge difference in gaining the crowd’s attention—and keeping it. If you get stuck, don’t hesitate to reach out for guidance.