How to Give the Perfect Wedding Toast

When it comes to public speaking there are typically two schools of thought; either we don’t mind it or the thought of speaking in front of others is what fuels our nightmares. Traditionally the father of the bride and groom would give a toast at the reception, but with wedding traditions evolving over the years, giving a toast is fair game to all. If you have been bestowed the honor of giving a toast at an upcoming nuptial, no need to panic. By following our no-fail guide, you will confidently be able to give a toast worth bragging about.

Plan Accordingly.

When giving speeches in any capacity, it is always suggested to plan ahead and skip the “wing it” mentality. Give yourself plenty of time to collect your thoughts, write down what you would like to convey, and practice as much as possible. Allowing ample time to practice will help build confidence and erase any pre-speech jitters that might be lingering. Practicing will also ensure that should you forget your beloved notecard at home, you will still have enough memorized to make it through the entirety of your toast without bumbling along.

Speak Appropriately.

Prior to standing up and regurgitating a tacky story about you and the bride from your college days, it is advised to find out who will be in your audience. Typically, older family members will be in attendance which warrants a touch of conservatism in terms of the topics that you include in your speech. If you are not sure who the guest list will consist of, always air on the side of caution and use the “would I say this in front of my grandparents?” rule of thumb.

Remain Optimistic.

Wedding toasts are not the time to air any dirty laundry between you and the newly wedded couple. Despite any bumps in the road that might have taken place between you and the bride and groom, using your toast as a platform to discuss these hurdles (despite a positive outcome) is not appropriate. Use this time to highlight positive memories and optimism for a future full of love and happiness.

Hold Off.

Despite the fact that several glasses of wine might seem like an easy way to chase off any pre-speech jitters, there is nothing more cringeworthy than listening to a drunken toast. Refrain from drinking until after your speech to ensure that your words are not slurred, your posture is not wobbly, and your overall demeanor is not sloppy. With social media being such an easily accessible option for your audience, nothing would be worse than waking up the next morning to find yourself tagged in multiple videos highlighting the fact that you enjoyed one too many of the couple’s signature cocktail.

Be You.

If profanity is a part of your daily vocabulary, making slight adjustments to your natural vocabulary is recommended prior to standing in front of others to make a toast. While you do not want to sound like someone else, you do want to make sure that what is being said is appropriate for all. Don’t spend time thumbing through a thesaurus in order to swap-out your own words in order to come across differently. There is a reason why you were asked to give a toast; there is history, trust, and admiration between you and changing that would be a disservice to your relationship.

Remain Respectful.

While you and the happy couple might love reliving stories from your childhood, be mindful of the audience and the fact that all that stands between them and their meal is the conclusion of your toast. Aim for under five minutes as the attention span of those who are hungry and wanting to eat is limited.

The Basics.

If you are unsure how to format a toast, try to include a beginning, middle, and an end to keep your thoughts organized. Many will begin by introducing themselves and explaining their relation to the bride and groom. Being mindful and thanking the couple and their families for including you into their Big Day is always appreciated. After including a story, a memory, or even a quote that relates to the couple, conclude by turning to the audience and requesting they join you in raising their glasses to toast the newlyweds. Throughout the duration of your toast, make sure and stand tall, smile, and establish eye contact as your confidence will visually radiate through your body language.


Written by Lauren Beers