It wasn’t that long ago that I sat down to write my maid of honour toast for my dear sister’s wedding. Sitting there, looking at a blank notepad, I felt the pressure to not only deliver a hilarious or heart-wrenchingly emotional wedding speech but to also paint a true picture of our relationship from past to present. Where to start!?
Often the hardest part of writing your wedding toast is knowing where to start. Here are some of my top tips to help you ease those nerves and deliver a memorable speech.
Spend some time researching and reading articles to give you encouragement and inspiration and set you on the right path to writing a meaningful toast. Below are a few links to some of our favourite international wedding websites and their articles regarding wedding toast advice and inspiration.
The Knot www.theknot.com
Wedding Ideas Magazine www.weddingideasmag.com
Wedding Wire www.weddingwire.com
Keep it Short and Sweet
Think quality, not quantity.
Your speech should ideally be about 2-4 minutes in length. Many wedding guests would consider 5 minutes to be a very long speech. Spending extra time conveying your undeniable passion for the couple’s marriage, the anecdotes, explanations and inside jokes have a risk of weighing down the sentiment of the moment. Remember, your contribution is a small part of a larger ceremony.
If you’re ever in doubt about timing, reach out to the couple and get their input.
If you’re funny, be funny. Being authentic is your greatest asset for delivering a successful toast.
Copying or using examples from a wedding toast found online, although great for inspiration, will distract from you being able to present a heartfelt reflection of your unique relationship with the couple. You don’t have to be cliché or fill your speech with anecdotes to be wonderful and meaningful. Ultimately, your speech should be undeniably you, so follow your instincts and your personality to compose a speech that’s right for you and your relationship with the couple.
Tell a Story
Make it personal.
Taking into consideration your audience, tell some funny details or stories about the bride, groom or couple. How they first met, humorous characteristics about their personalities or a brief reference to their childhood. Bear in mind, a wedding reception is not the place for inappropriate or embarrassing stories or foul language.
Preparation is key to delivering a successful toast and I highly recommend that you start the writing process about 3-4 weeks before the actual wedding day.
Writing out a full speech is not necessary but having a few notes at hand with at least a few bullet points will mean that you’re less likely to be overcome with nerves in the all-important moment. In saying that, there is also no shame in writing out the toast exactly as you would say it and then practicing the delivery until you’re comfortable that it flows naturally and unrehearsed.
To those brave enough to give a toast, be honoured and have fun! Giving a speech about someone you love is like giving them a present you know they’ll cherish. Remember, this toast is a celebration, not a punishment so take a deep breath and have fun writing and delivering it.