Writing The Wedding Toast

On Sunday, my sister is getting hitched. Lizz is the exact opposite of a bridezilla, but because she’s a professional event planner, she sent me an amazingly precise document laying out exactly what time everything will be going down on the big day. So I know that at exactly 3:45 p.m., it’s time for me to give a toast.

I’m very excited about giving the toast. Public speaking doesn’t phase me much, and I kind of like the rush that comes with lots of people staring at you, hanging on to your every word. I want my toast to be semi-brilliant. I want people to laugh, I want people to cry. The thing is—I’m not exactly sure what to say. I have lots of ideas swirling about, I just haven’t settled on the right one. And so, I consulted Tom Haibeck, who wrote the book Wedding Toasts Made Easy. Here are his five tips for creating the perfect toast.

  1. Personalize, Personalize, Personalize Tom says that what the guests really want to hear is back story—an anecdote about growing up with the groom, or about what the bride said to you after their first date, etc. Just make sure to keep it rated G and appropriate for all people in the venue, including those with the word “grand” in their title.
  2. Don’t Write A Script If you write your speech word-for-word, you’re going to sound like a emotionless robot, rather than someone who loves the couple. Instead, write down a few notes for yourself, so you know where you’re going, but can let the words flow more casually.
  3. Keep It Short Three to five minutes is ideal, says Tom.
  4. Close With Class Yes, wedding toasts can be funny. They can poke fun at the bride or groom, or, ideally, both. But this is a toast after all, so make sure to bring it back to an earnest place in the end. Something that will work with the phrase, “Please raise your glasses…”
  5. Don’t Procrastinate According to Tim, the biggest mistake people make is waiting until the last minute to figure out what they’re going to say. He recommends giving yourself a couple of weeks. Oops.

Now that I think about it, I think I know what I want to say. But since I don’t want to spoil the surprise, I hope you’ll forgive me for ending here.

Need more wedding-related advice? Check out our Wedding Survival Guide!