How to Get Your Wedding Toast in Tip Top Shape

Toasts are an important part of a wedding. In a way, they set the tone for the event, so delivery of a toast is paramount. Many of us fear public speaking -- that look-at-me moment can be nerve-racking. Whether you’re planning to toast guests or want to get your toast-givers up to par, there are guidelines to giving a cheerful cheers. These wedding toast tips will put you on top and your toast will be the talk of the town, in a good way.


  1. 1
    Do your homework. Know your audience. Who are they? What do they find touching or funny or inappropriate? Determine the duration of time allotted for your toast. Generally, two minutes is an appropriate length of time, but stick to what the bride and groom have suggested. If a microphone is in the plan do sound checks before attendees arrive at the venue. All in all, know your assignment and deliver it timely and well.
  2. 2
    Craft a fitting speech. Match the tone to the event, and then plan your message or theme. Jokes may be well-received at a bachelor party or bridal shower but not at the rehearsal or wedding dinner. You could joke that Molly and Paul met somewhat unconventionally, but not that Molly cyber-stalked him for a year. Always keep your goal in mind and how you would like your words to be remembered. Use your own words and speak from the heart to make it meaningful. Remember, the focus is the couple, not you. Be complimentary, sincere and mature. The point of a toast is to say something nice.
  3. 3
    Practice makes perfect. Practice your toast several times. Rehearse it in front of a mirror. Ask your roommate to listen and give feedback. Aim to repeat your toast without notes. If you can, go to the event site and practice your toast, so you feel comfortable in the environment.
  4. 4
    Attract audience attention. Either click glasses (being careful not to cause breakage) or even more effective: stand up and use eye contact to quiet your audience and get their attention. Create a presence where everyone can see you.
  5. 5
    Hold yourself confidently. Remain standing, smile, maintain excellent posture, keep your body open (i.e. no crossed arms and feet just less than shoulder width apart) and hold a glass containing an appropriate beverage in one hand.
  6. 6
    Connect with your audience. As you begin to deliver your toast look at the couple and then look across the audience, making eye contact with a few people throughout the crowd. This gives the appearance of addressing the entire crowd. As you mention names, like that of the bride and groom, look at them to make it feel warmer.
  7. 7
    Be crystal clear. Speak slowly and deliberately so that you are easily understood. Use short silences to calm your nerves in the middle of your toast. Calculated pauses contribute to a joke or touching moment, so don’t be afraid of a brief silence.
  8. 8
    Close with class. Lift your glass and ask everyone to join you in toasting the couple at the end of your speech. An appropriate final phrase might be, “Cheers to the wonderful couple” or “Here’s to the journey.” Then, sip, don’t chug, from your glass.

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Categories: Speaking | Weddings