Serious, humorous, or poignant, toasts are an integral part of almost every wedding celebration. Every toast is different, and on such a special occasion, many will be eager to share their sentiments. You’re not alone of you fear public speaking, but at your best friend’s wedding, you’re bound to want to say a few words in her (or his) honor. If you’re truly prepared to speak in front of people, you’ll find it’s much easier to let the words flow.

Here are some tips to help you get ready:

  • The best toasts are those that are heartfelt. So start by pouring your heart out. List everything you want people to know about your friends. (Remember to talk about both the bride and the groom in your toast.)
  • Start with the best qualities. Include memories of good times together — especially the first time they spoke of their beloved. Scribble some thoughts about what makes them a great couple and your wish for their future.
  • You have two audiences. One is the ride and groom, and you can make them happy by not saying anything that would cause embarrassment. Your other audience is the assembly of friends and family. Stories of drunken revels and ad relationships may be appropriate at the bachelor(ette) party, but not at the wedding reception.
  • A toast is a speech. It should have a beginning, a middle, and an end, and make sense throughout. When you stand up to speak, it’s best to have a single card with few notes written down to help you remember the key points. Rehearse before the big day.
  • Many wedding toasters aim for lyricism in song or rhyming poetry. That’s a great idea, if it’s you. But a direct, from-the-heart talk workswell also. Be sincere and be yourself.
  • One of the classic rules of public speaking is to open with a joke. One of the classic rules of wedding toasting is to end by tugging on the heartstrings. If you can’t be sentimental at a wedding, where can you be? On the other hand, while a couple of well-placed jokes can win the crowd, you’re not there to do a stand-up routine.
  • A toast should last no longer than three minutes, which translates to no more than five double-spaced pages. Rehearse your toasts with a stopwatch. If it’s five minutes or under, don’t worry, since under the glare of the spotlight, you may speak faster.
  • At the Rehearsal Dinner, the first toast is made by the dinner’s host, usually the groom’s father, during the main course. The toast is often met by a “return toast” from the bride’s father. Then it is open season — the mothers of the bride and groom, the best man and maid/matron of honor, other wedding attendants, family, and close friends.
  • The Groom’s Toast: Keep it short. Be sincere. Thank everyone for coming, including your parents and hers.share a brief personal (not too personal) story of experiences shared with your bride, but don’t tell embarrassing stories or go on and on. Turn to your bride and look her in the eye, tell her how proud you are to be her husband, how happy you are today, and how much you love her!

Information from the Tuscaloosa Bridal Directory

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