You've just been asked to be the Maid of Honor or the Best Man at an upcoming wedding. First you feel flattered - they like you, they really really like you! - but then there's the sense of dread. With great power comes great responsibility - you have to give a speech. Don't worry, I've got you covered. Here are 5 tips on how to write a wedding toast.
1. Do NOT - under any circumstances - use "Webster's Dictionary Defines..."
Annie Edison from the show "Community" put it best: "Webster's Dictionary Defines"? That's the Jim Belushi of speech openings. It accomplishes nothing, but everyone keeps using it and nobody knows why." Instead, open your speech with a thank you to the people who planned the wedding. Once you start naming names, it's a good segue into talking about that person.
2. Keep it between 2 to 5 minutes
The couple asked you to give a speech because they care about you and want to hear from you. Giving a short "Love you guys, let's toast!" is a little disrespectful. It shows that you didn't put any thought into the speech. What happens much more often, however, is someone uses their speech as their 15-minutes of Fame. There are typically 3 to 5 speeches at a wedding. If each speech is 15 minutes long, then we're looking at an hour just for toasts. Keep your speech short, but thoughtful.
3. This is a Social Gathering, so Keep it Socially Acceptable
Weddings are time when families come together. That means moms, dads, grandparents, little nieces and nephews - you know, all the people you should be polite around. You should keep things light and fun. Something such as, "The groom and I share everything! Even some women," is not okay for a best man speech (and yes, I've heard that one before). If you wouldn't say it to your Grandmother, then don't say it in a wedding toast.
4. It's Okay to get Emotional
Weddings are very emotional. Heck, even my Godfather - who on first meeting my husband threatened to break his legs if he ever hurt me - cried at my wedding. So feel free to put the gushy stuff in your speech. But if you're not the sentimental type, don't force it. Add some (appropriate) jokes or a fun memory about the couple to keep it personal.
5. Write down your speech on note cards or a piece of paper
First off, write down your speech. You don't need it word-for-word, but at least have an outline written. And do not - I'm serious here - do NOT write it on your phone. Reading a speech off your phone is hard (small screen, bright phone in a dark room, you accidentally scroll too fast and then you lose your place), plus it looks like you wrote it last minute. Write out your speech on either index cards or print it out on a piece of paper. Write/type in large print and be sure to space it out evenly. And believe me, you need something written. Even the best of us get a little lost when you stand in front of crowd with all eyes staring at you. Having something written down is like a safety net.
Remember: Just Be Thoughtful
Do a little reverse engineering: what would you want the couple to say about you? Think of a time that the couple helped you out, or when you first met, or a moment that really showed their character. Something short and sweet is always appreciated. Don't worry, if you talk from the heart you'll do fine.
PS: I hope you've enjoyed this week's Gif Theme. Six seasons and a movie.