Certainly, it’s an honor to be asked to deliver a wedding toast.
The occasion is special. Thirty people will probably whip our their phones to record what you say. Best not to take this lightly. You don’t want to come off like a buffoon for eternity, right?
Here are 5 cool ideas for giving a wedding toast.
1. Beat the nerves by focusing on friends in the room. Avoiding nervousness is really about distracting yourself from your own emotions. Giving attention to others makes it harder to think about yourself. By the way, the toast is not about you, either. Use a fork to clink your glass and pause. Then smile as you begin the toast.
2. Don’t try to be funny. A speech that lives or dies on a punchline is too risky and may be perceived as flip or even disrespectful. Clever is almost always better than funny when giving a toast.
3. Write out the speech so it has a beginning, a middle, and an end. We’re only talking about 250 words, but writing it out will force you to be cogent. The best kind of writing is rewriting. Compliment both the bride and groom, but give a bit of extra positive attention to the individual you know the least.
4. Provide context. Tell the audience how you know the bride and groom or why you were asked to give a toast.
5. If you can’t think of an original ending, quote a famous person. This will give you credibility and a strong finish. “I believe it was George Sand, who said, ‘There is only one happiness in life–to love and be loved.’ Congratulations, John and Jane!” (Smile and raise your glass.)