Some people love the first dance, some love the vows, and some just wait for the bouquet toss. But no one can deny that one of the best parts of any wedding reception are the toasts and speeches made by the loved ones of the bride and groom!
If you've ever been asked to make a speech, you'll know the pressure to deliver something that is just the right amount of funny, genuine, and compassionate. Don't panic! With the help of JP Reynolds, a corporate communications trainer and wedding officiant, we're here to help you leave a lasting impression with your wedding toast!
If the thought of writing a toast is giving you anxiety, it's best not to leave it until the night before. Start jotting down notes early, and it will be easier to craft into a speech that you're proud of. If you're stuck on how to begin, JP advises recalling the moment when you looked at the couple and realized, "This is real!" What makes them 'work' as a couple? That should provide some insight for you to get the ball rolling!
And if you're one of the few who feels they can just speak from the heart int heat of the moment, JP advises otherwise. "Few, very few people, are capable of speaking intelligently from the heart 'in the moment'. You MUST have your toast/speech written out. You may know it so well that you won't have to read it, but you must have written down (and edited) what you want to say," explains JP.
With any form of public speaking, the more you practice, the easier it will feel. Many people have anxiety around public speaking, but JP reminds us that the toast is one's 'gift' to the couple, and it's not about you! Try to get out of your own head by keeping in mind most people are simply relieved it's you making the speech and not them. To help calm your nerves when giving the toast, JP recommends to "be sure to stand near the couple and look at them – let their smiling faces steady your nerves."
If a couple has asked you to make a speech on very short notice, this shouldn't deter you from doing so! Less is more, so just think about the best story or memory that expresses the reasons you love the bride and groom! JP says to keep it simple, "Tell them the memory, and then wish them a lifetime of more memories like the one you have of them."
Tips & Tricks
JP offers his wedding clients two main pieces of advice:
Toasts are tricky, because chances are, you know one of the people better or longer than the other. However, you are toasting the couple and not just your friend. Speak to how 'your' person was transformed in some way after meeting their partner – thank the partner for what they've given to 'your' person.
When you've come to the end of your toast be sure to turn to the guests and invite them to raise their glasses and join you in toasting the couple. Then turn to the couple, raise your glass and actually give the toast, for example, 'To a lifetime of health, happiness and joy!' You want your toast to have this kind of rousing ending!
Stick to these guidelines and your toast will be sure to leave an impression, and the bride and groom will have it as a fond memory to cherish for years to come!
Style Me Pretty Contributor - Goli Parvinian is a bridal enthusiast and masters student living in Melbourne, Australia. Over the past few years, she has worked for bridal brands in her hometown of Chicago, New Zealand and New York City. You can typically find her in a cafe, face-timing her nieces or out on a long run.