Wedding days are typically steeped in tradition. Whether it’s the hours before the wedding or the bride’s attire or the first dance, it seems no aspect of a couple’s big day isn’t accompanied by some ages-old tradition.
One of the more enjoyable wedding day traditions is the toast. Once the reception has begun, the maid of honor and the best man are trusted to toast the new bride and groom. Such toasts are typically heartfelt and humorous, but there are also a few guidelines to follow to ensure the toast is memorable for all the right reasons.
Stand up! Stand up when delivering a wedding toast. Sitting down won’t command the guests’ attention, and your voice likely won’t carry as well if you’re sitting down.
Don’t go too long. A good wedding toast shouldn’t stretch beyond five minutes. Long-winded toasts could come off as rambling and incoherent, and the guests will likely tune out if the toast goes longer than five minutes.
Introduce yourself. Just because you’re a maid of honor or a best man doesn’t mean all of the guests know your relationship with the bride or groom. Make it brief, but provide an explanation of your relationship.
Keep the toast appropriate. Many adults who have been to a wedding or two in their day have a story about a wedding toast gone awry. While these stories are humorous, no best man or maid of honor wants to have similar stories told about his or her toasts. Make the toast appropriate, keeping in mind there might be some younger guests in attendance. In addition, avoid references to past relationships. Such references are awkward and uncomfortable.
Don’t make it an “inside” joke. Maids of honor or best men are typically close friends or siblings of the bride and groom. Such a close relationship makes it easy to tell an inside joke only a few guests will understand. Avoid such inside jokes, as one of the goals of the toast should be to illustrate your love and appreciation of the bride or groom in a way all guests can understand.
Make it personal. A personal anecdote is a nice touch. Such anecdotes can be about anything, whether it’s the first time you met your friend’s now-spouse or, if you’re not related to the bride or groom, how you met.
Steer clear of the bar before the toast. Many a well-intentioned wedding toast has gone horribly wrong thanks to alcohol. Maids of honor and best men should abstain from alcohol before their toasts to avoid embarrassing themselves and the bride and groom. If you’re especially nervous, maybe a drink can help calm your nerves. But if you’re going to drink before the toast, be sure to drink only in moderation.
Practice beforehand. Very few people can survive “winging” a wedding toast. Practice the toast beforehand so you’re comfortable with what you’re going to say before the moment arrives.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Weddings are typically laid back and fun affairs, so don’t stress about giving the perfect toast. If the toast comes off as genuine and stays appropriate, it’s a good toast.