As a Los Angeles wedding photographer I’ve heard my share of wedding toasts. It always amazes me how people with no public speaking experience can get up in front of a large crowd of wedding guests and say the most beautiful sentiments. How do they do it? Did they take public speaking 101 before the wedding or do they just have the gift of gab?
My quest for the answer led me to a blog interview with Sharon Naylor, author of the book, Your Special Wedding Toasts, who said, “The first and most common pitfall of a wedding toast is not being yourself. Toast-givers go in one of two ways –- either they get too formal and quote iconic poets, sounding pompous to those who don’t know them, or they get too loose and try too hard to be funny to the crowd, which is equally unimpressive. It’s important to sound like yourself, use your natural sense of humor, don’t feel like you have to open with a joke.”
Another expert on the subject, Wendy Paris, author of Words for the Wedding: Creative Ideas for Choosing and Using Hundreds of Quotations to Personalize Your Vows, Toasts, Invitations and More, adds that “really popular wedding toasts tend to be either funny or really heartfelt, and I think it’s good to figure out either how you feel in the situation or which is your strength.”
In other words, 1) be yourself, 2) hit the basics and then 3) sit down.
But what should you talk about?
- Open with introducing yourself and how you know the couple
- Talk about what you’ve observed about their happiness
- Share a great story about when you knew they were meant to be together forever
- Close with wishing them a lifetime of happiness together
Was this helpful? Please comment below and tell us how you pulled off the wedding speech of the year.