I understand that being required to give a toast is part of your duty as in your role as a Best Man, Maid/Matron of Honor. I want to reassure you that even though it took me 4 months to prepare these remarks – it will take you just a few minutes to work through them!
I have had the great privilege of emceeing large events, speaking to large crowds and officiating some spectacular ceremonies.
This is what I know about weddings: a) The processional feels like it takes 2 hours. b) The ceremony feels like it lasted two minutes. c) I’m so glad that I am sitting at the VIP table and get to eat right after the head table!
As the best man, person, or women, this IS an honor for you, and you will shoulder some responsibility-which we will explore.
At the end of the day, you were chosen because you are who you are, you do what you do, and you have helped your friend(s) to get to where they are in life. So… BE YOURSELF!
Bullet points: Here’s a list of important items to include:
· Introduce yourself.
· Thank the groom for choosing you as best man and being a good friend.
· Insert amusing story about the groom or bride (nothing that would get either in trouble or make grandma blush!) Be nice!
· What impact the bride has had on the groom.
· A final toast to the couple wishing them… (your words here)
IMPORTANT: Keep it simple, keep it short.
The very first thing you want to do is introduce yourself. Second, touch lightly on the relationship you have with the groom.
Share a story or memory about how the they were before meeting each other, and how they are now. The meaning and beauty of their relationship.
Stay clear of ex’s, big life mistakes, or sensitive issues. Be nice. Remember, weddings are rated “PG”.
Your toast should be your words… what do you want to wish, hope, or pray for them in the future… Your total relationship will be demonstrated in these words you use to share with and for them…
Some things to remember…
1. Prepare. Don’t walk into the wedding reception thinking you’ll know exactly what to say when you get there. If you have a few months before the wedding, start mulling over some ideas for the speech. Begin brainstorming and jotting down thoughts, stories, jokes, and quotes you might want to use. If you don’t know a lot about how your buddy and his wife met, ask. Think of stories from you and your buddy’s past that show what a great guy he is. The goal of the speech is to celebrate the couple and make them look good.
2. Stay sober. Sure, you want to enjoy yourself, and yes, alcohol may help take the edge off giving a speech in front of hundreds of strangers; they don’t call alcohol liquid confidence for nothing. But make sure you’re not sloppy drunk when you give your speech. You don’t want to be completely uninhibited or you might say something you’ll regret later. Besides, a real man doesn’t need a crutch to help him tackle a challenge. Be man enough to postpone your own gratification until after the speech is completed.
3. Open by expressing gratitude. Thank all the people who made the day possible: wedding party, and the parents.
4. Tell a story-make a connection. The ideal way to structure your words is to find a connection between a story about your friend and your support for the couple. Or tell a story about the moment when you were hanging out with the couple and you realized your friend had found his match. Another good angle is to talk about the way that they balance one another. Relate a funny (not embarrassing, see below) anecdote in which one of your friend’s personality traits tripped them up in some way. For example, the story could be about how your friend is very shy and how this shyness caused some humorous event to occur. You then talk about how bubbly and outgoing the other is, and how they therefore balance each other and make a perfect team.
5. Avoid controversial topics. Keep your speech on topics that aren’t controversial, offensive, or embarrassing. You would think this is common sense, but people somehow forget this when they’re standing with a microphone in their hand in front of a crowd of people.
What gets people in trouble is attempting to be funny by sharing some embarrassing story or cracking some lame joke about a ball and chain. It usually comes out horribly and no one laughs.
It’s okay to share a humorous anecdote, but not one that gets laughs at the expense of your friend and his new wife and embarrasses them and their guests. Don’t talk about past relationships, don’t tell people what you really thought of your friend’s ex, don’t slam the food, don’t make comments about “looking forward to the honeymoon” while winking at the bride- basically, just use some tact and common sense.
6. Avoid inside jokes. It’s not fun when only a few people get it, it leaves others feeling cheated and not included. If you want to keep people’s attention, save the inside jokes for when it’s just you and your friend.
7. Keep it short. Shoot for no more than five minutes.
8. Think about ending with a quote. An easy way to end is by using a quote that wraps the speech up nicely. “Marriage is not about finding a person you can live with, it’s about finding the person you can’t live without.” After that you can simply say, “My friend has found that person.” The End.
9. Raise your glass and propose a toast. Raise your glass and say something to the effect of: “Here’s to a lifetime of happiness and love for ____ and ____!”
10. Remember to be yourself. No need to get formal or try to be someone you’re not. And there’s no need to follow these instructions exactly either. Simply use them as a guide and be yourself. Let it flow naturally. Use your natural voice and mannerisms. Make it personal and sincere and say things from the heart and you should be golden.
Regardless if you have done this before, or this is your first time, these ideas, words, and suggestions should serve as an invaluable guide to help you prepare you.
Your contribution will help your friend, and their new partner, enjoy a special ceremony, that is all about them! Right where the focus should be.