Have you been invited to toast the happy couple at an upcoming wedding or rehearsal dinner? It's a great honor, but you might want to learn the fine art of making toasts before you step up to the microphone. Here are eight wedding-toast tips you can work on right now.
1. Do your homework
Know your audience. What will they find touching or funny? Determine the time allotted for your toast. Two minutes is a typically appropriate length. If a microphone is in the plan, make a sound check before the room starts filling up.
2. Craft a fitting toast
Match the tone to the event and then determine your message or theme. Certain jokes will be better-received at a bachelor party or bridal shower than the rehearsal or wedding dinner. Always keep your goal in mind and how you'd like your words to be remembered. Your toast will be more meaningful if you use your own words and speak from the heart. Remember that the focus is on the bride and groom, not you. The point of a toast is to say something nice, so be complimentary.
3. Practice, practice, practice
Practice your toast several times. Aim to repeat your toast without notes. If you can, go to the event site and practice your toast.
4. Get the audience's attention
Either click glasses (being careful not to break anything) or even more effective: stand up and use eye contact to quiet your audience.
5. Hold yourself confidently
Stand up, put a smile on your face, maintain excellent posture and keep your body open (e.g., no crossed arms; feet just less than shoulder width apart) and hold a glass containing the appropriate beverage.
6. Connect with your audience
As you begin to deliver your toast, look at the honorees and then look across the audience, making eye contact with a few people throughout the crowd. This gives the appearance of addressing the entire crowd.
7. Be crystal clear
Speak slowly and deliberately. Use short silences to allow the audience to absorb your thoughts and to calm your nerves.
8. Close with class
At the conclusion of your toast, lift your glass and ask everyone to join you in toasting the honorees. Sip, don't chug, from your glass.
Apply these eight tips and your toast will be a memorable part of the occasion. And who knows? You might even get part of the credit for the marriage's success.