The Beginners Guide To The Perfect Wedding Toast
So you’ve just been asked to Best Man or Maid of Honour at your Friend’s Wedding, or your daughter is getting married and as the day approaches you realise you need to make a speech. Well this was all fun until I realised I had to make a huge speech in front of hundreds of wedding guests!
It’s a daunting task, creating a short but sweet wedding speech that hits all the right notes and delivering it with style and panache?! How long should a wedding speech even be anyway?!?
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. As Part Three in our series on the perfect wedding speeches and toasts for your wedding day we’re bringing the whole thing together.
Read on for the Perfect Wedding Toast primer for your or your friend’s wedding day.
Introducing the Toasts – Toastmaster or DJ?
First thing to get nailed down, is whether the speeches are going to be introduced by a Toastmaster or DJ. If you’re hiring a toastmaster then this is where they should shine, as it’s literally the title description of their job. Another alternative that can work really well is if your hired wedding DJ is present throughout the wedding breakfast playing music, and can then MC proceedings for you with use of microphones.
Sequence of the Toasts
The toasts and speeches are somewhat interchangeable in terminology as traditionally each of the following are expected to make formal speeches and incorporate toasts (cheers!) for certain members of the wedding party. In the UK it’s traditional for speeches and toasts from The Father-of-the-Bride, followed by the Groom, followed by the Best Man. But just because it’s ‘tradition’ doesn’t mean you ‘have to’.
Indeed we’ve seen wedding with multiple best man’s speeches, with no father-of-the-bride speech, and our personal favourite – the new trend of ‘maid of honour’ speeches. We love these because for far too long bride’s have been getting away without the ribbing that the groom always gets! Equality at last! (They tend to be more clever and funny too…)
What’s the Role of the Best Man in the Wedding?
The best man’s speech is such an integral and important part of the wedding day that we’ve written an entire blog post about nailing the best man’s speech.
But as well as crafting the world’s most awesome 10 minute concoction of words (no pressure) the best man has many more responsibilities during the toasts and indeed throughout the day as a whole. Whether it’s helping to hand out gifts from the bride & groom during their speeches, to ensuring their glasses are primed for the toasts, we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: “being best man is an honour as well as a responsibility”.
Maid of Honour Wedding Toast
Choosing a maid of honour is an incredibly important decision, and one the bride will not make lightly – so be honoured if you are chosen as Maid of Honour.
FUN FACT – If you are married when chosen to be a ‘Maid of Honour’ then technically you aren’t called the ‘Maid of Honour’, but are referred to as the ‘Matron of Honour’, with no negative connotations. It’s similar to the casual distinction made with “Miss” and “Mrs” when referring to a lady, but somehow the ‘matron’ got lost along the way…
FUNNER FACT – We’ve shot many weddings for our clients where the bride has chosen to have their own ‘best man’, but indeed this is not a new thing at all and used to be far more prevalent than you might imagine. In this case the correct terminology for the Bride’s Best Man is the “Man of Honour”, who would wear a suit similar in style to the groomsmen but with the option to adorn flowers or colours differently to demarcate themselves.
CLICK HERE – if you found that interesting and want to look up more wedding terminology that spits up interesting facts you didn’t even know you wanted to know!
It’s becoming more and more common for the Maid/Matron of Honour to also make a speech at the wedding breakfast, and an interesting quirk of this is that usually it’s a group effort from all of the bridesmaids collectively. We love that this is becoming a thing, and look forward to seeing much more of this in the future.
The Wedding Toasts
If you search online for “Why do we give wedding toasts” or “what’s the point of a wedding toast” you’ll be hard put to find any answers at all. It’s become one of those wedding traditions we do without questioning!
Nonetheless they do serve a purpose – we should be thankful to all those who invited us here to this special day, to those who helped make it happen, and to those who funded the day or otherwise made an effort to celebrate the love of the newly-weds. Whilst we’re big proponents here of abandoning things that we only do for ‘tradition sake’, this is one tradition that we feel is worth sticking to.
Mentioning important people from the wedding party and from the families of the bride and groom by name, and toasting their name with alcohol, is a fine wedding tradition on a day that is by its very definition focussed on the bride & groom.
How to Write & Deliver a Wedding Toast
This is such an important task and responsibility that we’ve gone ahead and written entire blog posts around each part of the wedding toast – and for both writing and delivering a wedding toast we’re going to refer you to our article on “nailing your best man speech”. Whilst this article is focused on the best man, the skills and information is directly applicable to anyone writing and performing a wedding toast. Indeed, if you’re not the best man it’s worth a read if only to see how much more difficult they have it!
How to Deal with Being Nervous Before and During a Wedding Toast
“Unaccustomed as I am to Public Speaking…”
Very few people have extensive experience in public speaking – so really it’s only noteworthy if you are accustomed to public speaking! As such do remember you’re likely to have a welcoming audience in front of you. After all, you’re all there for the same reason – to celebrate your friends’ love!
Indeed if your friends have been kind, they’ve timed the wedding toasts to happen immediately after dinner – when bellys are full and wine has been drunk, as opposed to before the dinner when people are hungry, sober, and ultimately a much more hostile audience!
The biggest way to lessen the nerves is to practice, practice, practice, followed by having familiarity with, and confidence in, your speech itself. We’ve mentioned a lot of tips for this in the previous articles so we’ll assume you are as prepared as you can be at this point for your big wedding speech.
If you aren’t sure about your wedding speech, get a trusted friend to read it, or better yet, listen to you perform it. This way you can gauge if any of the jokes fall flat and/or any topics are a bit controversial. This way you can stand up in front of the wedding breakfast and be confident in your presentation.
But if that still isn’t working, a few last minute tips here will help: Firstly remember that people’s moods will reflect yours. So smile, be loud and happy, and your audience will pick up on this and be that little bit more receptive for you.
Secondly, whilst maintaining eye contact is usually the best option, if you’re finding this daunting then use the ‘look over their heads’ method. If you’ve practiced your speech many times to an empty room (as we strongly suggest in our previous article) then you’ll be used to looking up and round the room. But if the final step of eye contact is putting you off – then you can look just above people’s heads which will give the impression of eye contact and confidence, whilst not forcing you into direct eye contact if it’s putting you off too much.
Pauses – don’t be afraid to let jokes hang and let people laugh. This can be your time to regroup and prepare for the next section of your speech. Every second can feel like a lifetime when making a wedding toast – but if you rush through the laughter and the pauses it can put you off your stride.
Finally speak slowly and clearly in the same way you have practiced, speaking naturally without emphasising anything any more than you have when you practiced. Be prepared to speak loudly (which ideally you will have done when practicing), as even if there is a microphone offered – we find at 50% + of weddings they run out of battery or simply stop working for whatever reason halfway through the speeches. As such we find it’s highly likely you’ll be making the speech with your own boom box, so be prepared and not phased when that happens!
Toasting The Wedding Couple – A Happy Speech For A Wonderful Wedding Day
A wedding day is a momentous event meant to mark a couple’s true love, and as such the memories surrounding it should be as picture-perfect as possible. Whether you’re the best man or the maid of honour, the Father of the Bride or the trusted partner, your contribution to that most special day is an important honour which you should respect. You can do that by ensuring you have practiced a well thought out and heartfelt speech, appropriate to the beautiful occasion. So make sure you follow our advice and confidently deliver a toast that will leave the bridal party with a memorable moment people can raise a glass to for years to come…
First To Toast the Bride & Groom Wedding Photographer Mykey Day
Your Wedding Day will never be as important to anyone else as it is to you, but trust us when we say – your wedding will be crucially important to us as well! Please browse our website for examples of our work, and we look forward to making your wedding photographs special too.