The wedding toast is a special speech which is shared by a close relative or friend of the newly wed couple during the reception. This speech may be a short quip or anecdote, a snippet of wisdom, or a quotation of some famous aphorism.
The wedding toast expresses the speaker’s desire for the couple to have a pleasant and enduring experience in their new life together. While the speaker relatively has the freedom to say as he or she wishes, there are a couple of basic do’s and don’ts which must be observed in order to make a pleasant and enduring toast.
Though some people are good at giving impromptu speeches, and spontaneity shows them at their best, it is a good idea to have the wedding toast written down on paper, especially for those who have a reasonable fear of talking in front of an audience; the urgency of the moment during the toast, when everyone’s attention is focused on the speaker in anticipation of a memorable speech, can be a nerve-wracking experience.
Having the speech written on a small card is a handy option in case the speaker fumbles and experiences a sudden mental block. The toast may be a famous quote or an original composition, as long as it succeeds in capturing the essence of the moment. The internet is a valuable resource of ideas which the speaker may adapt or revise for his or her own intents, in case a time tested adage is needed for the purpose.
Before making the toast, the speaker should see to it that all the glasses are full. He or she should then raise the glass with the right hand, straight from the shoulder. During the speech, make sure that eye contact is maintained with the people who are sharing the experience; then end the toast with a formal note, and finally, greet the couple the best of luck in their journey.
The formal order for the toast is as follows: first, a toast to the bride from the best man, a friend or relative; a toast to the bride and groom; the groom’s reply; a toast from an usher or a close friend of the couple; and finally, a toast from the father of the bride.
Try to make a toast which is more personal and up to the moment; if an old quotation is given, try to make it as intimately relevant as possible. The couple surely deserves better than a last minute, unplanned wedding toast on their first day as newly weds.
Be careful that the toast does not dwell on the negative side of marriage; this is a time of celebration, so the couple does not need to hear a discouraging remark to usher in their married life. Be sure that anecdotes steer away from stories involving previous disparaging episodes in the bride or the groom’s single life.
If the speaker wants to end on a lighter note, it should be done discreetly; lots of toasts which end in wisecracks are already doomed to failure from the start, no matter how inspiring the prelude and the content.