How to Deliver an Amazing Wedding Toast
Ah, the subtle art of the wedding toast! We'll be capturing it on video for the bride and groom to watch forever, so here are a few tips to make an amazing impression that will be looked back on fondly for a lifetime!
- Be respectful of everyone's time
While you may have amazing memories going all the way back to childhood with the bride or groom, it's important to stay focused on the theme or main ideas that will be driving your toast. If you remember the moment you became best friends, that's awesome to convey, but as soon as you start stepping through grade school, high school, college, and work people tend to turn to their phones. If you're a charismatic speaker aim for 8-10 minutes in length, otherwise stick to a maximum of 5 minutes.
- You rehearsed it, right?
Keeping in line with the previous note, you should know approximately how long your toast is when read aloud. It is extremely rare that we film a toast where the best man or maid of honor "wings it" to great success. If you give the guests a story with a beginning, middle, and strong ending you'll blow the roof off!
- If at all possible, don't read off of your phone
It's cool to glance down at it if you have bullet points to keep you on track, but reading directly off of your phone really creates a disconnect between you, the couple, and the other guests. Eye contact is clutch in those moments and if you're nervous, just focus on the couple. As a sidenote from a filmmaking and photography perspective: having a phone so close also makes for potentially weird blue lighting on your face, so it's bad all around.
- Everyone wants you to slay!
That's right, everyone in the room is on your side. They want to hear about a heartfelt moment or funny anecdote between you and the couple because that's what the whole day is about.
- It's all about empathy
If you're speaking from the heart, you can't go wrong. You can even take a few playful shots at the bride and groom for a laugh, but remember this isn't an open mic for you to test out new material. Toasts from parents are particularly good at this because there's so much material to draw upon. Think about how the words you say will sound in 25 years when the couple is sitting down with their children (or grandchildren!) to watch the video of their amazing wedding day.
- Please, God, no (truly) embarrassing stories
There have been a handful of speeches where we were politely asked to remove entire segments when the best man or maid of honor offhandedly made reference to a particularly wild party or a previous relationship. These are all too common among the folks who decide to wing it (see #2). List the stories you'd like to mention in your speech and then really make sure everyone who'd be in attendance (parents, grandparents, even the couple themselves) would be comfortable hearing them.
If you're in need of inspiration, there are quite a few amazing toasts that we've sprinkled throughout our videos as well as countless others that exist across the web. Use them as your guide and feel confident that you'll own the room.