6 Tips for Delivering a Memorable Wedding Toast

Delivering the perfect wedding toast is a piece of cake with these 6 tips.

Anyone who has been to a wedding knows that toasts to the bride and groom often fall victim to one of two avoidable pitfalls: cliché-heavy musings or cringeworthy overshares. Make sure your speech is remembered for all the right reasons with these tips for delivering an amazing wedding toast.

1. Manage Your Time

Delivering an unforgettable wedding speech begins with time management. Too often, speakers get nervous and rush through their speech—or worse, they drag it out for too long. Find the perfect balance by practicing your time management skills before the toast, and you’ll be sure to deliver a speech that’s thoughtful, concise, and to the point.

2. Practice Makes Perfect

Even the most experienced public speakers practice their delivery, and wedding orators should follow their lead. Reserve some time to practice your speech beforehand to ensure that your toast isn’t completely off the cuff. If memorization is difficult for you, print your talking points on cue cards for reference while you’re delivering your speech. Rehearsing in advance of the date will also boost your confidence and give you time to tweak your speech before the big day.

3. Humor Is Key

Making people laugh is one of the best ways to win over your audience. Start with a lighthearted joke to get the audience laughing, but avoid raunchy or lowbrow humor that might offend guests, or inside jokes that your audience will not understand. Remember, this is the wedding, not the bachelor party.

4. Bride AND Groom

Remember, a wedding is about two people. Most likely you’re closer with one than the other. Don’t let this deter you, as there are easy ways to include both parties in your speech. Incorporate what you know about the couple’s relationship and the positive attributes of your friend’s spouse into your speech for a more well-rounded and inclusive approach.

5. Tug at the Heartstrings

After you’ve lightened the mood with some humor, delve into the topics of love and marriage. Your job as the speaker is to tap the full spectrum of emotions experienced at a wedding. Don’t be afraid to pose “deep” questions or include anecdotes that give your audience something to think about. After all, weddings aren’t just about drinking and dancing, they’re about love—so get in touch with your soft side and tug at those heartstrings.

6. Have Fun

Relax: Delivering a wedding speech isn’t as high stakes as you think. Your audience is made up of a mix of friends, relatives, and amicable acquaintances, so don’t get too worked up about getting everything right. Your audience wants you to succeed and is there to support you. So take a deep breath and have some fun with it!

Ken Sterling is the Chief Marketing Officer at BigSpeak Speakers’ bureau – the leading keynote and business speakers bureau in the world. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of California and an MBA from Babson College. Ken teaches Entrepreneurship, Marketing and Strategy at UC Santa Barbara. He is a serial entrepreneur, keynote speaker, business consultant and sales & marketing expert. For press interviews, contact marketing@bigspeak.com.