The Best Man's Toast: 10 Must-Have Tips
I have seen thousands of best man toasts. I have been moved to tears on many occasion; sometimes because the toast was moving and full of love, other times because the toast was mean-spirited and inappropriate.
Don’t let your best man wreak havoc on your wedding reception. Send him a friendly email a month before the wedding to let him know that you are really looking forward to hearing his toast as to know how not to embarrass himself on the wedding day!
My top ten tips for a memorable toast:
See, it isn’t rocket science! If you have a great toast that you have written or heard. I would love to hear about it too.
- Write your toast on paper. All great speeches, whether they are a comedy or serious, are scripted at one point. You don’t have to carry note cards and read word-for-word, but you will do a better job if you organize your thoughts in advance.
- Keep it short and simple. Think of one or two great stories about your life with the bride or groom or both. If you ramble on and on, guests will get bored. Three minutes or less is a good guide.
- Remember the wedding reception isn’t a roast. You will be giving your toast in front of moms, dads, aunts, uncles, grandmothers, and grandfathers. Save your really off-color material for the bachelor party.
- Practice, practice, practice. The best way to sound natural is to really know what you want to say. You don’t want to stumble over your words and you want to be comfortable enough with the material so that if you skip something, you can just casually move on or add something new without getting flustered.
- Consider using props. Some of the most memorable (and funny) toasts I have seen included using an object from a memorable occasion. For example, if you met trying out for little league baseball bring in your team shirt (how cute and small) to illustrate how long you have been buddies.
- Don’t forget to thank the wedding hosts. Whether it be the bride’s parents, the groom’s parents, or both, don’t forget to acknowledge them for making such a nice party for the newlyweds.
- If you are mostly a friend of either just the bride or just the groom, don’t forget to acknowledge the other in your toast. You can tell great stories about growing up with the groom, but in the end, don’t forget to mention how happy he looks with the bride, or how much she has enriched his life.
- Don’t drink too much prior to the toast. I know that many people like to “take the edge off” prior to getting up and speaking in front of a big crowd. One or two alcoholic beverages are probably fine, just don’t drink to the point of slurring your speech and staggering.
- Wrap up the toast by wishing the couple a long and happy future together. This will be the guests’ signal to say cheers and drink to the happy couple.
- Relax and have fun with it. You aren’t being graded, you are paying tribute to your close friends. Don’t get wrapped up in being afraid of standing up in front of a crowd, just speak from your heart.