Wedding Toast Dos and Don’ts

As a friend or family member of the couple, your wedding toast is probably the most nerve-wracking part of the day. We have all witnessed toasts that make the crowd laugh and cry, and we’ve also cringed during some uncomfortable speeches. We at Kaushay & Co. want to set you up for success, so here are a few of our Dos and Don’ts to help you nail the perfect wedding toast!

The Dos

Keep it short

2-4 minutes is the sweet spot for a toast! Even if you have tons of stories you’d like to share, guests don’t want to sit and listen for that long and will be antsy to start eating and partying. 2-4 minutes feels much longer than you’d expect, and it gives you enough time to touch on everything worth mentioning.

Introduce yourself

Tell everyone your name and give a brief description of your relationship with the couple. Many guests may not know you or how you know the couple, so a little context would be helpful.

Speak to both partners

You most likely know one person more than the other, but make sure you address both of them in your toast. This could include a story about how you first met their significant other, what you love about their relationship, or when you knew they belonged together.

Make the guests laugh and cry

The best toasts share stories that make us laugh or move us to tears. Guests love to hear sweet and funny stories about the couple, so long as they are relevant, appropriate, and reflect back on the qualities you love most about them.

End with a toast

Wrap up with your well wishes to the couple and their future and don’t forget to end it with an actual toast! Invite the guests to raise their glass to the newlyweds!

The Don’ts

Don’t wing it

Like any other speech or presentation, your best bet is to practice! Rehearse with a friend or in front of a mirror to get the nerves out and familiarize yourself with your speech. While your eyes shouldn’t be glued to your phone or a piece of paper, have something written down to glance at occasionally.

Don’t start by stating how nervous you are

Rule #1 of public speaking is to not emphasize how much you hate public speaking! Hardly anybody enjoys it so it is not that interesting to hear it from you. It also takes time away from an already short speech with an unnecessary tidbit.

Don’t share embarrassing stories

There is a difference between a funny anecdote and a roast. This is their big day so you don’t want to humiliate them, you want to celebrate them! Avoid inappropriate stories, inside jokes, and any mention of past relationships. Nothing worse than an awkward silence in the middle of a speech!

Don’t make it about you

Remember that your speech should be about the couple, not about you and the couple. After your introduction, move on to talking about the newlyweds. Retelling a relatable story is fine, but avoid getting too personal by sharing private experiences that may make the audience uncomfortable. 

Don’t give generic advice

Parents and grandparents are usually the ones to impart some wisdom onto the newlyweds during the toast. While this is a nice opportunity, try to avoid generic advice and clichés like “never go to bed angry.” If you’re stumped, include a quote that speaks to the couple or gives meaningful advice. 

Photography: Cecilia Harvard Photography