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How to Give a Great Wedding Toast

How to Give a Toast Without Embarrassing Yourself

A good toast will never be the most talked about part of a wedding, but a bad toast will be — for all the wrong reasons. Surely we all remember the scene in Wedding Crashers, when Rachel McAdams's character awkwardly silences the room with her jabs at her sister's money-grubbing tendencies.

If you've been asked to stand up and say a few words, don't fret. Just follow these simple tips to make a toast with the most.

  • The first rule: remember it's a toast, not a speech. Make it five minutes at most, preferably shorter.
  • Prepare. Whether you write out your toast or just outline your major points in your head, having an idea of what you're going to say before you raise your glass works wonders.
  • Be funny, but not if you don't want to. Toasts with humorous anecdotes or tasteful jokes are always crowd-pleasers. But if you're not known for your comedy, don't force it. Sincerity goes over just as well.
  • Try not to outshine the more important toasters. If you're a bridesmaid, edit your toast so it's not longer than the maid of honor's, the mother of the bride's, or other VIPs who might toast before you. And it's OK to edit on the spot, or have a longer and a shorter version on hand.
  • Don't be crude. Profanity and off-color jokes won't go over well with the bride, the groom, or guests with kids in tow.
  • Tell a story. Offer a funny, touching, or telling anecdote about the couple, the bride, or the groom. If you don't have a story, give your toast a story arc, with a catchy beginning that builds to a climax.
  • Make it about the couple. If you're friends with the bride, it's natural for your toast to focus on her, but don't forget, this wedding is about the two of them. Relate your words about her back to their marriage — not back to yourself.
  • Don't toast drunk. A drink might help loosen you up, but don't wait until you've had several to share your sentiments.
  • A nice touch is to have a copy of the toast (handwritten or printed) to give to the couple for a keepsake.

Got more tips from toasts gone well or wrong? Share them below.

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