At the heart of every great wedding toast is a great story. Find that story, and you’ve got your toast.
Before you start planning what you’re going to say, let’s get clear on what not to say.
Common wedding toast mistakes to avoid:
- Crude humor, overtly sexual references, abrasive language. (Keep it subtle and classy.)
- Inside jokes that only you will get.
- Roasting or making fun of the couple.
- Talking about you, not the couple.
- Not being prepared.
- Talking about their exes.
- Making it too long (over 5 minutes).
- Keeping it too short (under 1 minute).
- Being too drunk to do it well.
Sure, there are exceptions to these rules and movies are full of people breaking them, but that awkwardness that’s hilarious in Bridesmaids or Wedding Crashers makes for tension and hurt feelings at real weddings.
Keep it simple, keep it heartfelt, and keep it classy.
How to create the perfect wedding toast
Be prepared, don’t just wing it.
You’ll potentially be riled up or exhausted, starving or stuffed full of cake, nervous or drunk. Write the speech out, practice saying it out loud, make adjustments, then put the larger points on an index card to read. Don’t write it all out or you’ll read it.
Practice saying the speech off that card in front of the mirror. Seriously. It helps! And enlist a friend to practice on if you can.
Check in with the other toast givers.
Make sure you aren’t saying the same story. It happens!
Start with an anecdotal story, something that sums up their relationship.
Your story should be quick – aim for 3 minutes – with a beginning, a middle, and an end. It is important to make this about the couple, not you. You can be a supporting character, but they’re the stars.
Ideas for wedding toast stories
- how they met,
- what they were like when they first started dating,
- a funny mishap that ended with them closer,
- their engagement story,
- when they met each other’s family,
- your first impressions of them as a couple,
- an activity they love to do together,
- a trip they took and how it solidified their love.
Don’t tell a story that pre-dates the couple, so nothing from your childhood with only one of them. Remember, it’s about them as a couple.
Then talk about how great they are together
Some great things to add here are how they make those around them feel, ways they support their family, friends, or community, ways they support each other, how they are going to build a life together
End with this moment, right now
Last, sum it up with how happy you are for them to keep growing this love and how you want everyone to raise their glass to wish them all the best in their future.
Boom. Speech done. Now go eat cake!
A cheat sheet for creating your perfect wedding speech
- Start with a story.
- Beginning sentence to pull people in.
- What happened before the incident (give context)
- What happened during the incident (tell what went on)
- What happened after the incident (tie it all together)
- Talk about where they are now
- Bring it to them as a couple
- Talk about how they compliment each other
- Wish them well for the future and cheers!
There you have it! Three easy steps to a memorable wedding toast.