Many MOH’s and best men think their role in the wedding is all fun until they remember the dreaded speech. If you’ve never written a wedding toast before, there’s no shame in being nervous! The MOH, wants the bride to cry—that’s always the goal, right? The best man wants the groom to be busting a gut along with the rest of the crowd. How do you do this? What are the key ingredients to the best wedding speeches? Read on, take notes, and you’ll be one step closer to applause.
How to Write a Wedding Toast: A sample layout to get you started.
Let’s start with the basics. First of all, your toast shouldn’t be longer than 3-5 minutes. I used to cater weddings, and I can’t explain how painful and awkward it is to sit through a 10-minute speech. Short, simple, and sweet—remember these words and you’re on your way.
As for the structure, here’s a basic layout to get you started:
Start by introducing yourself and explaining the connection you have with the bride or groom. Thank the newlyweds for including you in their big day, and the guests for coming out to celebrate.
2. Share an Anecdote
This is the make-or-break moment for most wedding toasts. The goal isn’t to embarrass your best friend, it’s to reflect on the relationship you share with them or the one they share with their new spouse. My favorite anecdotes are usually from the beginning of the couple’s relationship. Did your buddy come home and say, “Wow, man. This girl is different.” Or did your girlfriend call you up after their first date and scream, “He’s cute and he laughed at my jokes!” These stories can be funny and endearing. Give guests the behind-the-scenes moments they haven’t heard and you’re sure to get a few laughs.
If you’re the best man, compliment your friend’s new bride. Tell her how beautiful she looks in her wedding dress, how patient she’s been with your shenanigans, or how she’s made your friend a better man. If you’re the MOH, tell the groom how you’ve never seen your friend this happy!
4. Wrap it Up
Conclude your toast with a marriage quote, love poem, or appropriate joke. If you want something unique, choose a few lyrics from the couple’s favorite love song or movie. “Mawwiage is what bwings us togevah today,” (Princess Bride, anyone?)—something more romantic would work too.
10 Do’s and Don’ts of Making a Wedding Toast:
Do make it personal: Short, memorable anecdotes are always the best option.
Don’t blubber: (Or at least try not to.) I’m such a sap on anyone’s big day, but do your best to keep the crying under control. My tips are to focus on the crowd rather than the bride or groom, have your notecards handy, and keep it short.
Do give thanks: Thank the bride or groom for choosing you, the guests for coming out, and whomever else deserves it!
Don’t mention exes: Exes are off limits in wedding wishes. This day is about the couple sitting next to you, not the crazy girlfriend from college. I don’t care how funny the story is, a few awkward chuckles is all you’ll get.
Do practice: I highly recommend practicing your speech. Recite it alone to get your timing right, then in front of someone who knows both the bride and groom. That way they can give you pointers or let you know if you’ve crossed any lines.
Don’t embarrass anyone: Your friends are already under some stress from the day; don’t make it worse by bringing up horrifying stories from their past.
Do bring notes: There is no shame in writing down your speech! If you’re anything like me, you’ll just start rambling due to nerves. Tangents are not the way to go, so notecards will keep you on track.
Don’t dis marriage: Even if you’re a sworn bachelor/bachelorette for life, don’t insult the institution your friends just joined. Respect the choice they made and acknowledge how happy you are for them.
Do keep it short: 3-5minutes. Remember that there are at least two other people who need to give their wedding wishes, and people want to start dancing.
Don’t get drunk: I know you’re going to be nervous, but don’t calm yourself with alcohol. Give yourself a 1-2 drink max before you make your toast. Once you say, “Cheers!” you’re good to go.
The best wedding toasts are simple, short, and sweet.
Like I said before, the key to a unique toast is to make it personal. I guarantee you’ll win over the crowd just by keeping it short, and a few memorable stories can go a long way. Cheers to great friendship, a loving marriage, and your unforgettable toast!