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How to Give an Awesome Toast at a Wedding Reception

As a pastor I’ve officiated and attended a large number of weddings over the years. As a professor and speech coach, I find myself cringing when it comes time for the toast for the bride and groom.

A toast is the time during the reception when the best man and maid or matron of honor will give a little speech in honor of the couple. This can be a beautiful and meaningful time.

This can be a traumatic and terrifying time as most people hate speaking in public! There are times, unfortunately, when making the toast is not prepared or does not know what to say. They figured they would just “wing it.” Worse, there are times when the presenter, slightly intoxicated, thinks it’s a good time to be a comedian and may even share things that need not be shared to just try and get a laugh.

The wedding, and reception following, is one of the most important events in the life of a person. A poor toast could put a damper on the entire occasion or offend someone in the audience. It could also create unnecessary tension between the bride and groom (not a great way to start a marriage).

Here is a simple outline of how to prepare to make a proper toast for the bride or groom. Feel free to copy and paste the outline into a blank document and add your speech!

The Toast Introduction

• Get everyone’s attention (generally, the DJ may do this. If not, lightly tap your glass or hold up your glass and ask for everyone’s attention)
• Make sure to speak intro the microphone. Generally, the microphone should be about 4-6 inches from the mouth. 
• Introduce yourself

→ Tell everyone who you are. They might not know. 
→ Explain your relationship to the bride/groom
→ Insert a meaningful quote or appropriate funny statement (joke) 
→ Extend a word of thanks to the host, guests, and bride and groom. They could have chosen anyone, but they chose you!

The Content of the Your Toast (things to talk about)

• What is your relationship to the bridge/groom? How did you meet and how are you friends?
• Tell everyone why you believe that the marriage will be a wonderful thing and how you intend to be supportive.

Conclusion (know exactly how you are going to end) 

• Use the words “in conclusion” or “as I wrap up my toast” to alert the guests that you are concluding. 
• If you are married, you may wish to share some appropriate marriage advice that you received or a passage of Scripture
• Raise your glass and offer the “toast”. Generally, this is a very short, but hearty blessing upon the couple that would include good health, long life, and many blessings. 
• Life the glass and say, let’s share a toast in honor or Mr. and Mrs. __. Drink from the glass
• Sit down

Final Thoughts:
• Use this outline as a guide, but feel free to add or edit 
• If you intend to read your speech, remember to consider the lighting in the room and the fact that you will have a microphone in one hand and your paper or phone in the other. 
• Rehearse your speech a couple of times
• Speak from the heart
• Be brief. You should try and keep your toast between 3-5 minutes

I hope that helps as you prepare for that special, once-in-a-lifetime speech! I know you will be awesome!