June is traditionally the wedding month, or at least the start of the marrying season. So if you have to speak at a wedding, here are some tips and suggestions for wedding toasts:
- Keep it short. Five minutes or less is best.
- Tell a story. Usually one is enough.
- Be careful with humour. Stay away from inside jokes that the audience may not understand.
- Honour the occasion. It’s what bought you all together.
- Speak from the heart.
The guests at a wedding want to be entertained. They’ll want some special insights about the happy couple. So tell funny – but not offensive – stories. Check with the couple to make sure they’re comfortable with the stories you plan to share.
It’s a toast
Not a roast
No need to mention past relationships. Don’t embarrass people on the happiest day of their lives. Don’t embarrass the families. There’s plenty of material for wonderful, appropriate stories without dragging skeletons out of closets.
End on an upbeat note. Talk about the strengths of the bride. Or the groom. Or the couple. What makes them so great, and why?
Then ask everyone to stand and drink a toast to the happy couple.
By the way, don’t drink a lot yourself before you speak. You don’t want to say something you didn’t intend. You want to be able to speak clearly, project strongly, and not be slurring your words.
Have a coherent structure for your speech. Make sure you have a beginning, middle and end.
And finally always remember there will be a mixed generations at a wedding. So alway be respectful in language and action.
Halina St James takes the worry out of presentations with her Present Like a Pro video training course. It’s available now from the Podium Coaching online store, together with her popular TalkitOut: From Fears to Cheers e-book and workbook.