A wedding is of course a very special occasion for the bride and groom, who are celebrating their love and commitment to each other in a very public way. For anyone who has the responsibility of speaking at a wedding it is an honour, but also a duty to make sure things go well. So whether you’re making a best man or a maid of honour speech or are simply called upon to make a toast, you need to make sure everything goes to plan.
Who gives a toast?
Today, roles at a wedding can often be more flexible, and occasions more informal than they were in the past. However, it is still up to the organisers to ensure that the microphone is only given to the right people, so the only people likely to be called on to make a toast are the best man, the maid/matron of honour, the host, parental figures and the newlywed couple themselves.
A successful toast
The length, formality and humour of a toast will all depend on the occasion itself and the people involved, but if you are going to propose a toast, you should take the time to prepare what you are going to say well in advance. Knowing when you are going to speak is also important so that you can make sure you’re in position and ready to go when called.
When to toast
In formal wedding ceremonies, toasts are generally given immediately after the meal and before the first dance when the married couple take to the floor. Less formal affairs can mean a toast can happen at virtually any time, so once again it will be up to the organisers to make sure everyone knows what is expected of them and when.
For a toast to be a success you need to have the attention of the room, and the tried and tested method is to tap champagne glasses with an item of cutlery or clink two together until everyone quietens down. If it’s a noisy occasion, you might need to take a more robust approach and just go straight on the mic to call things to order. For the toast itself, you should remember the three golden rules – be brief, be complimentary and be appropriate. That doesn’t mean you can’t be funny, but having said that, the last thing you want to do is to offend anyone present in any way at all.
Thankfully, most weddings will have a rehearsal where everyone expected to speak will be invited, so you can run everything past the couple and the organisers to make sure all will go down well. The main thing to remember is that it is not all about you; the centre of attention should always be the happy couple. If you keep these basic points in mind you should be able to play your part in making a special day even better.