I’d Like To Make A Toast

There’s a reason why you see everyone rush to the bar to grab a drink before the toasts are made at a reception.  Guests are preparing themselves for long speeches, filled with inside jokes they don’t understand, and a few jokes that the toast-giver thinks are original – (i.e.  “Ok, will all of John’s ex-girlfriends please come up and return their apartment keys!” followed by a slew of women, with the occasional grandma, lining up to throw keys into a hat.)

When you ask someone to give a toast at your wedding, give them a few guidelines and things will be kept short and sweet and you will soon be moving on to the fun parts of your reception, liking drinking that champagne sitting in front of you.

1.  Keep it short. 

Let’s face it – no one wants to sit through a long speech!  And more likely than not, the person giving the speech doesn’t want to go on and on for 10 minutes either, but they feel obligated to.  So, let’s put an end to long speeches today. 

A toast, as definite by dictionary.com:

noun – a salutation or a few words of congratulation, good wishes, appreciation, remembrance, etc., uttered immediately before drinking to a person, event, etc.

They key phrase is “a few words”.  So, brides, when you select the person or people you want to give a toast at your wedding, rule #1 is to ask them to keep it short- 1-2 minutes tops.  If the best man and maid of honor start to pull out note cards or even worse, sheets of paper (I have seen this happen), they have already lost the interest of the guests.  It is not supposed to be a speech.  A few words of congratulations to the happy couple and then say “cheers”.

2.  Keep it personal.
Suggest to the “toasters” to possibly bring in one element of a personal reference – something special about you and your groom. 

3.  Say it, don’t sing it.
Unless your toasters have American Idol-worthy voices (and not the American Idol contestants they kick off during the auditions at the beginning of the season), make sure they don’t plan on singing the toast to you.  You’re probably wondering why I am mentioning this, but it’s only because I have seen this happen before.  Fortunately, only once.

4.  Leave the embarrassing stories for the bachelor / bachelorette parties.
Make sure they refrain from making any suggestions of you and your groom hooking up for the first time, how you were intoxicated, etc.  If there are things you would not want your parents to hear, make sure they don’t get mentioned.  Sometimes a few too many drinks can help the best man build up some liquid courage and feel a little reminiscent of times you wished he hadn’t remembered. (Again, I have seen this first hand at a wedding before).

5.  It’s a toast – not a biography.
This is not an opportunity for the toaster to tell childhood stories or a time to focus on ‘what a wonderful man the groom has become’.  We all know he is wonderful.  But as a guest, I don’t really want to listen to “when John was in grammar school, he…” or “I remember in college when…”  No. Not the time or place. 

So, please raise your glasses to short and sweet toasts – cheers!  And if you are looking for some wedding toasts that are just wrong, check out youtube.com and do a search on embarrassing wedding toasts.  At the very least, you’ll get a good laugh out of them.


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