When it comes to events, especially weddings, there is usually a time during the evening that a few of the guests will offer up toasts to the honorees. You can probably go onto YouTube right now and find the worst of the worst when it comes to toasts with a person getting stage fright, being too drunk or turning the toast into a roast. A toast is supposed to be a recognition and congratulations of the honorees, not a horror moment.

This past June I had to give a toast for my best friend Emily's wedding. To make sure that I didn't mess up during the speech I found some great tips on how to deliver a successful toast. Here are my top ten do's and don'ts that if you follow should result in you giving a successful toast!

Don'ts
1. Read off your notes. For those using note cards for their toast it is important that you are not standing there reading directly off the cards. If you rehearse your speech beforehand you should know enough of what you want to say without directly reading the card. Your honoree will want to see your face and your toast will come off more genuine if you make eye contact with the guests. 
2. Carry on for hours. You want to keep your toast short, sweet and meaningful. Talking for a few minutes is acceptable when giving a toast, but anything longer than 5 minutes is unacceptable when toasting. You want the honoree and the guests to stay engaged, not fall asleep.
3. Get too drunk. The biggest blunder when it comes to toasting is that those speaking have one too many drinks prior to speaking. I understand some people might have stage fright and drinking might relax them but still to just one or two drinks so that you don't slur or turn the toast into a disaster moment.
4. Share an embarrassing moment. Giving a toast is not the time to start a roast of the honoree by bringing up any embarrassing moments from the honoree's past. If you have any doubts about a certain memory it is best to just not include it at all.
5. Worry about perfection. Getting worked up about giving a toast can lead you to start sweating, forgetting what you want to say or causing you to want to drink to much. Stay relaxed about the toast and remember that not too many people remember what you say, so you don't have to worry about making your speech perfect. 

Do's
1. Practice and Prepare. Make sure that you write out your toast or bullet points of what you want to say during your toast and then practice. This will allow you to know what you want to say and to make sure that you keep your speech slow, practice your enunciation and allow you to time yourself. The more you practice the more comfortable you will be when it is your turn to give the toast. 
2. Share a fond memory of you and the honoree. Sharing a moment that you shared with one or all of the honorees is a great way to engage everyone during your toast. The toast is a time to tell the honoree how much they mean to you and this is a great way to do so.
3. Include humor. Including a simple joke or humorous moment during your speech is also another way to engage your guests. Just make sure it doesn't include anything dirty, any ex's or anything that you wouldn't want grandma to know about. 
4. Background Research. In certain situations there can be different rules when it comes to toasting. Some religions, cultures and military events have certain protocols when it comes to giving toasts. It is always a great idea to ask the honorees about this so that no one is offended by accent or expecting you to do something that you were unaware of.
5. Have fun. This should not be a stressful thing. Even if you have stage fright or think you are the worst public speaker in the world just remember that the honoree asked you to give the toast. At the very least you can keep it short and sweet by just saying how much the honoree means to you and wishing them luck in their new marriage/adventure/etc. 

During my speech I kept it under 2 minutes, shared a found memory of the bride and I when we were growing up, a funny moment about her high school uniform and then congratulated her and her new husband on their new life they were starting together. Have you had to give a toast before? What tips would you give someone that has to give a toast for the first time at an event? You can share your toasting do's and don'ts in the comment section below.

xoxo
Megan
 


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