The Magic Formula for Giving a Great Toast

Dear Marilee,

I’m giving a toast at my best friend’s wedding, but I have no idea what to say or how to talk in front of a crowd! I’m terrified of embarrassing myself or offending my best friend. Is there a magic formula for giving a great toast?

Signed, Maid of Honor

Dear Honorable,
Here’s the magic formula for great wedding toasts. Choose the right words and say them at the reception. Here’s more detail to make your incantation work…

The right words:
1. Introduction. Many people will know who you are, but not everyone. Introduce yourself and thank your hosts and the guests.

2. Share an anecdote about the bride. You’re in a unique position to know the her very well and she entrusted you with the honor of being her maid of honor. This can be a sweet or funny story about her childhood or something that illustrates a great personality trait like independence, intelligence, or a sense of humor.

3. Share an anecdote about the groom. When did you first meet him? When did you first suspect he was “the one” for her? (Hint: I bet it was before she actually told you). How does he augment the best in her? Choose one thing people would like to know about them as a couple.

4. Raise your glass in a toast. Don’t forget the “Toast” part of the toast! You can simply say “Now join me in raising a glass wish the couple a long life of love, and joy together”.

Now that you have the right words, here’s how to say them at the reception:

1. Write your toast in advance. The fact you’re reading this means you’re off to a great start. Don’t wait until you’re sitting at the head table during the reception to figure out what you’re going to say. Take some time to write it out.

2. Practice out loud. Muscle memory counts for a lot. Unless you’re a professional who is used to talking in front of crowds, give yourself the best chance to give a great toast by practicing it. Say it in front of the mirror, say it before bed, say it to your cat or anyone else who will listen. Practice it enough that you don’t have to read every word. It’s okay to have notes with you while you toast the couple, but it will look a lot better if you’re addressing the couple or the crowd and not reading from your notes.

3. Use the microphone. If there is a microphone, use it. Do a little sound check and ask someone if you’re not sure how. Check that someone at the back of the room can hear you clearly. The best way to hold a microphone is to place it close but slightly to the side of your mouth and talk “over” it. It will pick up your voice without amplifying the other little noises your mouth makes.

So here’s to you and the fabulous support you are giving your friend at her wedding. May you bring joy to her celebration, and may your friendship continue to grow and blossom as you each take your own paths and forge new bonds.


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