Chris’ Tip Jar – A Guide to Toasts
Here at Linganore Winecellars, we have been fortunate enough to play a small role in helping hundreds of couples find their happily ever after. These couples not only had the good fortune of finding love with each other but, luckily for us, our brilliantly rustic wedding venue known as Abisso Hall!
Although each couple and their wedding days are one of a kind in our eyes, we must concede that there are many common threads most weddings share, few as ubiquitous as toasts from loved ones. Therefore, I thought it might be prudent to share some tips with potential toastmasters to ensure that their speeches are successful!
A Guide to Toasts
To preface this allegedly comprehensive guide I will begin by stating the obvious; Speakers, you have been tasked with a tremendous responsibility and it should be approached as such. There are certain rules associated with wedding toasts and it would behoove you to take the time to research and review them prior to beginning the writing process. There are numerous resources across the web that are eager to help you along the way, such as ToastMasters and WeddingWire.
Most of us are not politicians or public speakers, and the gift of oration is not a common talent. That said, pretty much anyone can give a successful wedding speech. Below are a few tips and tricks that I have found to promote smooth sailing during the toast portion of any wedding day! In the sections below, we will attempt to describe the particulars of a great toast that should be observed when writing your own.
Fortunately, these guidelines are simple and focus on common sense. Our most important tip is to, above all else, be yourself! There is plenty of room for that within the so-called rules of wedding toasts, and your personality is what people want to hear when you speak. It is why the couple chose you for your position in the wedding party, and it is why they would like you to speak. With that said, there are a few things that you should pay attention to when writing and performing your toast
Wedding Toast Etiquette 101
Technically speaking, a toast should begin by lifting your glass by the stem and stating, ‘I would like to propose a toast.’ There is room for interpretation here, but you will want to have the guests’ attention before speaking. For things to avoid, although commonplace at weddings, you should avoid telling embarrassing stories or alluding to them. It is bad form to humiliate the couple or cast doubt on their character on their wedding day. Those tales of youthful shenanigans should stay in the friendship vault where they belong, no matter how entertaining they may be. On the same tack, since there will be people of all ages and moral compasses present, it is best to avoid using foul language. Whether it is for comedic effect or emphasis, it is rarely necessary to take the risk.
What Makes a Great Wedding Toast?
A toast should typically have an opening, body, and conclusion. Not everyone at the wedding will know you, so you should introduce yourself and your relationship to the couple during the introductory portion of the toast.
For the body, get personal and be creative. It is ill-advised to stick to a formula or to lean into clichés. Most people have heard every marriage joke under the sun, and your expert delivery will not make them any less stale. Instead, speak about the couple, illustrate why the newlyweds are important to you, and how much of an honor it is to be given the opportunity to speak at their wedding. You do not need to be a comedy writer to pull that off.
Despite these tips, the most crucial part of a toast will be preparation and practice. Rehearse with friends and time it. Three minutes is difficult to visualize on a page, so repetitive rehearsal will allow you to edit down your toast. Most toasts should only last 3-4 minutes maximum. Although you may be nervous, try to stay on topic. Remember the toast is not about you.
In conclusion, the art of the perfect wedding toast may seem nebulous, but it really isn’t all that complicated. There is not one right way to make a wedding toast however, there are many wrong ways. It is my hope that at least some of these tips and sources will be helpful to you during the speech writing process. Our private events team is also happy to help out any of our couples and toastmasters should they need it ;). For more wedding day tips and resources, keep an eye on this page as well as our Instagram (@weddingsatlinganore). Good luck!
Chris joined the Linganore Winecellars Private Event Team in 2022. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience from another local winery. Chris is creative, personable, organized and is committed to interpreting the clients’ vision of their event and turning it into reality. Calm and professional under pressure, he is an assertive individual who ensures each client’s event is a success.