|A local couple makes their first toast as man and wife at their wedding reception in Sunnyside.|
Have you been invited to toast the happy couple at an upcoming wedding or rehearsal dinner? That's a great honor, but since public speaking makes most people nervous, you might want to learn the fine art of making toasts before you step up to the microphone. Here are eight wedding toast tips that you can start to work on immediately.
Do your homework
Know your audience. Who are they? What will they find touching, funny? Determine the duration of time allotted for your toast. Generally two minutes is an appropriate length of time. If a microphone is in the plan do sound checks before attendees arrive at the venue.
Craft a fitting toast
Match the tone to the event, and then determine your message or theme. Jokes may be well-received at a bachelor party or bridal shower but not at the rehearsal or wedding dinner. Always keep your goal in mind and how you would like your words to be remembered. Use your own words and speak from the heart. It will be more meaningful. Remember that the focus is on the bride and groom, not you. Be complimentary, the point of a toast is to say something nice.
Practice, practice, practice
Practice your toast several times. Aim to repeat your toast without notes. If you can, go to the event site and practice your toast.
Get audience attention
Either click glasses (being careful not to cause breakage) or even more effective: stand up and use eye contact to quiet your audience and get their attention.
Stand up, put a smile on your face, maintain excellent posture and keep your body open (i.e. no crossed arms; feet just less than shoulder width apart) and hold a glass containing appropriate beverage in one hand.
Connect with the audience
As you begin to deliver your toast look at the honoree(s) and then look across the audience, making eye contact with a few people throughout the crowd. This gives the appearance of addressing the entire crowd.
Be clear as crystal
Speak slowly and deliberately so that you are sure to be understood. Use short silences to calm your nerves in the middle of your toast.
Closing with class
Lift your glass and ask everyone to join you in toasting the honoree(s), at the end of your toast. Sip, not chug, from your glass.
Apply these eight tips, and your toast will be a memorable part of the occasion.
And who knows? You might even get part of the credit for the marriage's success.