Giving A Toast Doesn’t Have To Be Terrifying

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Dear Alimay,
My best friend, the bride-to-be, has requested that I prepare a toast for the rehearsal dinner. I honestly would rather jump into shark-infested waters. Please help. -Wallflower
Dear Wallflower, We admit, toasts can be daunting — and that is for good reason! With all of the couple’s most important friends and family present, your toast represents the culmination of a meaningful friendship. That said, I think we can all think of a wedding we’ve attending that featured a cringe-inducing toast or speech by a member of the bridal party. Bridesmaids, anyone? We all know the basic rules: Don’t mention the exes, don’t allude to any part of the couple’s sex life, and absolutely do not take the microphone if you are too many drinks in. But, what about giving a truly memorable speech? Well, there is certainly more of an art to that. Below, we are sharing our eight ways to keep your toast in tip-top shape.
Keep it under a minute and a half. There are three more bridesmaids waiting to share their words and their attendees certainly don’t feel like waiting an hour for dessert.
Avoid inside jokes. Unless you can quickly explain it, there’s no reason to share an anecdote that only 2% of the room will understand.
It’s not about you. Share stories that spotlight the bride and not on what she has done for you or how she makes you feel. This is her day. Let’s not forget that.
And, on a related note — don’t embarrass your friend. There are colleagues and family present. Yes, that time she streaked across campus in the dead of winter was hilarious, but not everyone needs to hear about it.
Slow your roll. Speak slowly, loudly, and clearly. There’s an elderly contingent that is hoping to hear what you have to say.
Rehearse, but don’t over-rehearse. Make sure you read over your notes before toasting, but leave room for the slightest bit of spontaneity.
Don’t air your grievances. Now is not the time to bring up who’s skinnier, prettier, better educated, or an all more wonderful person. See the third point. Not. About. You.
Don’t over-focus on the bride. Even if you aren’t very close to the bride’s partner, you must leave time to discuss him or her as well — even if it is in the context of making your friend happy. Absolutely hate him? Fake it a little. It will serve you better in the long run.
These points may seem a bit nit-picky, but this is one of the most important days of your friend’s life. She’s put a lot of weight into your friendship, so do her the favor of putting a little extra time into that toast — and always have someone read it over before presenting.

Ali & Maya

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