It’s June, and love is in the air. Now it’s your turn to step up – not to the altar – but to the microphone to give a toast to the just-married couple. From figuring out what you’ll say to how you’ll say it, it can be a bit overwhelming. Beyond booze, here’s how to deliver a memorable toast with confidence and style.
- Speak through Stories
A toast is not the time for a private conversation! Paint a picture with your words to highlight the character of the couple. Use stories to frame what you’ve learned from your friendship with them versus getting lost in a series of inside jokes. Lastly, end on a high note. Remember, it’s a toast, not a roast! Place humor in the right spot; , don’t end with a joke that will fall flat (remember who’s in the room – everyone from grandma to the college pals to the flower girl).
- Ditch the Script, But Practice
You’ve thought about what you want to say well in advance of the big day. Great. Now, how do you capture it? The perfect celebratory toast lives somewhere between stiffly scripted and champagne-fueled winging it. The Decker Grid is a helpful framework to organize your thoughts while giving you flexibility to speak from the heart.
Next, take the time to practice your toast – not just in your head, but out loud. It gives your mouth a kind of muscle memory. A great trick is to record yourself on your smartphone to see how you look and sound. Are you monotone? Is your pace too quick? Do you have distracting nervous gestures?
On the big day, don’t read a script. Scripts often reduce us to emotionless robots. Instead, focus on your message, not a specific script of words. To help give your toast structure, use The Decker Grid or an index card with talking points.
- Deliver from the Heart
You’re someone special, and you have something special to say. That’s why the married couple has asked you to toast them as part of this memorable day. While you might be nervous speaking in front of a group, there are a few simple behaviors that will help you deliver with confidence and authenticity.
- Stand Tall: Confident posture is tall yet relaxed, with arms resting at your sides rather than slumped back on your hip or leaning against a table or chair back.
- Connect with Eye Communication: Be sure to talk to the whole room – not just the couple. Work for five seconds of continuous eye communication with each person. Avoid the eye dart, looking up, down or doing the “slow blink.”
- Maintain energy: Move with purpose, use big gestures and speak in a strong voice.
- Show your joy: From your smile to your eyes, use your entire face to communicate authentic emotion.
Giving a wedding toast is an honor to be celebrated, not a chore to be dreaded. Don’t stress about perfection. No one is expecting it, and no one wants it. Instead, use passion to connect with family and friends. Make them laugh, make them cry and make them remember an unforgettable moment. Now that’s something to celebrate.
Here’s to you!