9 tips for giving a wedding toast

One of my nieces has just entered the phase where some of her friends are getting married, one of those being her best friend. Guess what that means . . . She gets to give a wedding toast! The thought of wedding toasts can be daunting and diarrhea-inducing, even for people like me who love being on a microphone, so it’s important to prepare in advance.

Back in the last 90’s I gave three different wedding toasts at my college besties’ weddings so I’ve decided to impart some of the knowledge I learned back then (mostly the hard way) to anyone facing the task of giving a toast. 


How to Give a Good Toast at a Wedding

1) Don’t be sloshed OR sober, be some where in the middle–Slurring like The Hoff does not go over well in a crowd, but a slight buzz will help settle the butterflies.

2) Don’t Drink Red Wine–At least prior to the toast so you don’t risk purple lips or a dark red stain on your dress.

3) Rehearse it, out loud–Even if you’re an “off the cuff” type of person, plan out what you’re going to say, and practice it at least once.

4) Do not mention exes (or anything that happened at the bachelor/bachelorette party)–Granny does not need to hear stories of theblushing bride’s debaucherous past.

5) Think of it like a term paper–Come up with one message you’d like to get across about the bride, groom or bride & groom. In your toast, start with an intro, stating your main message, then give 3 brief examples, and then tie all it with a succinct conclusion.

6) K.I.S.S. or Keep it SHORT, Sucker–There is drinking and dancing to be done so keep it short and succinct. Time yourself and keep it under 5 minutes.

7) Have Notes–Once all eyes are on you, you’re going to forget everything you wanted to say. I promise. Have it written down, even if you don’t look at it all.

8) Comic relief is key! The poignant, heartfelt moments are important but everyone is sappy and teary already, so, as Donald O’Connor would say, “Make ‘em laugh.”

9) Don’t stand in front of the speaker. Microphone feedback can kill any toast. Seriously. Kill.

Got any other tips? Or maybe some funny/embarrassing toast stories you’d like to share?



  1. 1
    Alli says:

    These are great!!! I would add that its about the bride and groom and not about yourself, so sway away from talking about yourself. Been at far too many weddings when the toast is about the speaker and not the bride and groom and its will kill a room in about 2.5 seconds.

  2. 2

    I think I went to those same weddings Alli! LOL!

  3. 3

    It should be short, succinct and distinct. In my experiences, most of the time they’ve been talking about the bride for about 90%. How about the groom and their love story? Make it memorable and end it ingeniously.

  4. 4

    Don’t drink red wine. Great advice! Start with white then move to red. ;)

  5. 5
    laura says:

    I gave a toast once. If I could go back and do it again I’d have definitely had a glass of [white] wine first. I was nervous, and rambled, and completely did the whole thing on the fly!!! Thank goodness there were no video cameras, or iphones… which tells you how long ago that was.

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