Giving a Wedding Toast can be a daunting task. I know that at my wedding I didn’t even make any of my girls give a toast, because I knew that if I were in their shoes I would be terrified at the thought of giving a speech in front of all of their wedding guests. At the time, I guess I didn’t appreciate the importance-a few jokes at my expense and a little piece of cliche advice? I’ll pass.
Fast forward three years and the Wedding Toast has become one of my favorite parts of a Wedding Day. Listening to the messages that the couples’ friends and family are giving them is such a beautiful thing. It’s not only a gift to them, it’s a gift to all who are listening. Throughout all of the weddings we have done, we’ve heard Wedding Toasts from siblings, parents, grandparents, friends, children, and even from the couple themselves. For me, the most memorable of the sibling speeches was a young man who told his brother, along with a reception full of guests, how much of an influence his broth was to him-how he looked up to him really in most aspects of life. At that moment, I found myself hoping and wishing that when my two boys are older, they have the same love and respect for each other that these two have. Don’t get me wrong-his speech was funny, but it managed to be funny while also being such a sweet and loving toast. A Wedding Toast given from our elders are always great as well. Getting advice from someone who has “been there” is priceless-and at times I feel like I get little snippets of free marriage counseling at each wedding! At the last wedding I photographed, the bride’s grandfather had some words that really stuck with me. He talked about marriage and how it was hard work. In reference to the wedding, he said “This is the easy part”, and it was a great reminder for me that even though we sometimes get it stuck in our head that life as a married couple shouldn’t be so darn hard, it really is, and that we need to work and work and work some more to make it…well-work There definitely is an art to these speeches, and after listening to my fair share of Wedding Toasts, here is my recipe for making yours a memorable one!
Start by making it personal. Introduce yourself and let everyone know how you met. Take some time to share a few of your favorite memories together. Whether these memories are light and humorous or lean towards the emotional side-the key is that through your stories, the couple as well as the audience can feel love coming from your words. When planning, remember that you are not only speaking to the bride and groom, but essentially you are giving a speech to the entire room (no pressure). Keep inside jokes to a minimum. Tell stories or give advice that everyone can appreciate. Bonus points from the photographer if you can make them cry 😉
Make sure to include their significant other. Essentially you are giving a toast to the new couple, so while this is your chance to tell a slightly embarrassing story that includes the bride sled- riding on a toilet seat, it’s also a chance to celebrate the couples’ new marriage.
Make a sandwich. You know the compliment sandwich? It’s sort of the same thing. If your speech is coming from an emotional/sentimental angle, break it up with a smidge of humor in the middle. Same goes for if you speech is more on the humorous side-slide in a little piece of sentiment and then wrap up by making everyone laugh again.
End it with a powerful statement. Whether you have a great piece of advice or you want to tell them how much they mean to you and how happy you are for them-leave the audience with a statement that sticks with them. If you are having a hard time thinking of one, Google! I don’t recommend copying and pasting, but it may just give you the inspiration you need to come up with the perfect closing line.