Delivering a speech at a wedding can go either ways, good or bad. We all know that a bad toast will be the most talked about highlight of the day, well for all the wrong reasons. So why not go the other way? Make it good, short, precise and perfectly spot on.

Below are a few simple tips to make a toast with the most.

1. A toast shouldn’t go for too long, max 3-5 minutes, anything aside that will be dragging unless the guests are laughing at your jokes or stories, do not feel tempted to drag it.

2. A perfect toast involves preparation. It’s ok to freestyle if you’re naturally a public speaker and have good memory. It’s important to write it out, or outline the major points you’d like to address. Having an idea of what you’re going to say before you raise your glass works wonders.

3. Tasteful jokes are the perfect way to pull the guests in, start with a joke, and watch them hang on to every word. But if you’re not known for your comedy, don’t force it. Sincerity goes over just as well.

4. Do not try to outshine the couple by talking about yourself, achievements etc….remember it’s their day and not yours, don’t get carried away! And most importantly don’t be crude. Profanity and off-color jokes won’t go over well with the bride, the groom, or guests with kids in tow.

5. Once you start off with a joke, tell a story, make sure it’s a funny, touching, or telling anecdote about the couple, the bride, or the groom. If you don’t have a story, give your toast a story arc, with a catchy beginning that builds to a climax, and make sure you finish off leaving the guests wanting more.

6. Make it about the couple. If you’re friends with the bride, it’s natural for your toast to focus on her, but don’t forget, this wedding is about the two of them. Relate your words about her back to their marriage — not back to yourself.

7. Don’t toast drunk. A drink might help loosen you up, but don’t wait until you’ve had several to share your sentiments.

8. A nice touch is to have a copy of the toast (handwritten or printed) to give to the couple for a keepsake.

9. If you’re a bridesmaid, edit your toast so it’s not longer than the maid of honor’s, the mother of the bride’s, or other VIPs who might toast before you. And it’s OK to edit on the spot, or have a longer and a shorter version on hand.

Got more tips from toasts gone well or wrong? Share them below.

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