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The lockdown changed everything, including wedding plans for many couples who postponed marriage or opted for a private wedding without family and friends. After the social constraints of the past three years, it is all the more important to ensure that events are flawless, including a memorable toast to the happy couple.

If you are asked to deliver a wedding toast, understand what is required — it’s not an audition for Saturday Night Live. In other words, the toast is not about you. It is all too common for toasts to turn into tasteless roasts, with embarrassing anecdotes that make everyone cringe.

If the champagne has been flowing, toasters can go on and on. If you are asked to deliver the toast, you should feel honored. Be sensitive to the occasion, as the couple will likely be emotional and vulnerable. Whatever you say will be remembered, so be tenderhearted. You can help the guests understand why these two people belong together. Be positive, and, as a toastmaster, prepare the guests to raise their glasses at the end of your toast! Here are six tips:

1. Introduce Yourself:  It’s unlikely that anyone will introduce you, so take the floor at the preassigned moment, give your name, and tell everyone how you know the bride or groom. Be brief!

2. Share History:  Describe how and when the couple first met. If you had a part in introducing them, explain that. Resist dwelling on how you knew one or both since childhood, or being tempted to share camp mischief, disappointing prom dates, or any embarrassing incident.

3. Tell a Brief Story About One or Both:  Do give an example of a wonderful and positive trait or mention the bride or groom’s uniqueness. Recall an incident that shows the couple at their best or demonstrates an endearing quality. Make sure that any specific example has a point, and again, do be brief!

4. Talk About What a Great Match They Are:  Give examples of how they influence and complement each other. Don’t forget to mention the big things; that is, how happy they make each other or how they’ve blossomed as a result of their relationship. You might refer to their similar or different backgrounds as an enhancement.

5. Express Your Feelings:  Give an example of how you’ve been affected by knowing one or both of them. This is your chance to be sentimental. Express your desire that your friendship with the happy couple will continue throughout all your lives.

6. Wrap It Up:  Perhaps you can find a great quote about true love to close your remarks, then raise your glass (and encourage guests to do the same) and offer your best wishes for good health and every happiness!

Great wedding toasts are truly memorable and are cherished by the guests and couple as the gift that keeps on giving.

Lois Phillips and Anita Perez Ferguson are co-authors of Women Seen and Heard Speaker’s Journal, which includes nine templates for public speaking occasions, including the Wedding Toast.


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