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Wedding Toasts: A Guide for the Hopelessly Clueless

October 3, 2008

My husband is going to be the best man at a wedding this weekend, and this means naturally he is expected to write a wedding toast. Writing wedding toasts is a big job we’ve discovered. The best man’s speech is probably one of the most important of all wedding toasts, and one of those things that can make everything wonderful or completely destroy a wedding! Not to mention he was also in charge of trying to brainstorm for Bachelor party gifts!

We had to do a lot of research to make sure his speech would be appropriate and not put us all to sleep at the same time. We found countless sites with wedding toast examples, free wedding toasts, and free best man speeches, but none of them really seemed any good. We did however remember what probably could be considered one of the worst best man speeches. This example of a bad best man speech and wedding toast is from the Adam Sandler movie The Wedding Singer:

When my brother Harold asked me to be the best man at his wedding, I was like of course man. You’ve always been there for me…like when I was in rehab…and like the time I couldn’t find my car. Cause Harold has always been the dependable one, and I’ve always been the screwed up one. Right Dad? Why can’t you be more like your brother? Harold would never beat up his landlord. But uh, newsflash pop, Harold ain’t so perfect. Remember that time in Puerto Rico when we picked up those two uh…well I guess they were prostitutes but I don’t remember paying…How about that…I’m a person too pop …I’m a person too…They’ll be divorced in a year!

A wedding toast like the one above perfectly shows what wedding toasts and best man speeches shouldn’t be. The bad wedding speech above resulted in the best man being escorted out of the building! Nobody wants something like that to happen when they are getting married! So now that you know what NOT to do for wedding toasts and best man speeches, let’s take a look at the formula for a great best man speech or wedding toast:

1. Introduction and Thank You: Anytime you address an audience, it helps if they know who you are and why you’re talking. You’ll also want to make sure while talking that you thank everyone who has helped to make the day come together – and complimenting how nice the bride looks doesn’t hurt either.

2. How You Know the Bride and Groom: People love stories, so you can include in your speech how you know the bride/groom. You can talk about how you met, or how long you’ve known each other. It doesn’t have to be long – keeping it brief and simple is fine.

3. Why the Couple is Perfect for Each Other: Wedding toasts are supposed to celebrate the two people getting married, so saying anything that says why you think they will have a happy marriage.

4. Throw in some quotes: A short line of poetry or a famous romantic love quote for a best man speech is always a good stand-by if you can’t think of anything else. Don’t go quote crazy, but a well selected one can really help.

5. Add a touch of humor: Saying something mildly funny or amusing that is appropriate for all audiences can be a great ice breaker. Be sure that it doesn’t cross into the no-no territories of religion, politics, the couple’s sex life, or crude humor. Saying something light and appropriate will make your audience stay away during the wedding toasts.

6. Dish out advice sparingly: Most best man speeches or wedding toasts offer some sort of advice. If your toast includes advice, make sure it doesn’t cross into the no-nos of adding a touch of humor in wedding toasts as I mentioned above. If the advice can’t be given simply and without making the bride and groom feel good, it’s probably better to leave it out.

7. Stay sober: Staying sober before and during a best man speech or wedding toast is very important. Being drunk before the wedding toasts have started is not going to leave a good impression on the wedding guests or the bride and groom.

This just a simple guide to writing wedding toasts – you are certainly able to be as creative or original as you’d like to be in your best man speech or other wedding toasting responsibility. If you ever have any doubts though about what to say, asking the bride and groom can certainly also point you in the right direction.

Have you ever given a wedding toast? If you’re married, were the wedding toasts at your wedding memorable? Share you experiences with best man speeches and wedding toasts in the comments below.

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