Toasts, Roasts, & Making the Most of Your Wedding Reception by Tony Tee Neto
Cheers! With so many traditions “remixed” or outrightly discarded, the Toast is a tradition that still continues to this day! A quick search on the Internet will get you plenty of advice from magazines and bloggers on what to say, tips & tricks, etiquette, and even quotes you can incorporate into your “words of wisdom.”
We hope Toastmasters will get a lot out of this article, but this advice is equally beneficial to the Bride and Groom. After all, you’re ultimately in charge and can pass on your device to the trusted parties (even impose limitations). Whether Maids of Honor, Best Men, or even Fathers and Mothers of the Bride and Groom, trust us. These thoughts come from many years of experience and observation, and SCE Event Group always has your best interest in mind from start to finish.
With that in mind, here are a few thoughts on how to approach “The Toast!”
Introduce yourself. Yes, this is perfectly appropriate for the Toastmaster, and actually encouraged! With so many guests at the wedding, there’s a good chance someone doesn’t know who you are. What we discourage is that you say, “For those of you who don’t know me ...” Just a simple, “Good evening. I’m Lindsay, Sister of the Bride…” This makes for a great lead in to your introduction. From here, you can thank the Bride and Groom, parents, and even all of their guests. Chances are the SCE event host, introduced your and your relation to the guests of honor, so keep it tight, and if your speaking at a wedding, its a good chance everyone knows exactly who you are.
Acknowledge both. If you’re the Best Man, you’ll probably be talking about the Groom a lot. However, don’t neglect mentioning how beautiful the Bride looks and how awesome she is! A few nice words about her are absolutely encouraged. Same goes for the Made/Matron of Honor. Mentioning to the groom that “Oh, you look nice, too” will probably get a little chuckle from the guests and make him feel acknowledged. The SCE advice is just relax and have fun with it.
It’s a Toast, not a Roast. toast - noun 1 tribute, salute, salutation; pledge. You might’ve heard this before. And it’s true! Roasts might be a lot of fun if all the Groomsmen are hanging with the Groom over cigars and Scotch, and for all the Bridesmaids celebrating with the Bride over Cosmos one evening before the wedding. That’s where these stories should stay. Context is everything. Know your place and your audience.
Cute stories about how you drove each other crazy as kids, or never owned up that time she got in trouble but it was “your fault,” are definitely acceptable and entertaining. Potentially awkward stories about debauchery, ex-relationships, and “that time he got locked up” really have no place at a wedding reception.
Dad, did you wanna say a few words? Often, the Father of the Bride will want to acknowledge the guests. This is also perfectly acceptable, though not always expected. Dad, this is your opportunity to thank everyone for coming, say some wonderful (maybe even cute) words about your daughter and new Son-in-Law, and “cheer” your guests. We hate to break it to you, but long, meandering stories with no point quickly become dull. Keep the focus on the Bride and Groom, and your guests will stay glued to your every word.
Timing is everything, so don’t “kill it.” Some are frightened to death with the prospect of holding a microphone and speaking into it in front of a large group of people. Others might welcome it. In either case, this really isn’t “your show.” The spotlight belongs (rightfully so) to the Bride and Groom. This is your opportunity to express sentiments, offer advice, and be positive. And the best piece of advice we can give to you is to keep it short and sweet. A Toast shouldn’t last longer than 2-3 minutes. Guests expect toasts and the Guests of Honor surely welcome the words. But with so much time invested in planning the celebration, the amount of overwhelming emotion from the Ceremony, and the pressure of welcoming each of their guests, the Bride, Groom, and parents, (and in most cases, the guests) can’t WAIT to actually celebrate!
Eating, drinking, and dancing the night away are the ultimate traditions we’ve all come to expect at wedding receptions! Let’s not spend so much time on talking TO people, and let’s spend more time having fun WITH people.
A closing wish. A good closing contains a wish for the Bride and Groom, often for many years together. Keep it light, and keep it fun, thats the theme for us at SCE.