toasting and such

Posted July 6, 2011

I’m sure everyone has heard an awkward, drawn out, or inappropriate toast in their day. If you are in the position of giving one—or receiving one, here are some tips from Southern Living (who knew they had input for weddings?) to keep from the faux pas:

Giving a Wedding Toast
Rule #1: Be brief
It’s best to stay under two or three minutes.

Rule #2: Rehearse
Sometimes even spontaneity requires a little forethought. Practice out loud in the mirror a few times.

Rule #3: Get (and keep) the Crowd’s Attention
Avoid tapping your glass; simply stand and speak loudly and clearly.

Receiving a Wedding Toast
Rule #4: Don’t Drink To Yourself
Avoid raising your glass, and remain seated when the toast is offered to you.

Wedding Toast Rules for Guests
Rule #5: Let the Host Toast First
Champagne glasses on the table indicate toasts will be made, usually with the dessert course.

Rule #6: Never Refuse to Participate
If you’re a nondrinker, it is courteous to raise an empty glass, rather than none at all. If you’re nervous about public speaking, have a couple of short toasts committed to memory in case you’re unexpectedly called upon.

Wedding Toast Rules for Hosts
Rule #7: Inform Guests if You Would Like Them to Toast
If you’re hosting a formal party or wedding and would like for certain guests to toast the honorees, it’s polite to call them a week before the party to let them know.

A few other tips I was able to gather concerning Wedding Toast etiquette:

What Not To Toast About
Just because the best man rehashes Joe Groom’s drunken college conquests (and he just might), absolutely does NOT mean you should follow suit. If you want to be funny and tell a story, go ahead, but remember that there are several grandparents and maybe even great-grandparents in attendance! Don’t make the bride or groom uncomfortable, and for goodness sake, don’t scandalize Great Aunt Nellie! Your toast should focus on their love for each other and everyone else’s love for them, NOT past indiscretions or tasteless inside jokes.

You’ve probably also seen plenty of movies where the the best man or maid of honor has had a stressful day and a little too much to drink and uses their toast as an opportunity to vent…please don’t do this! Keep in mind that this is a sacred, very special event, and it is not about you. That may sound harsh, but we’ve all experienced the awkward angry speech moment, right? Not fun.

How To Come Up With A Good Toast
Start thinking about your toast several weeks before the wedding. Do a little research and check out a book like Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations to get ideas for how to start it off with a quote or poem. Think about what makes the couple so perfect for each other, and express that in your toast. Look through old pictures or letters for inspiration. Be yourself-don’t feel pressure to be funny or sentimental if that’s not you-it’ll just sound unnatural and forced. The bride chose you because she loves you for who you are, so if you’re sappy and sentimental, feel free to get a little weepy and tell the bride how much you love her. If you’re sarcastic and cynical, be that…as long as you are not diminishing the bride and groom with your humor. The maid of honor can rock the wedding toast no matter her personality!

That said, here is the toast I gave to Billy & Vanessa at their wedding, for all who heard it before or would like to read it now:

Confidant. Fashion Consultant. Partner in crime. For those of you without a little sister, it’s hard to describe what it’s like. It’s like this invisible thread – when she feels pain, I feel it too. When she laughs, I’m usually right there laughing. When we’re away from each other, I miss her terribly. And when we’re hanging out, I’m sure to have the time of my life!
I constantly pray that my daughter Olivia will be able know and appreciate the richness, the inexplicable joy and the true treasure of what having a sister like Vanessa is like. A built-in best friend, for life—one that the bonds of family have strengthened beyond any other friendship I’ve ever known.
She gets me. from silly inside jokes and funky fashions, to secret hopes and greatest fears, I know with one look at each other, we are in perfect understanding. Like a language that never needs to be spoken. And though she may not always agree with me, she never judges- she accepts me for exactly who I am every single time, and loves me in spite of and because of that. And Billy, that’s how she will love you too.
She’s both 100% genuine & abundantly generous: with the gifts she gives others, with her smiles and laughter, and with her love.
Billy, you are in for a roller coaster of a life with this one. The ride will keep you guessing at every turn, and I won’t say that there won’t ever be a single disappointment along the way—because that’s life. But you can take confidence in knowing that you’ve got a partner who will hold your hand and promise not to tell anyone how you screamed like a girl when that roller coaster does the loop-de-loop.

And to leave you with another pretty picture, a post card style invitation (love!)