Ask a Wedding Expert: How Do I Write a Wedding Toast?

Smart Speeches’ Sheri Saginor shares four simple tips.

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Writing a wedding toast can feel like both an exciting honor and a daunting challenge. How do you give a speech that’s memorable for the right reasons, that expresses everything you love about the happy couple, and that captures your audience’s attention and their hearts? It’s a challenge no doubt, but one that speechwriter Sheri Saginor, president of Boston-based firm Smart Speeches, has addressed for many a maid of honor and best man. Read on for her four tips on acing a wedding speech.

The Question:

How do I give a good wedding toast?

Saginor’s Answer:

Writing a wedding toast can be nerve-wracking, but it’s manageable if you keep a few things in mind.

First, keep it short. No one wants to listen to you drone on, especially if you’re not the only one toasting the newlyweds. Aim for two to three minutes, which works out to around 250 to 400 words total, depending on how quickly you speak. The guests will appreciate your brevity!

Second, consider your audience. Wedding receptions often bring together family, friends, and colleagues all in one room. So the content, language, and tone of your speech must appeal to everyone, from the bride’s six-year-old niece to the groom’s great grandpa. This is a moment when everyone should feel included. So no inside jokes. No swearing. No racist, sexist, or homophobic remarks. When in doubt, leave it out.

Third, don’t tell—show.  Anyone can say, “Sarah and Joe are a wonderful couple.” Instead, share a short anecdote that provides a glimpse of who the bride and groom are as a couple. This will add interest and depth to your remarks. At one wedding, the best man described how the couple first met: They both lunged at the last package of sesame bagels on the supermarket shelf. They started chatting and have been inseparable ever since.

If you follow these guidelines, you’ll end up with a speech that honors the couple and adds joy to the celebration.

And don’t forget to practice!

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