10 Wedding Toast Mistakes Not To Make

Guardian.co.uk Guardian.co.uk

A simple “Cheers!” or “Congrats!” won’t cut it when it comes to a wedding toast. The Maid of Honor or Best Man selected to speak were chosen for a reason and your speech is meant to bring all attendees together and serve as a reflection of this specific couple. There are many “Dos” involved, but Victoria Wellman, co-founder of The Oratory Laboratory, a speechwriting company in New York, gives us recommendations for what NOT to say or do during a wedding speech.

Don’t be afraid to roast the bride or groom but know when enough is enough.
There’s a fine line between poking fun and being vulgar. So, don’t talk about how drunk they got at college and what trouble they used to get into. For starters it’s unoriginal, but mainly because grandma and the in-laws are in the audience too.

Don’t tell private jokes.
It doesn’t matter how funny you and five other of your friends think something is, if half the audience doesn’t know it, you’re excluding them and they’ll stop listening.

Don’t talk about exes.
Even if they are all on good terms they’re totally irrelevant to this day and it will make everyone feel super uncomfortable.

Don’t tell us how your friend is like your sister (Maids of Honor, this one’s for you).
We know you adore each other, that’s why she gave you the job. Tell us why you love her, why she’s so amazing and why she makes you laugh.

Don’t just use adjectives to describe the person you are talking about.
You need to backup your descriptions with stories. The more specific you are the better the speech.

Don’t be overly sentimental.
Try for at least 70% humor and storytelling. When was the last time you left a wedding talking about an amazing speech that was all tears and ‘I love yous’? If you think back over all the time you’ve spent together you’ll find the juicy details about your friend and the humor.

Don’t speak for longer than 5 minutes.
It’s always better to leave the guests panting for more than wishing you’d stop.

Don’t get hammered at the open bar.
If a glass of wine or a shot of tequila gives you a bit of confidence then go for it. But no more than one until you’re done!

Don’t talk about yourself.
Yes you’ve shared hundreds of adventures with your best friend or sibling, but you are best man or maid because all those stories make you an expert on them. Look through your speech and count the ‘I’s.

Don’t let nerves get the better of you!
You’re about to deliver the best gift to your friend you’ve ever given them – it’s exciting and you should be looking forward to it. If you spend the whole speech freaking out, you’ll regret it afterwards and you only get one chance so enjoy every moment of it.

> 10 Worst Wedding Toasts Ever
> Complete Guide to Maid of Honor Toasts
> Toasting Basics for the Best Man

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Escort cards are extremely easy to personalize and an excellent way to bring in your wedding day colors -- from calligraphed seating cards set atop a textured linen to apples tagged with each guest's name or small personalized bundles of lavender tied off with string. Other ways to display escort cards: Pin them to a clothesline, post them on a board covered in color-coordinated ribbon, or incorporate them into your cocktail hour using personalized stirrers tagged with guests' names.
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