The Toast: Making Sure it’s Loving, Heartfelt, and Entirely Inoffensive
Typically, the maid of honor and best man deliver them, and they are notorious opportunities for embarrassing stories, unpleasant insights, drunken slurring, and all manner of unwelcome revelation. For some reason, people tend to think of the toast as an opportunity to vent annoyance, unrequited feelings, or secret dislikes.
Even when the toast is appropriate and gentle, the speaker may fail to mention the best moments, the times you’re hoping to hear about. If you have a best friend that you trust, you can probably stop reading now. But if your best friend can be something of a loose cannon, here are some ideas for quashing the inappropriateness before it starts, and for gently guiding your toastmaster towards the memories you most want shared.
Talk Early and Often
The more you discuss your plans for the wedding (and, hint hint, the toast) the more likely you are to get what you want. Just be careful not to add to the anxiety or nervousness your maid of honor and best man are probably feeling about the performance. Instead, reminisce about fond memories whenever possible, giving them vetted material in the process.
Encourage them to write a draft of their speeches rather than speaking off-the-cuff, and remind them (perhaps in another context) how important it is to you to have a day full of nothing but love. If your toastmasters are having some problems (they don’t know how to start writing a speech, are worried about a stutter, or are otherwise concerned about their performances) direct them to some resources, like this list of great quotes or this inspirational story about how George VI overcame his stutter to lead England. These amazing wedding toasts from movies may help to get them in the mood.
Share Your Vision
The speeches should reflect the ambiance of your wedding. If it’s an informal affair, it’s okay for the toasts to be informal too. If it’s black tie, you may be looking for something more polished and scripted. Your maid of honor and best man will thank you for clueing them in. Preparing an inappropriately toned speech is like wearing shorts to the Queen’s Jubilee: not good.
Make Your Toastmasters MCs
If you have a particular theme that’s important to you or an announcement you want made, you can assign it to your toastmasters. The more they talk in front of the group, the more comfortable they are likely to become doing it. Have them make a few announcements before speech time to get into the swing of things. For example, have them announce to guests that everything on their tables is 100% recyclable, or have them describe the organic food options.
Not only will this make them more comfortable, it will remind them of the work you put into your eco-friendly affair and of how important it is to you that the day be perfect.