Don’t talk about your recent divorce, for starters. “I mention that in jest, but you’d be surprised,” says Bruce Hunt, founder of the Toronto Speakers Academy. “I think I’ve actually saved a couple of weddings based on the toasts someone was about to give.” So, how to deliver a speech that’ll have every champagne flute in the room raised? Read on.
- Keep it short and sweet. Hunt recommends a 300-word toast that lasts two to three minutes. There’s fizzy to slurp, after all.
- Focus on the bride and groom. “Think about the things they want to hear on their wedding day,” says Hunt. “That the couple looks happy together, that the bride looks beautiful. Tell a personal story about their happiness.”
- Keep it light. Get ’em to laugh in the first minute, and you’ll loosen up, too. “You’ll realize that your audience is a group of humans,” he says.
- Be intimidated. “You’re speaking to a warm and friendly audience that’s there for the bride and groom,” Hunt says. “You’re not speaking to your board of directors.”
- Wing it. Because your speech may go in unintended directions. “I tell my clients to write it out. It helps formulate your thoughts and give you structure.”
- Be a tough guy. It’s a wedding — go ahead and get a little misty. “It’s hard for some guys,” Hunt says, “but don’t shy away from sentimentality.”