Monday, April 12, 2010

Day 4
Tips on Toasts

Deciding Who & When

The couples first step is deciding who is giving a toast, and the order of the toasts. Then, informing the guests. No one should feel forced to give a toast. If the best man is very uncomfortable speaking before a large audience, the maid of honor or the bride's father can step in for him.

Martha Stewart has some advice for you if you have a feeling a lot of your guests will want to give toasts. “Consider limiting the reception to the traditional toasts (from the best man, parents, bride and groom) and ask others to give their speeches at the rehearsal dinner. This gathering of family and close friends is more relaxed than the reception; there's less need for time limits, and a string of heartwarming stories will add to the light mood (though the best man could serve as emcee to keep things moving).”

The best time for toasts totally depends on your weddings timeline to find that perfect spot. Many couples do this around the meal, having all the speeches occur once everyone is seated, or spacing them between the courses. Another opportune moment is before or after cutting the cake, when the crowd is already gathered (and a little loosened up from a drink or two).

What to Say
Tips from Martha on the perfect toast.

While you'll certainly want your words to come from the heart, you are not expected to wing it when you get up there. A few weeks beforehand, collect your thoughts and decide what you will say. Practice reciting your toast a few times until it's familiar and comfortable.

Be personal
The best toasts include personal accounts of first encounters or good times together; a wedding is not the place to dredge up embarrassing tales or old romances. Inside jokes will be lost on others, so make sure to tell a story that everyone can appreciate. If you're good at it, humor will surely be well-received, but don't force it. Just be yourself.

Keep it short
A toast can be as brief as a few sentences, and it should not go on for more than three minutes. Any longer and guests may lose interest — especially if there are many speakers still to come.

Write it down
Although you should not read word-for-word from a note card, jotting down some key points can help you remember all you want to say and do so with confidence.

Stay calm
It's normal to be nervous. As you rise to give your toast, take a deep breath, look at the person you're toasting, and speak directly to him or her. And remember to speak slowly.

Wish them well
A toast to the bride and groom should end with hopeful wishes for a happy future. Offer personal advice, or pull inspiration from historical quotes, literature, even song lyrics —whatever represents your true sentiments. The final gesture is, of course, to raise a glass and take a sip.

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