Everything is at stake in a wedding toast. What people worry about is that they’re going to get up and make a fool of themselves. There are a lot of do’s and there’s a lot of don’ts. Wedding toasts can go really, really bad. It’s a lot to get right, and it’s a lot to get wrong. But a great toast, that is special, and that’s what your guests are not going to forget. There comes a time in everyone’s life when they meet their one true love. That moment came for George 25 years ago, when he met me. Originally, the idea of a toast was two guys, big dudes probably with chalices, clanking their pewter goblets together in the hopes that a little bit of your liquid would go into mine, and my liquid would go into yours, so that I could make sure that you were trying to poison me. And that’s a toast. The wedding toast, it’s a time honored tradition.
It’s totally expected that a toast will be given at the wedding reception, and that it be meaningful, and really encompass who the couple is. The wedding toast is an art form. It’s the ability to connect with a large group of people and to make it seem like I’m talking right to you. You’ve been elected as a representative of these two people, and if you nail it, they seem more intelligent, they seem better looking, they seem more popular. Sometimes we don’t want to see people succeed when they give their toast. “He didn’t ask me to give a toast! Who’s this jerk that he didn’t ask you to give a toast?” For the next forty years, people are going to look back at that speech and be like, you know what, that guy is cool. Or you’re going to start off, and be like, you know what, that guy is kind of a loser.
Be yourself, the couple chose you, they know exactly the type of person you are. I’m a builder, I like to measure things. You can’t measure the power in this room. Just share your heart, and let it flow. To a great night, to two great people. Congratulations, I love you both. I love you both. I love you both. People say start with a joke, which conceptually is right. Growing up, we were polar opposites. He was smart and driven, I was and still am incredibly good looking. But really what you want to do is start with something that is meaningful and impactful. I hit the jackpot. I picked up a son, and I picked up two grandsons. Structure it in threes: the beginning, the middle, and the end. Tell something about the past, tell something about the present, and give a hope for the future.
May there always be lots of delicious wine for you to drink together. Part of the perfect toast is telling a story. A story that really connects the entire audience to the couple and is very telling of them. Like, it’s so him, it’s so her. Make a list of just simple adjectives that you want people to know about your friend. Scotty is a wonderful friend. I love his loyalty. I’m amazed by Matt’s courage.
Focus on what is a story that best exemplifies that word. He’ll stand up to anyone, regardless of their size if they try to push past him at a rock concert. Did you ever see a guy with a gun shot wound trying to wave to a crowd? That’s what people who are receiving a bad toast have to do. Roasting the couple during a toast is a don’t. You want to stay to interesting stories that don’t involve risque behavior. To the stylish nurse who enjoys an occasional lap dance from an Asian Transvestite.
This is a reception, this is like the classy part of the wedding weekend. Usually with a lot of best men, it’s the frat story, the drunk story. One speech had the running theme that this guy liked to pee on his friends. He’s like our friends know about it. And I was like yeah but you’re six people and the wedding is 200. And one of those 200 people is like that guy’s grandmother. Great Shakespeare said it best, “brevity is the soul of wit.” I say keep speeches, wedding toasts, 3-4 minutes max. Rather you have them be like, oh I wish that was longer, than oh my god when will he stop. Having a great toast at the reception really does sort of tie it all up together.
People cry, and laugh at good speeches, in the same speech and that’s because the person’s present and they’re really feeling it. Having a great wedding toast, that’s one of the key factors to giving definition to this new life stage for this couple.
It’s an important part of the wedding.