So you have to give a Finger Lakes Winery Wedding toast or speech. What makes a great wedding toast or speech? It’s not easy, that’s for sure. Getting up in front of your family, friends, loved ones and probably strangers too and talking in public let alone about someone important to you can be a daunting task. Over the years as a Wedding DJ and MC I have seen the good, the bad, the ugly, the AWESOME and the OUT OF THIS WORLD level of toasts and speeches.
Having even a remote idea of what you are going to say is a necessary start. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone “wing it” and try to speak off the cuff. “Hey, if I have a few drinks and calm down a little bit, what could go wrong?” Well? A lot! You may not come off looking good, the person you are toasting may be offended, the guests might be also in the fact that you didn’t take even a brief amount of time to collect your thoughts and jot down a simple outline.
On the flip side, some of the really good wedding toasts and speeches I’ve witnessed over the years did come off mostly extemporaneously with the speaker using an outline or notes and predetermined order to their toast but speaking from the heart. If you’re confident you can pull this off and deliver a great toast.
You’re reading this so you have either found this article via google search or had the good fortune to come across this in perusing the web to put together the Best Man or Maid or Matron of Honor Speech at your friends or family members wedding. Welcome! You must be pretty important for them to task and trust you with this duty and honor so lets make you look like a star!
What’s your style? A little, or even a lot of humor are always welcome and a crowd pleaser but not everyone can pull it off. That being said, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Many speeches Ive watched over the years were technically “ok” but because the speaker, who wasn’t naturally a jokester or comedian made the effort, was organized and delivered a confident funny speech, it brought the house down and many compliments. Maybe you are funny, try being sentimental. Show a side that those who know you don’t often see to add depth to your speech.
A good balance of humor and sentiment is my go too and what I have seen guests and the guests of honor respond the best too over the years. Starting with a joke or funny story about you and the guest of honor is a good icebreaker and way to begin your speech.
After you’ve warmed up the crowd, maybe even embarrassed or made the bride and groom laugh it’s time to highlight your guest of honors strengths and your bond and to convey to the audience why you are standing there giving this important speech on this persons special day. It may seem hard but don’t overthink it. What about this person makes you friends? What bonds you together? What makes you proud or like this person? Share that with the group. Most times it can be communicated via a story or experience that defines your relationship. Or, it could be what I call a “postcard moment”. Those brief snapshots in your memory of a person or experience that when you think of it or them, that’s what you see or comes to mind.
One of the oddest but most memorable Finger Lakes Winery Wedding toasts i was present for was a best man who told a story of a Russian/Siberian Gulag and how it reminded him of the amazing relationship he had with the groom. I wish I could remember the setup and delivery but I can’t. What I do remember is the unique story/analogy and the way the crowd was relieved and understanding once the best man tied the story together and made it make sense. What am I saying? Don’t be afraid to get creative in describing your relationship with the guest of honor even in a weird or different way. Most likely your friendship is weird, ha!
After you have established what an amazing, caring, funny, (insert quality here) person you are toasting, it’s time to talk too and about his or her new spouse. If you have a relationship with this person, let’s hear about it. If you don’t, share with the guests the positive affect they’ve had on the bride or groom since they’ve entered their life. A fun or sentimental story about your relationship with them or a story about the couples relationship is a great choice here.
Ok, now it time to take some time to thank anyone who had a hand in assisting you with this speech, the days events and to convey to the audience that your toast and speech is coming to an end.
If you don’t do or use any of the above please use and at least do this. Reset your speech, thank and state or restate your sentiments and best wishes to the couple and then have everyone raise a glass and share a toast to the new couple. This is imperative! If you have a special or fun toast to close out your speech its always a nice way to end.
You don’t have to do this alone! If the guest of honor has a great DJ/MC for their Finger Lakes Winery Wedding, hint hint… we/they can be a great asset. Maybe you want to tie a song or movie clip/quote into your toast for comedic or dramatic effect. We can help. Don’t be shy or afraid to reach out the the MC to ask questions about the timeline or order so you can be assured that your speech is the success you want it to be. I promise you, the DJ/MC wants you to kill it too! If we can help we will.
Props: I’ve seen speakers use props for both comedic and dramatic effect. I once had a best man put a movie poster of Harry and Lloyd from Dumb & Dumber on an easel as a backdrop and provide himself and the groom with the iconic bright top hats and canes from the same movie during the toast to describe a visual representation of their relationship. The props alone were cute but the preparation and delivery made it memorable. Props can be a big hit .
Combine forces: A number of brides and grooms have more than one person speaking on their behalf. If you find yourself in this scenario an attractive and fun option is to combine your speeches. If you go this route make sure the DJ or MC is aware so they can accommodate extra microphones or assist you with any necessary equipment.
Practice Makes Perfect: You have a mirror and a smartphone. Use those to practice and get comfortable leading up to the big speech. Have your roommate, friend or fiend watch and give you some feedback.
Leave Power Point in the Board or Classroom Where it Belongs: Many of us have been subject to dry boring power point presentations at work. Don’t bore your audience by doing this during a speech. Audio and Video as an aid or prop is a great tool and resource but do so in moderation and you should be giving the speech, not a flat vide presentation.
Need more help with your Finger Lakes Winery Wedding toast? Here are a few links to speech resources and websites with additional helpful information.
The Best Man Speech: https://www.thebestmanspeech.com/
Top Wedding Sites-Speeches: https://www.topweddingsites.com/wedding-blog/category/guides-tools
Theft is the ultimate form of flattery”. It doesn’t hurt to visit YouTube or Vimeo and search for examples of other great wedding toasts. Here’s a video to give you a start.