Make Your Wedding Toast a Highlight!
Part 2 – Tips For the Toasters
Two weeks ago, I switched up the normal programming for this blog to offer some practical advice for brides and grooms on how to set up those who were going to give toasts at their wedding. Now, let’s shift our attention to the people that are going to be giving a wedding toast to the bride and groom!
Public speaking, right? I know. It’s unpleasant. You’re standing in front of everyone and trying not to feel embarrassed. You know what? That’s incredibly normal. You may think, “But DJ Josh. Being on the microphone is what you do FOR A LIVING. Of course, it’s easy for you.” Easy might be an overstatement. But before I became comfortable with public speaking, I would have probably had a similar perspective on giving a toast: Cringe, hide, or RUN AWAY!
But, I promise. There are things that you can do to help your toast be the highlight of the bride and groom’s wedding. Let’s begin, shall we?
Here’s something to remember…
The newlywed couple want YOU to be a part of their wedding
Think about that for a second. Out of all the people that they know, you have risen to the top of the list for them to ask you to give a speech at their wedding. How COOL is that? Seriously. They care about and think so highly of you that they are devoting three to five minutes of their wedding to let you speak on their behalf. That’s pretty awesome.
Tips to Make Your Wedding Toast a Highlight
Don’t Wing Your Speech
Seriously. Don’t wing it. I wouldn’t wing a toast. And I speak on a mic as part of my job. You shouldn’t either. There’s a saying that goes, “Weddings bring out the best and the worst in people.” It’s not wise to wait until the wedding to find out what effect it will have on you.
Even if you end up winging it anyway, the act of writing out your speech is going to help collect your thoughts and allow you to focus on the important things you wanted to say about the bride and groom.
Write Your Speech
Since writing a speech is a subject worthy of its own blog, here are three great articles to get you on the right track to creating that highlight speech that the bride and groom will LOVE.
Practice Your Speech
Yep. In addition to writing out the speech, which is a form of practice, give your speech. Multiple times. Words feel different written down than when you say them out loud. Not only is this going to make the toast sound better, but you’ll also feel comfortable when you give it. Take me for example. Even after the 60+ events that I’ve been a part of, I still do a run-through of the grand entrance for each wedding I DJ/MC. It’s too important of a moment for me to not practice it before their wedding. You’ll be thankful you did when you give the speech!
Give Your Speech
You’ve written the speech. You’ve practiced it several times. The happy couple is now a newlywed couple. Now the DJ/MC has announced that you are next up to give your speech!
While you’re giving your speech, try to keep these things in mind:
Keep the Mic Close
I realize for someone who doesn’t use a microphone very often that this isn’t second nature. This is a particular issue for those that are expressive with their hands. If it helps, practice your speech with something in your hand like a comb or a small bottle of shampoo. I always tell people that are about to give a toast to keep the mic right under their chin.
Talk Into the Mic
I tell everyone who is about to give the speech to talk into the mic and, as they are speaking, I will adjust it to their voice accordingly. Everyone projects differently, so sometimes it may take me a few seconds from when you begin talking to when the level will be appropriate for your voice. It is a much better option to have to bring the mic level up than have the screech of feedback if the mic volume is set too high
A Hands-Free Option
Because of COVID… I am going to have a dedicated wireless mic on a mic stand for toasts. It reduces the possibility of exposure you might have by holding a microphone that someone else has held. Also, if you wrote something down (instead of winging it) you don’t have to worry about holding the mic at all. Win-win!
General Closing Thoughts
The pressure that you may feel when thinking about giving a toast at a wedding is mostly self-inflicted. Unless you’re a professional speaker, no one is expecting you to give a perfect speech. What most guests appreciate about toasts is the same thing they appreciate about most elements of a wedding: that it is authentic to who the couple is. As long as you hold true to that in your toast, the guests, but most importantly the couple, will enjoy it.
I forgot to mention something. Oddly enough, toasts are my favorite part of a wedding. Especially because I’m not usually as familiar with the people giving them as the bride and groom, I come in with minimal expectations about their personality. Sometimes toasts are hilarious. They’re sometimes sentimental. Sometimes the emotions of the moment overwhelm the person giving the toast and they choke and shed a tear (or more than a few). All of that is ok and really makes the bride and groom’s wedding its own experience.
Their wedding is a way to tell the story of their life up to this point. And that story wouldn’t be told the same if you were not a part of it. If you follow these steps, you will not only help to tell it for them. You will also get to be a part of the wedding that you helped make a highlight!
This week on Make Your Wedding a Highlight, I talk to Madison Smiedendorf from The Pearl about an often misunderstood form of wedding: an elopement. This is episode 5, so there are 4 other episodes for you to check out if you haven’t listened to it, yet. Oh, and if you enjoy it, please subscribe and write a review on your favorite podcasting platform.