Slate’s Troy Patterson wrote a piece on how to deliver a wedding toast. It’s a good list. In fact, #3 on Patterson’s list is similar to one of my own.
I don’t disagree with any of Patterson’s rules. What I suspect, however, is that Patterson has not listened to more than a thousand wedding toasts over the course of his lifetime.
As a wedding DJ with almost 20 years of experience, I have.
As a result, I have become keenly aware of some of the simple but shockingly common mistakes that people make when delivering a toast. So while Patterson’s list centers on what makes a good toast, my list leans towards the mistakes most common during a wedding toast.
After almost two decades in the wedding industry, I have seen them all.
And so I give you:
Matthew Dicks' Rules for Delivering a Successful Wedding Toast
1. There is no need to introduce yourself at the beginning of your toast. If you are important enough to be speaking, everyone who needs to know who you are already knows who you are.
2. Speak into the microphone, damn it. You can’t imagine how often this rule is ignored, even after I provide clear instruction and an opportunity for practice prior to the toast. This rule is most often violated by women who think that the microphone should be held like a bouquet of flowers.
3. Do not talk about the weather. You would be shocked by the number of times a best man feels the need to review the weather conditions for the day thus far at the onset of his toast.
4. Compliment the bride as many times as possible. Say nothing negative.
5. Do not tell inside jokes or make references only understood by the bride and groom. You are not speaking to two people or even your small collection of college friends. You are speaking to everyone in the room. Make your toast accessible to all.
6. Embarrassing stories about the groom are acceptable as long as they do not involve women, excessive alcohol and drug use, law enforcement officers, or bodily fluids.
7. Make the goal of your wedding toast to say something about the bride and groom that is not already universally known by the guests and will serve to enhance their opinion or knowledge of the bride and groom as a result.
8. Actually make a toast. Do not deliver a speech and sit down without raising a glass to the bride and groom. Even though I remind every person who is giving a toast about this rule, it is by far the one forgotten most often.