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Guest Post: How to Write A Toast

March 23, 2011

We’ve seen a lot of amazing toasts in our day and if we’re being honest, many inappropriate ones. It can be tricky to find the balance between attention grabbing, funny yet still meaningful & tasteful, but on a wedding day, it’s an important balance to strike. As we’re certainly not the experts on toast writing, we engaged Julie Sobotky, Author of CONSIDER IT DONE: Accomplish 228 of Life’s Trickiest Tasks
to share her top reminders for toasts. Feel free to use this yourself or pass it along to that crazy best man who has a tendency to over share.  
 

From Julie:

·         IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU: The number one key to a successful toast it to make it about the couple or guests you are toasting. Don’t talk about yourself. It’s fine to let people in on some little secret, but if you’re going to include yourself in the story, you’d better make it something really funny or interesting. Honestly, no one cares about how much beer the two of you used to drink in college. Think of something great to say about the person.

·         KEEP IT TASTEFUL: Is the room full of family and aged relatives, or close childhood friends? The latter gives you a little more permission to tell all. Still, unless it’s a bachelor or bachelorette party, keep it PG, or at least PG-13. And though some teasing is fine, don’t go overboard. Nothing will make a bride madder than too many jokes at her or her beloved’s expense. Make sure you steer clear of humor involving sex, physical features, or any other areas that might offend. Jokes should be short and sweet, like the rest of your toast.

·         BE BRIEF: This is perhaps the most important rule of toast writing. Whatever the occasion, you’re making people put their meals and conversations on hold while they listen to you, so once you cross the five-minute line, you’re in dangerous territory. Rehearse your toast beforehand and time yourself, keeping in mind that there will (hopefully) be pauses for laughter.

 

·         GET PERSONAL: Start by jotting down a few key things about the person you are planning to toast. These should be personal, but not too personal (no embarrassing childhood anecdotes), and specific. The more you celebrate the person’s unique personality traits, the better.

·         FOLLOW THE FORMULA: A good plan for success is this: introduction (briefly state who you are and your relationship to the couple), joke, joke, a few heartfelt words (not too many—or you may come off as too heavy or corny, and you’ll lose the crowd), then raise a glass. And before you sit back down, don’t forget to acknowledge and thank the audience.

·         ADD A TWIST: Remember, you can always do something out of the ordinary. Have the couple sit back-to-back. Have them remove their shoes and instruct them to keep one of their own shoes and hand their other shoe to the other person. You will then read a series of questions and have them vote by holding up the shoe. The shoe they hold up is who they are voting for. Questions can be anything you choose, for example: Who is a better dresser?  Who calls their mother more? Whose mother calls more? Keep it to five minutes, and then, end with the heartfelt words. This is a crowd-pleaser and a great way to get both bride and groom involved.

And finally, IT’S ALWAYS GOOD TO USE A QUOTE AND HAVE NOTES. But don’t write the whole toast out, or you’ll sound inauthentic and rehearsed. The key to writing a toast in advance is making it seem you like you didn’t.

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