Tips for the Best Man (or woman) Toast

 In Etiquette, Wedding Tips & Trends from the LOLA Pros

Please welcome my guest blogger for the week – Honorary LOLA and my Best Man in life, my husband Bryan…  I have witnessed his toasts and they are always SPECTACULAR.  I followed his rules myself when toasting him at our own wedding reception pictured here (I think it is easy to see how the photos tie in with his interesting choice of wardrobe – which is another story for another day)…

RULES FOR TOASTING:

I have witnessed dozens of best man speeches.  There have been the tear-jerking sentimental, bro-hugging toasts honoring mom and dad and the lovely bride; the boring, mundane and monotone recital from a crumpled bar napkin; as well as the infamous champagne spilling, incoherent jabbering of an unprepared best man.  When I was asked twice to be the Best Man, I felt it was my duty to honor my friendship with a toast that made ‘em laugh, made ‘em cry and most importantly, it’s what every Best Man should strive for, the sentimental heart-warming sigh of love that washes over the room at the end.

I am not a great public speaker.  I am not a gregarious entertainer.  I am simply a buddy who was asked to be a best man and wanted to really step up and give it my all.  And as a result, I’ve been told on several occasions that my toasts are the best people have ever witnessed.  Below I have highlighted my 3 simple steps to a great best man speech:

Step 1 – Introduction

Briefly introduce yourself and how you know the groom and then thank the hosts and parents for a wonderful evening.  Giving some brief background on who you are and how you know the wedding party helps the crowd identify with you.  Most likely, the parents have paid for the wedding so it’s certainly flattering to kiss up and thank them for a wonderful evening.  This first step needs to be direct, heartfelt, charming and brief.  But it’s a great ice breaker leading into

Step 2. – Make ‘Em Laugh

Tell a funny story that revolves around you and the bride and groom, not your relationship with just the groom.  It’s the brideand groom’s day, not yours.  This story could be how you first met the bride or how your best friend told you about this new girl he is dating.  It is vital to not insult anyone.  This story must be PG and have romance and humor.  If you need to embellish a little to make it wholesome, then do so.  If you think a funny drinking story will kill, you are wrong.  If you feel its time to unleash some jokes about marriage or insults about the groom, stop.  The story needs to be touching and connect with everyone from Grandma Olivia to the teenage nieces and nephews.  And if you want to take it to the next level, I recommend involving:

·         Props

·         Audio / Visual

·         Other bridesmaids and groomsmen

Step 3. – Make It Heartfelt

After you have the audience laughing with you, not at you, its time to wrap up the toast and leave them wanting more.  The key here is to blend some of the details from the funny story into the importance of love, friendship, and marriage.  This is where you want to hear that sentimental, loving sigh wash over the audience as moms dab tears from the corner of their eyes and your buddies give you a head nod that says “well played, sir”.  At this point, ask the crowd to raise their glass and make a one sentence poignant, simple and heartfelt final toast.

A final piece of advice – KEEP IT BRIEF – 2-4 Minutes is longer than it sounds.  I also strongly recommend memorizing your speech.  Spend time rehearsing the words and delivery and if you need some prompting, bring a small, palm size notecard with a general outline of your toast.  What other opportunity will you have to entertain a room full of people hanging on your every word?  Your best friend deserves the time and effort so be prepared and deliver a toast that will always be remembered.

Good luck!

Bryan a.k.a. Mr “LO”

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