It is so easy to blow a wedding toast. We hear a lot of mediocre toasts every month and a lot of really bad ones. Occasionally, we hear a gem. If you’d prefer to deliver a wedding toast disaster, here are 10 tips:

1. Make it long

Most toasts are way too long. Ten minutes are a disaster. Three to five minutes are better only if your toast is impeccably crafted and delivered. One to two minutes is better.

2. Talk about the happy couple’s former boyfriends, girlfriends, or spouses

Okay, bad idea. If I have to explain why, you should be fired as a toaster. Watch a funny example from “Four Weddings and a Funeral” above for a demonstration.

3. Talk dirty

Lace your toast with sexual references and profanity. On the other hand, you might want to remember that grannie, pastor Bob and Aunt Lydia may be listening.

4. Get drunk

Everyone loves to hear a rambling toast delivered with lots of slobber and slurred speech. Not.

5. Embarrass the happy couple

Not! Not only does this pain the bride or groom, but the guests as well. Build up the stars of the day, not tear them down.

6. Tell old stories no one cares about

Talk about a prescription for boredom! The best stories are those that occurred after the couple met. If you tell an old story about either spouse, make it an example of his his/her great character as a person. For example:

[Opening]: 

“I am truly honored to toast the marriage of [Bride’s Name] and [Groom’s Name].

I’ve never been one to pay any attention to people who claim that they can predict the future.  But guess what, I’m going to predict the future:  I see a happy, fulfilling married life stretching out before you two, and I could not be happier.

Looking out at this great group of your family and friends who’ve come to witness this watershed event, I can see that they agree with me.

The truth is, I don’t need a crystal ball to know that good things await you in your married life, because I know [Groom’s Name].

[Provide personal anecdote]: 

We met when we were in college.  We had nothing in common.  I’m short, he’s tall.  I’m a Packer’s fan; he’s a Cowboys fan.  I’m really good looking.  And he’s … well, he’s even better looking!

But we both had this thing for rock climbing.  I tell you what, if you want to get to know someone, go rock climbing with him.

I don’t know how many times we went out.  It’s a lot.  One time stood out.  We were walking on a precipice some twenty feet above a lake.  We heard some splashing in the water below.  Suddenly, some kid started screaming like I’ve never heard screaming before in my life.  His dog was in the water … and apparently drowning.

Now I thought that God had hard-wired the dog paddle into every dog ever born.  But this one must have been a mutant, because it was going down for the last count.

Before I could even fully process the situation, [Groom’s Name] made a mighty leap into the lake below.  I’ve got to admit, I couldn’t have done it.  But he did.  Within seconds, he had the scared pup in his arms and back onto dry land in minutes.

You should’ve seen that kid’s face.  I’ll never forget it.  I’ll never forget what you did that day.

[Bring bride into the toast]: 

Now, imagine what a guy like that would do for a friend.  Even more, imagine what a man like that would do for the woman he loves.

I can attest to the fact, [Bride’s Name], that [Groom’s Name] loves you more than anything … or anyone he’s ever loved in his life.

When he spoke that line in the vows about loving you even in ‘sickness and in health, in good times and in bad,’ well he meant it.

And since I’ve gotten to know you and discover what an incredibly wonderful person you are too, [Bride’s Name], I know you meant those vows every bit as much as [Groom’s Name].  You are a beautiful person on the outside, but even more importantly, on the inside.

Some people would say that it’s destiny that brought you together.  Well, I would suggest God had something to do with it.  Yes, I maintain that the creator of the universe surely pulled some strings to bring you two together, because you are so right for each other.

[Close by telling the audience specifically what they’re supposed to do]:

On this day of celebration, I ask each of you to raise your glass and join me in paying tribute to Mr. and Mrs. [Couple’s Last Name].”

7. Talk about yourself alot

Even more, practice one-upmanship. The video example below from the movie “Bridesmaids” demonstrates the (hysterical) flaw in this approach:

8. Overreact to your own material

Guffaw at inside jokes. Start blubbering uncontrollably. Actually, no one appreciates it. Rehearse your toast in advance so you are in full control.

9. Target the bride and groom alone

Ignore the guests. This is a great way to lose your audience. However, if you want to win over your audience, INCLUDE the guests in your toast.

10. Forget to make a toast

Don’t raise your glass at the end. Don’t ask guests to do the same. Just walk away when you’re done rambling. On the other hand, you can bring your toast to a natural close with these words:

“Ladies and gentlemen, together let us raise our glasses to honor this extraordinary couple!”

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