1. Choose the right speakers. The bride and groom should give serious thought to who they chose to speak at their wedding. The act of public speaking can be absolutely terrifying to some people—yet they’re cast into a role (as best man or maid of honor) that requires them to deliver a speech to several hundred people. Give them an “out” if necessary—or offer to pre-record their toast in advance so the DJ can play it.
2. Limit the number of speakers. No matter how good the lineup of speakers might be, there is a limit to the guests’ attention span. A rule of thumb is that the “formal” part of a wedding reception (like most any corporate event) should be scheduled for after dinner, and that the total time allotted for it should be about 20 minutes. Tailor your speaker lineup accordingly.
3. Brides and grooms (and other decision-makers) should nail down a pre-approved event agenda that clearly spells out who is going to offer toasts. List all whom shall toast on the planner.
4. Brief speakers in advance. Most people asked to make a wedding toast have no idea what to say and what to expect. Educate them in advance about the need to focus their toast on the bride and groom (“It’s about them, not you”); to personalize their toast and honor the wedding couple (“It’s a toast, not a roast”); and to limit their talk to a maximum of three or four minutes.
5. Prep; Encourage them to get started early. Most people tend to procrastinate in preparing a wedding toast. Then they panic and scribble something down on the back of a napkin on the day of the wedding. Suggest to them that the quality of their toast will be in direct proportion to their level of preparation. A well-considered, thoughtful toast that’s rehearsed in advance is their prescription for success at the moment the spotlight is on them.
6. Pre-approve their material. Some brides require all wedding toasters to submit their speech in writing in order to earn the right to speak. While that can help ensure quality control, it might be a little much for some folks. As an alternative, you might simply offer to review their toast and provide feedback if they send it to you no later than ten days prior to the wedding.
7. Encourage them to rehearse in advance. One of the reasons people tend to ramble on too long with their toast is that they simply have no sense of what they can actually cover in three or four minutes. Suggest they rehearse in advance and time themselves.
8. Coach them on the day of the wedding. People who rehearse their toast in the actual room where the reception is to take place tend to be a lot more comfortable when they go live. Encourage them to do so—and allow them to rehearse with the microphone. a. Speak directly into the microphone. b. Hold the mic near your chin.
9. Invest in a lectern. Have you ever tried to hold a microphone in one hand and your speaking notes/champagne flute in the other? Make it easy for toasters by providing an actual lectern for them to use in spreading out their speaking notes. Many Venues have a lectern or podium.
Should you have any questions or comments please feel free to email us any time.