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If the thought of having your fiancé’s best friend—yes, the one infamous for leading the pack at the annual bar crawls in Hoboken—stand up and speak in front of your great-grandmother and your father’s business cronies has you just a bit apprehensive, you’re not alone. This is a common fear that many brides encounter. After all, what plays well to group of 20-somethings at one o’clock in the morning is not exactly the same material you’d want retold at your wedding. As much as he may think otherwise, that hysterical story from college fraternity days just won’t have the same effect when told to 200 of your closest friends and family. And your wedding day is certainly not the time for you to hear of prior antics for the first time.
So read through our suggestions, and emphatically insist that your best man and maid of honor follow our simple guide to writing a toast so that it will be memorable for all the right reasons. And remember that wedding toasts are not what they used to be. These days it’s all about creativity and “customizing” all the details of your day. So if you really can’t trust the best man with the mike, get in on the act and toast each other!
Don’t Drink & Toast
Certainly we’ve all witnessed the nightmare of a best man who’s had one too many toasting the married couple. This is clearly not what you want your guests to remember about your wedding day. In fact, Diana Crisci, senior vice president of catering sales at Ome Caterers in Manhattan and Whippany has seen her share of forgettable toasts and says it’s critical to stay sober until after you’re finished. Crisci also suggests the following:
-Do keep your jacket and tie on (if you are the best man) or at least stay as put together as possible.
-Do wish the happy couple a lifetime of happiness. It’s best not to say anything about children, as that can sometimes be a sensitive issue.
-Do share a sweet story about either or both, keeping it simple and tasteful.
-Don’t talk about ex-boyfriends or girlfriends.
-Don’t be negative.
And “be sure to tell your band leader or deejay that they should not allow any other guest to give a toast without discussing it with you first,” adds Crisci.
The ABCs of Wedding Toasts
First and foremost, determine the order of who’s doing what, and inform the speakers so they are not at the bar when it’s their time to shine. Scheduling the toasts at a time when you have a captive audience is key. Many couples decide to do this after the first dance or right before dinner is served. If you’re giving the toast, take some time weeks before the big day and write down your thoughts. You may have a myriad of feelings about the couple but are unable to put them into words. Here are some ideas to set the wheels in motion:
-What do friends and family say about the couple?
-Why do they complement each other so well?
-Do they have shared interests or passions?
-Are they more Romeo and Juliet or Bonnie and Clyde?
Take a walk down memory lane in your toast, and don’t forget to explain your connection to the newlyweds. The most memorable toasts include personal stories that can still be appreciated by the guests. One best man we know recited a “Top 10” list of why he thought the newlyweds were so perfect together. When in doubt—use humor. The final gesture is to raise your glass and drink to the newlyweds. Remember (if you’re especially nervous) that this is not about you. You only get one shot at making the toast, so stay calm and remember to speak slowly.
Andy Bott, co-owner of Merri-Makers Caterers in Edison with six locations at the Jersey Shore recalls a creative toast that included a clever prop made by the best man. “He said he was up all night writing the toast and he promised that it wouldn’t be too long,” says Bott. “Then he took a stack of accordion fashion print-out computer paper and dropped it to the floor. When the guests’ laughter subsided he gave a very sincere and short toast.”