My best tip for these toasts is to prepare in advance, do not wing it unless you are some sort of improv genius comedian. I would say don't try to wing it on the day, or don't write it the day before. If you really care about this person, they have asked you and honored you to speak about them to all of their guests, so make sure that you are starting your toast draft at least a week - two weeks, however long before refining it, perhaps read it to somebody your significant, other your parent another friend see how they think about it. I think you really can't over prepare for this. I have seen so many toasts that are just honestly either underwhelming overly embarrassing, or inappropriate, or just really sloppily put together, and there's only a couple toasts that I've ever witnessed that still stick out in my mind as a beautiful toast, or hilarious toast, or just something that is memorable and great for the guests.
The second thing is to keep it short and sweet. I would say do not take more than three to four minutes for your toast, I would say take even less time if the couple has chosen four plus people to give toasts. At that point, you're gonna want to stick to around two minutes tops, but I would say do not go more than four minutes. I have had my fair share of toasts that went on four five six seven eight minutes, everybody in the room is so tired of hearing that toast, at that point you're rambling you're not really adding more to it. So shorter is better, I would say quality over quantity any day, and that applies to so many things in life, so keep it short and sweet, make sure that you are not droning on and on and on, make sure somebody proofreads it for you.
The next tip is, it's kind of fun to talk about some things that might tease the couple a little bit, but please do not overdo it. Know your audience, this is not a group of men on the bachelor trip, this is a group of people who is related to the couple, their parents, their grandparents. There might be young kids in attendance, so keep it appropriate enough, so that you're not going to upset people who are there. I attended one wedding once where the maid of honor’s toast was so wildly inappropriate that the parents of the bride were honestly so upset and understandably, so this was so raunchy over-the-top. There were some way too personal details shared, it was awful, and it was so so so bad, and that is the one toast that sticks out in my mind as the worst I have ever heard because it was wildly inappropriate, and there were children there, she was cursing left and right, she was talking about bride's body parts and how the groom liked them. It was horrible, so please do not do that, that is not the place for it, you can kind of tease a little bit if you think it's appropriate, but don't share anecdotes, and don't use words that are going to upset the couple or their parents or grandparents, you know it's okay to throw one little inappropriate joke in here there if it fits, but again know your audience, know that you were speaking to their friends and family and people that are important to them, their bosses from their jobs might also be there, so please please keep it as clean and appropriate as possible, yes you can still be funny that way. I'm just saying don't go over the top, don't say things that are too risky, just play it safer.
Another tip is to make sure that whatever format you're reading off of whether it be memory, which is definitely the most impressive, and it looks the best or if it's a piece of paper. I recommend having it be somewhat smaller, so it's not a bunch of crumpled papers all over the place or your phone, I do see people using their phone and I personally don't have a problem with that, I think that if you can practice your speech enough to the point where you have it memorized, and don't need notes. that is the most impressive, but that is kind of hard to do especially if you are not accustomed to public speaking, that can be a little bit too difficult, but I encourage you to at least practice it enough so that you know what the speech is in your mind, even if you have notes, that will just help you go over it more smoothly, and the more practice the better of a speaker you will be.
My last tip is more content wise, so typically speeches should introduce who the maid of honor or the best man is. People don't always know who you are, so if you just start toasting, they might have a question that who is this person? Is this the bride's sister? Is it a college roommate? Is it just her best friend from work? Is it the groom's? You know closest friend since childhood. Introduce your name and how you know the couple, that's a great way to start this off and give a really great context for what is to come. So after you've done that, my favorite technique for toast is storytelling, so if you can tell one big picture story or one specific story, and then relate that to the character or the relationship of the couple, that is very powerful. If you just start talking about facts and a couple memories, and you never really have a big picture point to it, that is not as captivating. Nor there's nothing wrong with that, but I would say if you can include a story that weaves throughout, the point of your entire toast, and it comes to a wonderful conclusion, and a really solid ending, that is going to be a killer toast that everyone will love, and people will remember for years to come, and maybe you're gonna get yourself asked to do toasts at the future weddings. Whether you like it or not, but I think definitely put some effort into this, write it out, do some drafts, take it seriously. I would say almost act like you're presenting this in college or grade school, but it's just a lot more personal and fun, but take it that seriously in terms of drafting it, revising it, making sure it's really well polished, because I'll say a lot of people think, oh this isn't that big of a deal, I can just kind of give this little toast, I'm gonna write it, and then just say it, yeah, that's not really the best toast every now and then that works out for somebody who just is very charismatic and a great storyteller, but the more that you prepare for this, the better it will be. So I hope you enjoyed this tip if you've read this as a bridesmaid or a groomsman or a family member.