Asked to speak at a wedding? Here’s a short sample of just about everything you should avoid:
Seriously, here are three tips to follow for a successful toast:
1. Speak up.
The big mistake most people make when speaking at weddings is not being loud enough. Everyone there really wants to hear what you have to say-don't make them struggle to hear you. You'll probably have a handheld mic-pretend it's an ice cream cone and hold it very close to your chin. If you hear your voice on the speakers, that's a good thing-don't let it freak you out.
2. Tell Stories and avoid reading.
You can certainly have some notes to jog your memory, but try to keep it conversational, not word-perfect formal. When you're reading, it can come across like a book report. When you're crafting your speech, speak out loud what you want to say instead of sitting down to write it out. It will be more conversational as a result. Tell stories and shine a light on the member of the celebrated couple you share a history with. Focus on specific events and re-play them remembering to use sensory details (as if you're a movie camera revealing the scene). Some places to start are:
-How has their life changed since meeting the bride/groom?
-What are the qualities they share?
-When did they first tell you about meeting their future better half, and what did they say?
3. Practice, practice, practice.
This is a once in a lifetime event (usually), so take time to prepare. Go through your speech out loud, while standing, multiple times. Record the audio on your phone, or better yet, video it. When you listen back, does it sound like you're telling a great story to a good friend? Practice holding something similar to a mic when you're going through your run-throughs (a stapler, flashlight, etc.) so you get used to holding something in your hand. The more you practice, the better it'll get.