Wedding Speeches: Is Yours a Toast or a Roast?

I tried to find the origins of the saying, everyone is a comedian or everyone thinks they are a comedian. While comedy goes back to ancient Greece, I couldn’t really find where this saying comes from.

I did uncover that with the advent of television, people were exposed to comedy more than ever before. So I wonder:  before we became addicted to sitcoms on TV, did people giving wedding toasts try so hard to be funny?

It seems to me that a lot of people think it is a wedding ROAST instead of a wedding TOAST! IT IS NOT!!! If you want to roast the bridegroom, do it at the Bachelor party. If you want to roast the bride, think better of it she probably has a really long memory.

A toast is an example of public speaking and therefore needs to follow the same rules as any other speech. Often, people think the rules of speaking do not apply: it’s ok to speak off the cuff, it’s ok to not practice, it’s ok to speak to only the bride or groom and forget that their 80 year old grandmother or great grandmother is in attendance and does not need to be reminded of their sexual behavior!

3 Wedding Toast Do’s

  1. Prepare – as with any speech you need to write it out in narrative or talking point format. You can’t know how long it is unless you prepare everything you are going to say.
  2. Practice – as with any speech, practice does not count unless it is out loud. In this case, practice in front of a speech professional or friend whose judgement you can trust. What may seem funny in your head, may not work so well when it comes out of your mouth.
  3. Plan – months of time have been devoted to the planning of this wedding. The bride’s dress, cake, touching vows need to be what is remembered by the guests, not the best man’s wedding toast. You need to plan what you will say that is authentic to you and to the person you are toasting, say it succinctly, with lightness and love. Plan on something that only you can add to this momentous occasion.

3 Wedding Toast Don’ts

  1. Roast not toast – every occasion has a sub set of rules. A eulogy is different than a retirement speech. The definition of a roast goes from good natured ridicule to criticism. Either one does not really belong in a wedding toast. A toast is a drink in honor of someone.
  2. Over share – you do not need to be the Google of the wedding, an encyclopedia of every embarrassing act you witnessed in which the bride or groom participated. Your job is to take the scalpel of clarity and cut out a very small amount of personalized information to share that you can connect the dots to this stellar person you are toasting
  3. Go On and On – a long toast is the result of an unprepared and unpracticed toast. The biggest problem with a long toast, beside the fact that the guests may be standing in stiletto heels, is that one long toast is going to foster a longer toast which is going to beget a longer toast. Now the guests are either standing on their feet or waiting for dinner for what has become longer than an hour when 15 minutes was scheduled.

A rose by any other name may still be a rose. But a toast needs not to be a roast, a comedy, or of Harry Potter length.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *