Archive for October 13th, 2008

Keep Wedding Toasts Short, Sweet, And Memorable (For All The RIGHT Reasons)

Monday, October 13th, 2008

Fathers of the bride often make brief welcoming remarks at the wedding receptions my band plays. Typically, the proud papas welcome their new son-in-law into the family and invite all guests to have a great time.

Only rarely is such paternal prose memorable. One occasion was when a Dad said that his wife had only given him three duties – to “show up, pay up, and shut up!” After which, he sat down.

If you are offering a toast or a greeting at a reception, your comments shouldn’t be that brief, but here are a few tips regarding what they should be.

1. They should be from your heart – not from your notes. Notes interfere with making eye contact. Eye contact emphasizes sincerity. So – whenever possible – work without a script. Your words will flow better, sound more natural, and – best of all – come across to your audience as more sincere.

2. They should be friendly, rather than funny. Often – especially when we feel stressed – something we intended as a joke winds up falling flat. Or – worse yet – it may actually be offensive to persons in your audience. Why take that chance, when you know that everybody will appreciate a friendly word, warmly delivered?

3. They should direct attention to the bride and groom, not deflect attention from them. Reality check: nobody comes to a wedding reception to hear what the dad or best man have to say. The centers of attention are the bridal couple, so your remarks should be about them, not you.

As a long-time observer of wedding reception toasts (I’ve seen over 2,000 of them), the best ones always seem to me to be those that are short, sweet, and G-rated. Any memorable lines (like “show up… shut up,” etc.) are strictly a bonus.

So – as you ponder what remarks you should make – my best advice is “keep it brief and nice.”