Being a bridesmaid or groomsman is known to be a stressful, if meaningful, pursuit. There’s pressure to ensure that things run smoothly come W-day and that your BFF is the happiest they’ve ever been. For many bridal party members, perhaps the most nerve-racking moment comes mid-dinner. It’s time for the toasts. Public speaking is already frightening to a large majority of the population, but factor in hundreds of guests you don’t really know, alcohol and emotional exhaustion – and you’ve got a potentially disastrous situation….
But, have no fear! We’ve looked to the book, Consider it Done: Accomplish 228 of Life’s Trickiest Tasks for answers. Released in February of this year, Consider it Done tackles some of life’s most difficult situations and offers well-rounded advice for how to make it through. The book’s author is Julie Subotky, the founder of her own personal concierge and lifestyle management company. She’s been charged with throwing concert after parities, charity events and catering to celebrities’ every need. Julie even had to write a toast for a client to read to the bride at a wedding! She’s sharing what she’s learned from experience and has some tips for writing the perfect toast:
- IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU: The number one key to a successful toast it to make it about the person you are toasting. Don’t talk about yourself. It’s fine to let people in on some little secret, but if you’re going to include yourself in the story, you’d better make it something really funny or interesting. Honestly, no one cares about how much beer the two of you used to drink in college. Think of something great to say about the person, or keep your mouth quiet.
- KEEP IT TASTEFUL: Is the room full of family and aged relatives, or close childhood friends? The latter gives you a little more permission to tell all. Still, unless it’s a bachelor or bachelorette party, keep it PG, or at least PG-13. And though some teasing is fine, don’t go overboard. Nothing will make a bride madder than too many jokes at her or her beloved’s expense. Make sure you steer clear of humor involving sex, physical features, or any other areas that might offend. Jokes should be short and sweet, like the rest of your toast.
- BE BRIEF: This is perhaps the most important rule of toast writing. Whatever the occasion, you’re making people put their meals and conversations on hold while they listen to you, so once you cross the five-minute line, you’re in dangerous territory. Rehearse your toast beforehand and time yourself, keeping in mind that there will (hopefully) be pauses for laughter.
- GET PERSONAL: Start by jotting down a few key things about the person you are planning to toast. These should be personal, but not too personal (no embarrassing childhood anecdotes), and specific. The more you celebrate the person’s unique personality traits, the better.
- FOLLOW THE FORMULA: A good plan for success is this: introduction (briefly state who you are and your relationship to the person), joke, joke, a few heartfelt words (not too many—or you may come off as too heavy or corny, and you’ll lose the crowd), then raise a glass. And before you sit back down, don’t forget to acknowledge and thank the audience.
- ADD A TWIST: Remember, you can always do something out of the ordinary. Have the couple sit back-to-back. Have them remove their shoes and instruct them to keep one of their own shoes and hand their other shoe to the other person. You will then read a series of questions and have them vote by holding up the shoe. The shoe they hold up is who they are voting for. Questions can be anything you choose, for example: Who is a better dresser? Who calls their mother more? Whose mother calls more? Keep it to five minutes, and then, end with the heartfelt words. This is a crowd-pleaser and a great way to get both bride and groom involved.
- And finally, IT’S ALWAYS GOOD TO USE A QUOTE AND HAVE NOTES. But don’t write the whole toast out, or you’ll sound inauthentic and rehearsed. The key to writing a toast in advance is making it seem you like you didn’t.
Hopefully these tips will make your job as bridesmaid or groomsman that much easier. For other tips and tricks on how to make it through life’s awkward situations, pick up a copy of Consider it Done: Accomplish 228 of Life’s Trickiest Tasks.Words by Courtney Cox
Photo courtesy of ConsiderItDone.com