how do you give a toast speech

How to Give a Toast: A Guide for Memorable Speeches

  • The Speaker Lab
  • January 12, 2024

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Ever been at a party or event, glass in hand, when suddenly you’re asked to say a few words? The room goes silent. All eyes are on you. It’s your moment and…panic sets in. How exactly are you supposed to give a toast?

Fear not! Giving a memorable toast is an art that can be mastered by anyone. Think of it as sharing a piece of wisdom wrapped up with a little wit and warmth. To master this art, we’ve got the scoop for you—whether it’s understanding the essence of a good toast, learning common etiquette rules, or avoiding classic mistakes, we’ve got it all. And don’t worry—we’ll throw in some sparkling examples to inspire your own memorable moments.

Ready? Let’s delve into this guide and make sure next time those spotlight moments aren’t panic-stricken but applause-driven!

The Purpose of Toasts

Before actually delving into how to give a toast, it’s important to understand why you’re giving a toast in the first place.

Toasts can be used in multiple settings. They celebrate special occasions like weddings or anniversaries, they honor individuals on their birthdays or retirement parties, and they provide a platform to express gratitude during holiday gatherings.

In its simplest form, a toast can be seen as an act of storytelling with three main parts: introduction (setting up the context), body (the story itself), and conclusion (where we lift our glasses).

The story told through a toast should create emotional resonance while also sharing insights into the person or event being toasted. Essentially, the aim of a toast is to unite everyone present in celebrating shared values or accomplishments.

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Essential Elements of a Good Toast

To give a toast that leaves an impression, you need to master certain key elements. These include sincerity, brevity, humor, and timing.

A good toast comes from the heart. It’s not about using big words or complex sentences but conveying genuine emotions and sentiments. If you can share personal anecdotes or experiences related to the occasion or person being toasted, you’ll make your words that much more meaningful.

A memorable toast is concise. Aim for two minutes max—this isn’t your chance to tell every story about your friendship with the bride since kindergarten. When giving a toast, stay succinct for the most impact.

Injecting some well-placed humor into your speech can lighten up any occasion—but remember to keep it tasteful.

Pick the right moment for your tribute—it shouldn’t interrupt dinner or come too late in the evening when guests might be ready to leave.

Crafting Your Memorable Toast

Brainstorming is the first step in crafting your toast. To start, simply let your ideas flow without worrying about structure or editing. Don’t worry about editing or structure yet, just get all your ideas down on paper. If you need inspiration, consider personal stories, quotes you love, or keynotes speeches.

Once you have all your ideas down, it’s time to start sculpting them into a well-rounded toast. Start by picking out the most powerful points from your brainstorm session. Then create an outline with these points as your guideposts.

Next, rehearse. Rehearse your lines until they feel natural—this will help you give your toast confidently without stumbling over words. Don’t overdo it, though, that way you keep some spontaneity in your toast.

As you write your toast, make sure you adapt it both to the audience and the occasion. Wedding toasts, for example, should be written with the wedding party and other guests in mind. What kind of jokes or humor will they appreciate? Are you best friends with the bride and groom or more of a casual acquaintance? Make sure you think through these things as you craft your toast.

Delivering Your Toast

Your body speaks volumes even before you start your toast. Stand tall, shoulders back, and make sure to keep eye contact with the audience. This not only conveys confidence but also helps engage listeners.

Controlling Voice Modulation

Varying pitch and volume can bring life to your speech. But don’t overdo it. Use these tools wisely to emphasize key points or evoke emotion without becoming theatrical.

Harvard Business Review offers some great tips on voice control for speakers.

Maintaining Audience Engagement

Remember, delivering a toast is an interactive experience. You’re not just talking at people but connecting with them emotionally. To maintain an emotional connection, take pauses for dramatic effect or laughs. After all, pauses are part of the rhythm of public speaking.

If space allows, feel free to roam around since movement can add dynamism to your toast.

Lastly, enjoy yourself. A happy speaker often leads to a captivated audience.

Common Toasting Etiquette

Toasts can make or break a celebration. Knowing the etiquette rules will help you give an unforgettable toast.

First, remember to keep it brief. A long-winded speech might lose your audience’s interest.

Second, avoid embarrassing stories or inside jokes that not everyone gets. While they may seem hilarious to you, you’ll lose your audience if only half of the room understands (or appreciates) your references. Instead, aim for universal themes like love or friendship—something that will resonate with all attendees.

Third, keep things positive. After all, a toast is about honoring someone, so stick to compliments and kind words.

Last, be mindful of timing. Don’t start your toast too early or late in the event—and don’t forget to end by inviting others to raise their glasses and join in on your sentiment.

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An Example of a Successful Toast

Before actually delivering your toast, it may help to consider an example. Let’s check out one memorable toast that has resonated with crowds in the past.

This example is from an Oscar acceptance speech by Matthew McConaughey . At the beginning of his speech, McConaughey stayed positive, recognizing the talent of the other nominees for best actor and expressing gratitude for those who helped him along his journey. He wasn’t even afraid to use a little humor to get his audience laughing.

Then, he settled into the meat of his toast by talking about how he considered his future self to be his hero, the person he wanted to be. In this way, McConaughey connected with his audience over the universal theme of always striving to be better.

Remember: you don’t need fame or high stakes situations to give an impactful toast. What matters is authenticity and connection with your listeners.

Mistakes to Avoid When Giving a Toast

People presenting a toast should be aware of who they are addressing; failing to do so is one of the most common errors. It’s essential to tailor your words and tone for the crowd you’re speaking to.

In addition, avoid rambling on without structure or point. Keep it concise, focused, and relevant. Crafting a speech with purpose can help in this regard.

Another common mistake is forgetting about timing. Good speakers know that timing isn’t just about how long they speak but also when they pause for effect or humor.

Lack of Preparation

Neglecting preparation is another pitfall some fall into. Make sure you rehearse enough times so that nerves don’t get the better of you during your moment under the spotlight. Toastmasters offers great tips for dealing with stage fright.

Inappropriate Content

Last but not least, inappropriate content has no place in any toast. Jokes at someone else’s expense might get laughs from some, but they will more likely leave others feeling uncomfortable—let’s keep things classy.

How to Give a Toast FAQs

What do you say when you give a toast.

When giving a toast, share an uplifting message or story about the person or event being celebrated. Keep it heartfelt and brief.

How do you give someone a toast?

To deliver a toast, stand up, raise your glass, capture attention with engaging words, then finish by leading everyone in raising their glasses too.

What is the proper way to toast?

The right way to make a toast involves speaking clearly and sincerely. Always respect your audience’s time by keeping it short and sweet.

How do you start a toast speech example?

One simple way to start a toast: “Dear friends and family of [Name], let’s raise our glasses in tribute to this extraordinary moment…”

Mastering how to give a toast isn’t as hard as it seems, right? Not only have you learned the purpose of giving a toast, you’ve grasped essential elements like brainstorming and rehearsing. Of course, delivery matters too. The way you use body language and voice modulation can make or break your moment in the spotlight.

To ensure smooth sailing during your toast, we walked through common etiquette rules and even gave you a successful example to consider—plus a few mistakes you’ll want to avoid.

Last but not least, breathe easy—you have everything you need to give that perfect toast!

  • Last Updated: February 29, 2024

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This acronym will help you give the perfect toast

Lauren Migaki

Lauren Migaki

Clare Schneider, photographed for NPR, 17 January 2019, in Washington DC.

Clare Marie Schneider

Illustration of a woman facing away from the viewer, facing an unseen audience in a darkened room, raising a champagne flute in a celebratory toast. She is surrounded by sparkly and shimmery speech bubbles.

It's the wild card of every big event — the toast.

It could be the drunk groomsman at a wedding or the rambling colleague at the retirement party or, perhaps, it's the friend who brings up politics or religion when they've been explicitly asked not to.

For stand-up comedian Atsuko Okatsuka , it was her father-in-law at her wedding. "And then he suddenly goes, I see there's a big Asian contingency here." The moment he brought up race, everyone went quiet.

"It's like a kid when they're playing I Spy, you know?" she says. "That's what he did. 'I spy Asians'."

"Then he tried to save himself. He went, 'and I love the Asians!'"

Explore Life Kit

This story comes from Life Kit , NPR's podcast to help make life better — covering everything from exercise to raising kids to making friends. For more, sign up for the newsletter and follow @NPRLifeKit on Twitter .

It's a memorable toast – but maybe not in the way Okatsuka had hoped.

If you've been asked, or volunteered yourself, to give a toast, we've got some handy tips to make sure people remember your speech with fondness – not horror.

Start with T-O-A-S-T, a helpful acronym from author and award-winning speaker Ramona J. Smith , plus a couple of helpful additions:

T — Tell a story

There's a simple formula to a good toast: Introduce yourself, tell a story, connect that story to the event and wrap it up (time to hit the dance floor!) The biggest challenge is choosing the right story for the occasion and audience.

Every family has stories to tell. Here's how to document them

Every family has stories to tell. Here's how to document yours

Journalist Clare Roth , who has been to 36 weddings, says recording memories on voice memos was particularly helpful. For the occasion, she landed on this sweet and short story:

"There's an anecdote in my mother's diary from when I was three months old, where she heard my sister shout, 'I can't carry you anymore, baby!' And she came out and she was holding me by my skull and I had twigs and leaves in my hair because apparently she had dropped me a few times already. ... It's just so demonstrative of how she will charge ahead, but she wants you to be right there with her. ... And that's why she's going to be such an amazing wife."

Roth says this anecdote worked for the occasion, because it was not only "demonstrative of the relationship that my sister and I had but also related to how she would be as a partner."

Once you share an intimate but relatable anecdote, you can close with a lighthearted joke or offer your best wishes.

O — Optimism is key

How to tell a captivating story — from a wedding toast to a job interview

How to tell a captivating story — from a wedding toast to a job interview

"Don't give a sad story and leave everyone crying, especially if it's at a beautiful wedding or at a baby shower or somewhere where the mood is already festive," says Smith.

Smith is the 2018 winner of the Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking. The opening of her award-winning speech was bleak — it highlighted her personal and professional failures. But with humor and optimism, she continued discussing how those experiences have failed to knock her down – by the end of her speech, the audience was singing along with her to Elton John's I'm Still Standing.

Smith compares her craft of speech writing to spicy chicken wings – "Just dip [the audience] in the hot sauce for a little bit and then we gonna cool off with the ranch."

A — Authenticity and vulnerability are better than humor

Dan Perlman is a stand-up comedian, but when it comes to making toasts, " the more successful toasts I've given have been ones where I was vulnerable," he says.

When he spoke at his childhood friend's wedding this summer, he shared an anecdote about them playing basketball and growing up together. Perlman did manage to find an opportunity for some subtle teasing — but remember, it's a toast, not a roast!

S — Speeches require practice

Try reading your speech aloud before you give it live. Even consider sharing it with a trusted friend or family member to look it over.

If you have stage fright, standup comedian Okatsuka has a tip for that: tell yourself that you aren't nervous but rather, too excited. " So instead of shaking from the nerves or feeling a pit in your stomach from the nerves, it turns into butterflies from excitement," she says.

Want to listen better? Turn down your thoughts and tune in to others

Want To Listen Better? Turn Down Your Thoughts And Tune In To Others

While you're delivering your speech, find an audience wingperson. "Focus on people in the audience who are paying attention and are giving good energy," says Perlman.

You could even ask a friend ahead of time to be this person for you!

And if you get thrown off track while speaking, don't forget: "You're allowed to stop and think. You're allowed to pause and breathe," says Ana Silva.

Silva, who teaches and performs improv, also points out that there are certain elements you cannot control when giving a toast. Just as stand-up comedy has hecklers, wedding toasts have drunk audiences.

"If it's something that is disrespectful in a rude way, I think shutting it down immediately is fantastic," she says. "If it's someone who's just really excited and wants to be part of it. I think a light touch is fine. ... 'I'm so glad cousin Susie is in on this. Let me keep going, Susie.'"

Silva also says that if you're in the audience, you have a role to play as well. " It's all about supporting the people around you." Remember to be generous with your attention, laughter, and applause.

T — Timing. Shorter is better

"I've never been annoyed that a toast is too short," says Perlman, who recommends keeping it between 90 seconds to two minutes.

Wedding enthusiast Roth suggests a range of two to three minutes. "No one is going to get angry about being able to drink their champagne sooner, " she says.

Point is, we all have short attention spans. When you practice reading your speech aloud, make sure that you time yourself.

Never drink before a toast

You don't have to drink to celebrate the holiday season

You don't have to drink to celebrate the holiday season

6 strategies to help you take a break from drinking alcohol

6 Ways To Take A Break From Drinking

If there is one guaranteed way to ensure that you do not bomb this toast, it's this piece of wisdom from Smith: "Never drink alcohol before you give a speech," she says. "You don't want to slur. You don't want to come off as sloppy."

Drinking can also make you prone to rambling on too long, or throwing in an inappropriate, unnecessary joke, so it's best to avoid it altogether.

Don't wait for the perfect occasion

Toasts are a way to tell people you love them. And Roth says, we don't do that enough. "More toasts please!" she says. "It is wonderful to say the quiet part out loud, when the quiet part is... the love you have for your friends and family. Let's bring toasts back in fashion."

The podcast portion of this story was produced by Clare Marie Schneider. We'd love to hear from you. Leave us a voicemail at 202-216-9823, or email us at [email protected].

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AoM Team • December 21, 2017 • Last updated: September 25, 2021

How to Give a Toast

Vintage black and white man giving toast.

For each of the last four years, my wife and I (Jeremy) have hosted a Friendsgiving dinner the Sunday before Thanksgiving. It’s a chance to gather our social group together for a potluck turkey dinner and give thanks for all the good things in our lives (like friends!). Each year, I’ve been called upon to say something before we all sit down and eat, and each year, I slightly dread that short block of time in which I’m supposed to articulate something memorable. I don’t remember previous years, but this year I didn’t take any time to think about or prepare a good toast, and I fumbled through trying to recite that toast that Will Smith gives in Hitch . No joke. It was awkward. And although our friends have assuredly already forgotten (or at least forgiven) that moment, I obviously haven’t. It didn’t elevate the room or brighten people’s hearts, which is exactly what a toast is supposed to do. Rather, my toast was sort of an off note in the “music” of an otherwise wonderful evening. Wouldn’t it have been far better to have had just the right words that would have perfectly suited the occasion and enhanced everyone’s mood?

As we talked about previously, toasting has a long (and often manly history) , and we really ought to revive it more in the present age. But the tradition is so rare these days, that most of us have had little instruction and practice in it. If you’d like to help bring back toasting, how exactly do you do it?

The instructions below will help you raise a glass with real confidence, style, and event-enlivening effect.

People giving a toast around the dinner table.

Be Prepared

“Flubbing the toast is like serving stale champagne: it flattens the mood.” –Paul Dickson, Toasts

First, you need to be prepared. While toasting is meant to be improvisational, that doesn’t mean working entirely off the cuff in the moment; as Mark Twain once said, “It usually takes three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.” Even if you plan to give your toast extemporaneously, you ought to have a repository of some famous toasts/quotes in mind, and/or have been thinking about a theme for a few weeks and can pick just the right length and specific words once the occasion comes.

If you don’t trust yourself to do even that, go ahead and write something out. As you’re doing that, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who/what is being toasted? If it’s a best friend, it can be a little more informal. If it’s a grandparent, something sweet and sentimental is obviously far better.
  • What is the reason for the toast? Is it an anniversary? A college graduation? A wedding? A promotion? Heck, even a breakup? The specific occasion will guide much of what you say.
  • What type of event is it? The event type guides the formality of the toast more than anything else. A work party? Better keep it pretty straight-laced. Cocktail hour with college friends? You’re safer going off the cuff and/or with an inside joke or two.
  • Who is in attendance? Related to the above point, but you really want to know your audience in order to craft your toast. You don’t want to say things that only make sense to one group of people. At a family event, you’ll say something quite different than you would at a work party. At a large, diverse gathering, you want to keep statements very broad and centered on the toastee so that everyone can get what you’re saying.

Along with these specific tips, in general, brush up on your public speaking and improvisation skills . The art of toasting deftly combines both of those things, and provides a great opportunity to practice those skills which naturally transfer into numerous other areas of life. (Also, giving a toast is a requirement for the Orator Badge in The Strenuous Life !)

Decide on Your Format

“A toast is a basic form of human expression that can be used to convey virtually any emotion, from love to rage (although raging toasts tend to cross the line into the realm of curses). They can be sentimental, cynical, lyrical, comical, defiant, long, short — even just a single word.” –Paul Dickson, Toasts

You can choose to make the whole toast an original composition, or to recite a classic set toast (see the ideas we’ve gathered below).

Arguably the best kind of toast, though, is one that combines the two elements: a brief, original introduction directed at the specific occasion and attendees, followed by a classic set toast to end things on a strong note.

Keep It Short

As Dickson notes above, toasts can involve just a single word; indeed, in ancient times, it was common to simply raise a glass “To health!”

You don’t have to keep your toasts quite that pithy, but they should always be short — about 30-60 seconds, erring on the shorter side versus the longer. Get to the point, and quickly. Only at particular gatherings should a toast exceed that, such as at a wedding, anniversary party, or other event where a longer tribute is more appropriate — and even then, you don’t want to go past a couple minutes or so.

Lean Towards Sincerity Over Humor

Vintage group of men giving a toast.

A lot of guys try to be funny at social gatherings, believing themselves to be far more humorous than they really are. This is especially true when giving a toast. Think about how different best man speeches are from maid of honor speeches. The former almost always tries to insert some funny story or joke that inevitably falls flat. Why is this?

Humor is very hard to get right, especially with a large and diverse crowd. At weddings especially, you have folks of all ages, all different careers and life experiences, and different social circles. The best man trying to be funny is likely doing so for his own circle of friends, and that’s all who will laugh. So with the vast majority of toasts, avoid seemingly humorous topics like exes, failures, and inside jokes; while covering such territory is common, it’s overly dicey to do.

Humor can work if you’re with a smaller, perhaps all-male group of comrades. In those informal instances, inside jokes and even some “colorful” remarks are acceptable, and even expected. In general, though, aim for sincerity. That’s sometimes harder for guys to do (which is why we lean on humor in the first place), but if you’re prepared — it all comes back to being prepared! — you’ll be able pull off a sentimental salute without a hitch. Sincerity is far better remembered by a toast’s recipients than an ill attempt at humor.

Be Sure That Everyone Is Involved & Has a Drink

Vintage young men giving toast.

While it’s obviously most traditional to toast with alcohol, you can of course toast with anything, as these boxers who would soon be squaring off against each other in the ring demonstrate.

Toasts are all about inclusion. Nobody is to be left out — children, the elderly, non-drinkers, all should be able to be part of the toast. At a dinner party, be sure that everyone is seated with their food and drink. If food isn’t part of the gathering, or if the toast is happening during cocktail hour versus the dinner hour, be sure everyone has a drink to toast with (ginger ale or something else that’s bubbly makes it special for kiddos; and here’s a list of fun mocktails for the teetotalers out there ). Also, as much as is possible, ensure everyone is present. As the host, keep an eye on things; if someone is off to the restroom, wait until they’ve returned. You don’t want someone to have to awkwardly walk into the middle of a toast.

Don’t Toast Before the Host

If you aren’t the host of an event, don’t give a toast before they’ve had the chance to do the honor. If it’s been mutually decided that you’ll toast first, then go for it. Otherwise, wait until the host has had their say.

Announce Your Intentions With Both Words and Behavior

At a boisterous party or gathering, it can be hard to know the right time and way to make your toast. How do you get everyone’s attention? At the start of a dinner party, it’s a little easier: as host, you should be waiting to get your food until everyone else has already done so. So when you approach the table, theoretically everyone else is already seated or in the process of doing so, and you can simply stay standing and say something like, “I’d like to propose a toast.”

If people are milling about, or you’re giving a toast in the midst of a meal, you’ll need to get the room’s attention. Don’t do so by clanging your glass with a utensil, which isn’t very tasteful, and might break the glass to boot. Instead, signal your intention by standing up and raising your glass to shoulder level, with your arm pointed towards the center of the party. If people still don’t notice your gesture and quiet down, just loudly say something to the effect of “If I can have everyone’s attention.” A loud throat clearing or “Ahem” is a bit informal and just never comes across quite right; it almost reads as sheepish and shy.  

End With a Clear Invitation

You’ve surely seen toasts that end amorphously; the audience isn’t sure if you’re finished or not. So when ending your toast, make that fact clear and demonstrate what everyone should do next. Say something like “Cheers!” or “Let’s a raise a glass to ___,” and then lead the way by finding someone near you to clink glasses with (if you’re in a small gathering) or going ahead and taking a sip from your glass (if you’re in a large gathering).

When to Give a Toast

So now you know how to give a toast, but when should you do so?

In our modern, generally toast-free society, it’s hard to know when it’s appropriate to offer a toast. Luckily, there are numerous occasions where giving one would not only bring a smile to everyone’s face, but elevate the general mood and environment — always the goal of a good toast!

Below you’ll find a sampling of times where it’s appropriate to offer a toast; the list is certainly not meant to be exhaustive, and there are many other fitting times to offer one as well.

Vintage bride and groom toasting.

While weddings are generally a carefully orchestrated affair, there are a couple times during the celebratory events where a toast might be appropriate. At the reception, there is often the formal giving of toasts by the best man, maid of honor, bride and groom, and/or parents. This is not a point where you want to add your own toast (if you haven’t gotten permission from the couple first). You might instead give your own “unauthorized” toast at the rehearsal dinner before the wedding, or on the day of the wedding itself, you might do so at your individual table or with a group of friends during the cocktail hour. The happy couple should of course be the object of your toast.

Dinner Parties With Friends

While dinner parties are a dying breed of their own, they’re the perfect occasion for a toast. If hosting, it’s easy and can really be given anytime, though during a cocktail hour when everyone has a drink or at the start of dinner is ideal. Toasts here can focus on your thankfulness for the group involved, and perhaps even an inside joke (if everyone would be privy to it, of course). You can also toast even if you aren’t hosting, though, remember, you shouldn’t be the first to do so.

Holiday Gatherings

Vintage young people toasting at christmas.

Holiday parties, whether they be filled with coworkers, friends, or family, are perfect occasions for toasting. You can toast to the good year behind you, the upcoming year ahead, your thankfulness for the holiday, and/or the reason it exists in the first place (Thanksgiving, 4th of July, Easter, etc. — those all have pretty clear meanings). A prayer is often part of religious holiday observances, but there’s certainly room for both that and a sincere toast.  

Graduation, Retirement Parties, Post-Funeral Gatherings

This really encompasses any occasion that’s been put together for a specific life transition, and also includes promotions, engagements, and anything else you can think of too. Toasts at gatherings like these should of course focus on the life transition at hand, reflection on past memories, and well wishes for the future. Note that while toasts don’t happen at funerals, or even typically at wakes, they are appropriate if you get together with a small group of friends at a bar or pub after these more formal events to pay more intimate respects to the dead.

Anniversaries and Date Nights

Vintage couple toasting each other.

Toasts well suit the marking of romantic milestones, and that’s true even if you don’t throw a big anniversary party, and the only audience for the toast is your partner. You can offer a nice toast to your gal if you go out together to celebrate your anniversary, or even simply during the course of a normal date night. Either way, toasting to the woman you love is a great way to express sincere affection, wonder, and gratitude for her presence in your life.

Casual Social Events

Getting together with old friends at a bar? Having a bonfire with the neighbors? Tailgating at the big game? This is where you can really harness the spirit of our ancient manly ancestors. (Whether or not you drain your vessel is of course up to you and your good — or not so good — judgment.) Offer up an informal toast; this is where your wit, humor, and inside jokes can be unleashed, which isn’t the case with many of the events listed above.

Toast Ideas for Various Occasions

Having some classic toasts memorized is a great way to always be prepared to offer a fitting tribute when the opportunity presents itself; classic toasts are such for a reason — they encapsulate strong, pithy sentiments and enduring wit. But don’t do a general online search for toast ideas to add to your brain library, as those you’ll find are generally just about drinking or center on crass jokes. To solve this dearth, below we offer a nice treasury of classy and genuinely humorous toasts for a wide range of occasions.

Anniversary/ Date Nights

[For a 50 th  wedding anniversary] “With fifty years between you and your well-kept wedding vow. The Golden Age, old friends of mine, is not a fable now.” —John Greenleaf Whittier, “The Golden Wedding at Longwood”  

[For the 25 th  wedding anniversary] “Love seems the swiftest, but it is the slowest of growths. No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century.” –Mark Twain

“Wine comes in at the mouth And love comes in at the eye; That’s all we shall know for truth Before we grow old and die. I lift the glass to my mouth, I look at you, and I sigh.” –William Butler Yeats

“Here’s to you who halves my sorrows and doubles my joys.”

“Were’t the last drop in the well, As I gasped upon the brink, Ere my fainting spirit fell, ’Tis to thee I would drink.” —Lord Byron  

“A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for.”

“A new life begun, Like father, like son.” —Irish

[Given by fathers with a son or sons] “Father of fathers, make me one, A fit example for a son.” —Douglas Malloch

[Given by grandparents] “Grandchildren are gifts of God. It is God’s way of compensating us for growing old.” —Irish

“Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.” —Dr. Benjamin Spock, Baby and Child Care  

“Do not resist growing old — many are denied the privilege.”

“Another candle on your cake? Well, that’s no cause to pout, Be glad that you have strength enough To blow the damn thing out.”

“Happy birthday to you And many to be, With friends that are true As you are to me!”

“Many happy returns of the day of your birth: Many blessings to brighten your pathway on earth; Many friendships to cheer and provoke you to mirth; Many feastings and frolics to add to your girth.” –Robert H. Lord

“May you live to be a hundred years with one extra year to repent.” —Irish

“To wish you joy on your birthday And all the whole year through, For all the best that life can hold Is none too good for you.”


“As fits the holy Christmas birth, Be this, good friends, our carol still— Be peace on earth, be peace on earth, To men of gentle will.” —William Makepeace Thackeray

“Then let us be merry and taste the good cheer, And remember old Christmas comes but once a year.” —From an old Christmas carol

“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.” —Hamilton Wright Mabie

“Heap on more wood!— the wind is chill But let it whistle as it will, We’ll keep our Christmas merry still.” —Sir Walter Scott

“Here’s to the day of good will, cold weather, and warm hearts! Here’s to the holly with its bright red berry. Here’s to Christmas, let’s make it merry.”

“Here’s wishing you more happiness Than all my words can tell, Not just alone for Christmas But for all the year as well.”

“Holly and ivy hanging up And something wet in every cup.” —Irish

“I have always thought of Christmas as a good time; a kind, forgiving, generous, pleasant time; a time when men and women seem by one consent to open their hearts freely; and so I say ‘God bless Christmas.’” —Charles Dickens

“I know I’ve wished you this before But every year I wish it more, A Merry Christmas.”

“I wish you a Merry Christmas And a Happy New Year A pocket full of money And a cellar full of beer!”

“May you be as contented as Christmas finds you all the year round.” —Irish  


“Oh, here’s to other meetings, And merry greetings then; And here’s to those we’ve drunk with, But never can again.”

Dinner Party

“Here’s to eternity — may we spend it in as good company as this night finds us.”

“It is around the table that friends understand best the warmth of being together.” —Old Italian saying

“To friends: as long as we are able To lift our glasses from the table.”

“A toast to our host And a song from the short and tall of us, May he live to be The guest of all of us!”

“Here’s to our hostess, considerate and sweet; Her wit is endless, but when do we eat?”


“May the warmth of our affections survive the frosts of age.”

“Friendship: May differences of opinion cement it.”

“Here’s to a friend. He knows you well and likes you just the same.”

“May the friends of our youth be the companions of our old age.”

“To our best friends, who know the worst about us but refuse to believe it.”

Going Away Party

“Happy are we met, happy have we been, Happy may we part, and happy meet again.”

“Here’s to good-byes—that they never be spoken! Here’s to friendships—may they never be broken!”

“The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again.” —Charles Dickens


“May you never forget what is worth remembering or remember what is best forgotten.” —Irish

“If you have an appetite for life, stay hungry.”

“May you live to learn well, and learn to live well.”

“May you live all the days of your life.” —Jonathan Swift

“’Tis not so bad a world, As some would like to make it; But whether good or whether bad, Depends on how you take it.”

“May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been, the foresight to know where you’re going, and the insight to know when you’re going too far.”

“As you slide down the banister of life May the splinters never face the wrong way.”

“Another year is dawning! Let it be For better or for worse, another year with thee.”

“As we start the New Year, Let’s get down on our knees to thank God we’re on our feet.” —Irish

“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.” —Benjamin Franklin

“Here’s to the bright New Year And a fond farewell to the old; Here’s to the things that are yet to come And to the memories that we hold.”

“In the year ahead, May we treat our friends with kindness and our enemies with generosity.”

“May all your troubles during the coming year be as short as your New Year’s resolutions.”

“May it be the best year yet for you, and everything prosper you may do.”

“May the best of this year be the worst of next.”

“May the face of every good news and the back of every bad news be toward us in the New Year.” —Irish

“Ring out the old, ring in the new, Ring happy bells across the snow; The year is going, let him go.” —Alfred, Lord Tennyson

“Here’s to the present — and to hell with the past! A health to the future and joy to the last!”  


“Here’s to the good old turkey The bird that comes each fall And with his sweet persuasive meat Makes gobblers of us all.”

“To our national birds — The American eagle, The Thanksgiving turkey: May one give us peace in all our States — And the other a piece for all our plates.”

“When turkey’s on the table laid, And good things I may scan, I’m thankful that I wasn’t made A vegetarian.” —Edgar A. Guest

“Love doesn’t make the world go ’round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.” —Franklin P. Jones  

“A toast to love and laughter and happily ever after.”

[Given by a parent] “It is written: ‘When children find true love, parents find true joy.’ Here’s to your joy and ours, from this day forward.” 

“May their joys be as deep as the ocean And their misfortunes as light as the foam.”

“May we all live to be present at their golden wedding.”

“May you grow old on one pillow.” —Armenian

“May you have enough happiness to keep you sweet; enough trials to keep you strong; enough sorrow to keep you human; enough hope to keep you happy; enough failure to keep you humble; enough success to keep you eager; enough friends to give you comfort; enough faith and courage in yourself, your business, and your country to banish depression; enough wealth to meet your needs; enough determination to make each day a better day than yesterday.”

“There is nothing nobler or more admirable than when two people who see eye to eye keep house as man and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their friends.” —Homer, Odyssey

“To the newlyweds: May ‘for better or worse’ be far better than worse.”


“Cheerfulness, content, and competency. Cheerfulness in our cups, Content in our minds, Competency in our pockets.”

“May the works of our nights never fear the day-light.”

“The three H’s: health, honor, and happiness. Health to all the world, Honor to those who seek for it, Happiness in our homes.”

“Love, life, and liberty. Love pure, Life long, Liberty boundless.”

“I wish thee health, I wish thee wealth, I wish thee gold in store, I wish thee heaven upon earth—What could I wish thee more?”

“It is best to rise from life as from the banquet, neither thirsty nor drunken.”

“Make the most of life while you may, Life is short and wears away!” —William Oldys

“May our faults be written on the seashore, and every good action prove a wave to wash them out.”

“May we be happy and our enemies know it.”

“May we live respected and die regretted.”

“So live that when you come to die, even the undertaker will feel sorry for you.” –Mark Twain

“To the riotous enjoyment of a quiet conscience.”

“While we live, let us live.”


Source of the information and the specific toasts above: Toasts: Over 1,500 of the Best Toasts, Sentiments, Blessings, and Graces by Paul Dickson. Consult the book for more insight on the history and art of toasting, as well as hundreds of more toast ideas.

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Modify the Best Man's Toast with a touch of Dim and Dash.

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How to Give a Toast

Last Updated: April 4, 2021 References

This article was co-authored by Deb DiSandro . Deb DiSandro is the Owner of Speak Up On Purpose, an organization dedicated to improving and teaching public speaking. Deb has over 30 years of experience as a national speaker and has presented at the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Conference and the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. She was awarded the National Speakers Association Member of the Year 2007 and has been published in Writer's Digest, Daily Herald, Women's Day, and Better Homes & Gardens. There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 163,475 times.

A “toast” is a short speech given in honor of a particular person, group of people, or event. Toasts emphasize the positive and provide another way for everyone to celebrate. To give a great toast spend some time getting to know the subject or person you’re toasting. Your toast should revolve around a central story that is very relatable and appropriate. Conclude by raising your glass and offering your best wishes and thanks to everyone involved.

Getting All of the Details

Step 1 Talk to the toastee.

  • You can also express your reservations to the toastee if you would like to participate but are too nervous to do so. Just because you are asked to give a toast does not mean you have to, especially if you suffer from social anxiety. [1] X Research source

Step 2 Know the speaking order.

  • Rehearsal dinner toasts are usually informal with the hosts generally addressing everyone followed by anyone else who wishes to jump in. At a wedding, the best man and maid of honor offer the first toasts followed by the bride and groom. The parents then have a chance followed by any of the guests. [2] X Research source
  • At a casual dinner party it is best to wait until the dinner or first course plates are collected before you offer a toast. [3] X Research source

Step 3 Understand any time constraints.

  • If you are really worried, run your toast by the bride or groom to gauge their reaction and ask for feedback.
  • It is hard to establish a clear line for lewd humor, but most people find discussing sex or the wedding night to be in poor taste. [6] X Research source

Step 5 Know the local customs and etiquette.

Avoiding Common Mistakes

Step 1 Practice.

  • Practicing will also help you to learn to moderate the volume of your voice. Nothing is worse than a mumbled or inaudible toast. [9] X Research source

Step 2 Memorize it.

  • If necessary, you can use note cards while giving the toast. Remember to look up and make eye contact with the audience, though!

Step 3 Omit any apologies.

  • Instead of saying, “I don’t know Jerry very well, but here goes nothing,” you might try, “Those times when Jerry and I can hang out are action-packed and adventure-filled.”

Step 4 Delete the inside jokes.

  • However, it is acceptable to share an inside story, as long as it portrays the person you are toasting in a positive way. Just be sure to explain enough so that everyone understands the joke.

Step 5 Try to relax.

Creating Your Toast

Step 1 Get everyone’s attention.

  • The old practice of tapping your glass with a knife has now gone by the wayside. A series of glass-tapping toasts can quickly get annoying at a big event. Instead, get attention with a confident voice and consistent eye contact. [15] X Research source Use a microphone, if one is available.

Step 2 Open with a strong “hook.”

  • Make your first few lines about the toastee, not you. Avoid using, “I” or “me/my,” to keep your focus, and that of your audience, on the person or persons of the hour. [17] X Research source

Step 3 Provide a bit of background.

  • You might say, "I'm the groom's brother and football-watching buddy."

Step 4 Include a central story.

  • For example, you might tell the story about the time that you and your brother (the groom) backpacked through Europe.
  • Or, share a story about the person you are toasting and other family members or friends that are in attendance to keep the focus off of yourself.

Step 5 Emphasize sensory elements.

  • Leave out all mentions of exes, especially in a wedding toast. No one wants to listen to a story about a prior relationship when they are trying to celebrate a new one. [22] X Research source
  • Omit all negative jokes or jabs about the state of marriage. These remarks are generally cliché and bring the mood of the party down as well. [23] X Research source

Step 7 Include the audience.

  • A solid concluding line for a wedding toast is always, ““Ladies and gentlemen, to the couple.” [27] X Research source

Expert Q&A

Deb DiSandro

  • A toast doesn’t have to be limited to just one person. For example, if an entire group worked on a particular project, feel free to toast the team as a whole. [28] X Research source Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • You can hold your glass up at chest height throughout your toast or simply lift it at the end. You can also fill your glass with any beverage that you like, it doesn’t have to be champagne or even alcohol. [29] X Research source Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

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About this article

Deb DiSandro

To give a toast, start by standing up, introducing yourself, and explaining your relationship with the toastee. Then, share a brief story or 2 about you and the toastee and let them know how happy you are for them. Avoid any embarrassing or lewd comments, and try to keep your toast light-hearted and positive. Also, don't be afraid to interact with the audience to make them feel included. After a few minutes, wrap up your toast by thanking everyone and then raising your glass. If you want to learn how to practice and write your toast beforehand, keep reading the article! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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how do you give a toast speech

The essential guide to toasting etiquette

Written by William Hanson

how do you give a toast speech

Read it in 3 minutes

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William Hanson

William joined The English Manner in 2008 before taking ownership in 2019. He is widely regarded as the freshest and most trusted authority on etiquette and civility, with his relative youth and old-fashioned values making him an arbiter of modern manners.

28 February 2024

  • Dining etiquette

What is a toast?

When we raise a glass in celebration or acknowledgement of something or someone, we are raising a toast. This can happen in formal situations (such as a prestigious dinner), at a social occasion (a wedding) or at an informal gathering (a birthday drinks party in a bar).

Is a toast the same as a speech?

The toast is not a speech – it is just a brief sentence or two – but in formal scenarios, it is often accompanied by a speech. If you learn nothing more about toasting etiquette from this guide, that is the most important.

In this scenario, toasts are given after dinner before the speeches. At some British royal or diplomatic events, or at British weddings, the timing of the toasts can vary depending on the structure of the event. 

Who can propose a toast?

Formally in Britain, this is arranged in advance. There may be a toastmaster who says, “Pray silence for your host / the chair,” or similar.

At a wedding, members of the wedding party usually give the toasts as part of the speeches (conventionally, the father of the bride, the groom, and best man). In a more informal social context, anyone can raise a toast.

How do you give a toast?

The person giving the toast (technically called the toast proposer) starts by standing up. In formal settings, everyone else also stands, including the person being toasted. In very informal or social situations, it is not always practical or necessary and people may remain seated.

The British Navy has its own toasting etiquette, where they remain seated for all toasts due to the usually low ceilings in submarines and other vessels. 

What should you actually say when giving a toast?

The toast proposer should raise their glass and says the toast, ending with the name of the person/people/organisation that is being toasted.

Everyone else then raises their glass, and repeats the name.

For example:

PROPOSER (raising their glass): “Distinguished guests, may I propose a toast to celebrate the successes of The English Manner, whose work in etiquette is enjoyed by many. The English Manner!”

GUESTS (raising their glasses): “The English Manner!”

Are there any potential toasting faux pas?

If a person who is present is being toasted, then they should not drink a toast to themselves (it is considered arrogant). Instead, they just raise their glass to acknowledge the toast.

Avoid clinking or knocking the glassware. This includes tapping a glass to get everyone’s attention/silence with a knife, and clinking glasses with those around you when raising your glass. Very vulgar and not done with good glassware. 

Never toast with an empty glass – it is considered bad luck. Rules about not toasting with anything other than alcohol are nonsense; water or any other soft drink is fine.

How do I toast The King? 

If a series of toasts is being said, the loyal toast is said first before any others. In the UK, the wording for the loyal toast is just “The King”. 

Watch out for musicians striking up the national anthem straight afterwards. Glasses remain on the table until the music has stopped then they can be raised.

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Rice Speechwriting

Mastering the art of how to give a toast, how to give a toast like a pro, what are the essential elements of a good toast.

The essential elements of a good toast include a clear and concise message, a personal touch or story, a positive and uplifting tone, eye contact with the audience, and a heartfelt toast to the honoree. Adding humor or a memorable quote can also enhance the impact of a toast.

The key elements of a good toast include a clear and concise message. A good toast should have a central theme or idea that is easy for the audience to understand and relate to. It should be heartfelt and genuine, expressing sincere emotions and appreciation towards the person or occasion being toasted.

Another important element is personalization. A good toast should be tailored to the individual or group being honored. Including personal anecdotes, inside jokes, or specific memories can make the toast more meaningful and memorable for both the honoree and the audience.

Timing and delivery are also crucial. A good toast should be well-timed, neither too short nor too long, in order to ensure that everyone is having a good time. It should be engaging and delivered with confidence and enthusiasm. Using appropriate gestures, maintaining eye contact, and varying the tone and pace of speech can help captivate the audience and keep their attention throughout the toast.

In addition, a good toast should be positive and uplifting. It should focus on celebrating the achievements, qualities, or milestones of the person or occasion being toasted. Avoiding negative or controversial topics ensures that the toast remains enjoyable and respectful to everyone present.

Lastly, a good toast should end on a high note. It should leave the audience feeling inspired, happy, or touched. A memorable closing line or a heartfelt toast to the future can leave a lasting impression and make the toast truly exceptional.

Toast: Short Speech Writing Guide: How to Give a Toast

“Can you just say a few words?”

That invitation can strike fear among people who are asked to give a toast at a wedding, to present an award, to congratulate someone on a promotion, to remember a colleague retiring after 25 years.

Yet it doesn’t have to.

Who is this speechwriting guide for?

This is for anyone giving a short speech whose purpose is to honor someone else.

It’s for all those speeches that mean something, that aren’t televised, that are there to honor the great works and deed others have done in their lives.

Awards Speeches

You’re part of an organization that gives out awards each year and this year you get to present one of them! Figure out what to say that’s short, sweet, and meaningful.

Wedding Speeches: Best Man Speeches, Maid of Honor Speeches, Father and Mother of the Bride Speeches

Your best friend is getting married and you get to give a toast. Guidance for best men, maids of honor, father and mother of the bride—anyone who needs to wish the happy couple well.

A colleague is getting promoted and you want to talk about their achievements and efforts with some good natured fun thrown in.

Retirement Speeches

How do you say goodbye to the key employee who has worked for you for the last 20 years?

What do you say at your own retirement?

Is your mentor or parent retiring and you want to toast them?

Birthday party toasts and anniversary speeches

What about the people who are a really big deal in our lives? What do you say to them on their important days? What would you say at your parents’ 50th wedding anniversary? What about your spouse’s 40th birthday?

Any occasion where you have to “say a few words”

I probably missed a few speech categories above, but any time that you need to give a speech that honors another person, this guide is your guide.

What will be included in this guide to short speeches:

  • A brief overview of the various parts of any toast. I break down the typical toast or honor speech for any occasion.
  • A step-by-step process to get your speech written. I use the same method when writing for others and you can complete a first draft in the span of a week or any set of seven days spread out over time.
  • Real short speeches given by real people. I’ve scoured the internet and my resources to find examples of toasts and other short speeches that you can use as models. All are modern speeches that real people gave. Use them as inspiration for turns of phrases and overall organization to help you plan your words.
  • Advice for specific types of short speeches. A wedding toast and an awards speech aren’t the same but share tons of similarities. You’ll learn what each type of speech requires given its occasion. Use this section to avoid faux pas.

Where to start with any short speech

Speakers tend to have two problems when it comes to giving short speeches:

They tell me two things:

First: I can’t think of anything to say

Second: I have too much to say, there’s no way I’ll fit it all in

What to do?

Let’s tackle each one, starting with the first.

But, before we do, let’s begin with Step 1–it’s helpful to have a doc open or a set of notes as you go through this guide.

Step 1: Know your time limits, word count, and any other pertinent details for your speech.

We speak around 135 to 150 words per minute. But when it comes to giving a speech, you want to give yourself extra time to take it slow, to allow for applause and laughter. I’d suggest 100-115 words per minute to gauge how much you need to prepare.

For a 3 minute toast: 300-345 words

For a 5 minute toast: 500 words to 575

For a 10 minute toast: 1000 words to 1150 words

I wouldn’t go beyond 10 minutes for any ceremonial speech–err on the side of brevity.

Find out also when you are expected to give your speech during the event. If you are going early, you can err on the side of being a bit longer than expected. If you are one of the last to speak, keep it as short as possible.

Step 2: Know the key sections you’ll want to think about for your toast:

Many toasts and short speeches have the same sections to them but not always in the order below. You can mix and match as needed.

Acknowledgments and Thank yous:

Depending on the formality of the event, you have to thank certain people who put the event together or who are so important that they deserve to be recognized. Word of caution: Do not go overboard in this portion and make the whole speech one long list of thank-yous.

Stories will make up the bulk of your toast—they are the perfect vehicle to demonstrate change throughout the speech. It’s where you can talk about the deeds of the person you’re honoring or the significance of the event.

You’ll find sections of advice in many toasts—the person giving the toast often has words of wisdom for the happy couple during a wedding toast or sage advice to those just starting on their careers during the speaker’s own retirement speech. This is where you can take the lessons of change you’ve experienced and give them to the audience or the people who are a part of your toast, with advance notice or in the spur of the moment. So, don’t forget to include your best wishes for the future in your toast, as it adds a heartfelt touch to your words of wisdom.

Significance of the event:

Sometimes the event itself is important enough that it should be mentioned and featured in your toast (other times, you may just need a few sentences).

Opening and Closing:

Any speech will have a captivating opening and closing, and toasts are no different. The best ones will have openings and closings that relate to one another; oftentimes, the closing can even contain a special 1-2 line mini-toast that sums up the speech itself. Additionally, it is important to propose a toast at the appropriate time during a dinner party, typically at the beginning of the meal or just before dessert. We’ll work on specific techniques later on in this guide to craft closings that will be remembered long after the main speech concludes.

Here are some questions to get you started, we’ll dive into the specifics momentarily:

  • Are there any VIPs in the audience that you must acknowledge or thank? Keep this list very short and go with the ones who are most important or whose egos will be hurt if you don’t mention them. If it’s too many, can you generalize the group (“Honored guests,”)?
  • If you are honoring a person, what makes them so incredible and great? Why are they being honored at this event? What have they done that has impressed you? What have you learned from them? What moments of greatness stick out in your mind? What stories can you tell around each answer?
  • What is the significance of the event you’ll be speaking at? Is it an eternal one like marriage? What is the history of the event? Why did the group start? What are they doing today that is so impactful?
  • Is it appropriate to give advice at an event like this? If a couple is getting married, what advice do you have for them? If someone is retiring or being promoted, what advice can you give to others in the room that want to live up to that person’s example?
  • Are there particular quotes or sayings that you think could work at the beginning or end of the toast? Have people heard these before or will they be fresh? Are they unique to the occasion?
  • What movie did you see recently (or book you read) that showed a dramatic change in its characters? Did you read or watch anything recently that seemed to fall flat? Can you pinpoint a lack of change in the characters as the reason?

Step 3: Brainstorm your speech ideas: What to do when you can’t think of anything to say in your speech

The best place to start are the dual goals of any ceremonial speech: You want to honor the person and honor the event.

From a wedding toast to a retirement speech to an anniversary celebration, the goals are the same.

You want to honor a person or a couple and the event itself.

Great toasts and short speeches revolve around telling great stories about the person you’re honoring. Ideally you want a mix of funny and touching stories to tell.

Brainstorming ideas for wedding toasts , birthday speeches, and anniversary speeches:

  • Anything you want to say to the close family and friends who will be in attendance?
  • Growing up together, I could tell that they would grow into a great person because…
  • One moment that most impressed me was when…
  • He/She was really there for me when…
  • My favorite memory of them was when…
  • One story that really demonstrates is when…
  • When I first met him/her…
  • I am grateful that they are in my life because one time…
  • He/she got me out of a tough situation when…
  • I can never forget the time when…
  • Advice I can give the couple is…
  • A time that he/she made me laugh was when…
  • What are the person’s greatest character values? What makes them such an excellent match for the other?
  • How did the two meet? Were you instrumental in making it happen? How did it happen?
  • When did you know the couple found the right person in the other?
  • What are the bride or groom’s favorite books, movies, or songs?
  • How do the two or one person spend their time? What do their hobbies say about them?
  • Do either have a particular set of quirks that are endearing yet not too embarrassing?

Brainstorming ideas for retirement speeches:

  • What do you admire about the person retiring?
  • What lessons have they taught you?
  • How have you changed professionally and personally from watching this person work?
  • If you’ve watched them for some time, how have they changed for the better?
  • What are your most memorable stories?
  • Do they have any odd quirks that aren’t too embarrassing?
  • How is the organization better for having this person? How has the organization or department changed in this person’s stead? :

Brainstorming ideas for awards speeches:

Key questions:

  • What obstacles did you encounter before the accomplishment that this award has recognized?
  • Who helped you along the way? Who mentored you? What did your family give up or sacrifice to help you get here?
  • What advice do you have for the next generation after you?
  • Is there anything special about the award, the event, or the occasion, that you can remark upon?
  • Did you lead a team that helped create the success behind the award? What do you want to say to them?
  • When you are giving an award to someone else…
  • Structure: Great deeds, how do they live/do their work?, lessons/advice/legacy
  • What impressed you the most about this person? Why are they the right choice for the award?
  • Have they undertaken any projects or ideas that have gone under the radar? Can you recognize those as well?
  • How has this person changed from their beginning to now with the award?
  • Is there a call to action for this organization or award’s greater purpose?

Step 4: Organize your short speech

Now that you’ve generated plenty of ideas, you’ll want to determine a structure for your toast.

Details the most common ways you’ll see someone give a toast. The first is advice-based, followed by story-based, and then third, the extended metaphor. See how each one fits the toast you want to give based on the occasion. You can also mix and match the forms as you see fit, including incorporating a good toast by telling a story that connects to the event and wraps up your speech about a particular person, group of people, or event.

Advice Based:

Speeches that are advice-based organize themselves around bits of wisdom or principles. The best example is from the Retirement Manifesto . Here, the speaker uses his retirement to give life advice to those in the audience.

Each piece of advice is followed up by a short story, quote, or something else.

How to adopt this form:

Come up with three to seven principles that you strive to live your life by. Avoid cliches when possible (“live life to its fullest,” “savor every moment,”); instead, think of what you would say if someone asked for life advice over a cup of coffee. What would you tell them?

Another great source for inspiration is Dr. Randy Pausch’s “Last Lecture,” where he gave all the lessons in his life knowing that he had a terminal illness. Do an internet search to find its recording and subsequent book. It’s worth watching multiple times.

Once you have the lessons figured out, find a way to creatively tell each lesson. Most people opt for anecdotes but if you have an interesting bit of research or a shocking number, use those sparingly to break it up.

You can also go the opposite way—think of memorable moments from your life, ones that made you who you are today—ones that changed you (back to the Hero’s Journey). What lessons can you draw from those moments? You can either lead with those moments as a story or headline the section and tell the story after.

Each piece of advice is the headline for the section with the content that follows illuminating the advice. You can also go the opposite way and tell a story and conclude the lesson from it.

Each lesson doesn’t need to be the same length—for some, you’ll have more to say than others and that’s OK.

Why 3-7? It’s a starting point and there’s no real rhyme or reason. Three because many speeches are organized around threes. Seven is an upper limit to help keep the speech on the shorter side. Go with what feels right to you.

When it’s appropriate:

You’ll find advice-based speeches most often at retirements, promotions, birthday parties, and occasionally weddings. Usually the person giving the advice is much wiser, experienced, or older, than the people listening.

For example, a father of the bride may be giving marriage advice to the new couple. Or a fire chief is giving advice to a room of candidates upon their graduation from training. Or someone is celebrating 50 years on this earth and wants to give advice to those a bit younger in the audience.

Story Based:

Story-based speeches lead with a story rather than a set of lessons. Sometimes they blend with the advice version but not all stories are told as moral warnings. Some are told to show someone’s great character or a touching moment.

How to do this form:

Story-based speeches can be a series of vignettes or they can be one long complete story. Think first about the values and character of the person you’re honoring and find the stories that demonstrate those. You might have a few stories or one really good one.

Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement address is a great example of the form–he tells three stories and makes a connection between each one.

When they’re appropriate:

Almost always. This is the most popular way of giving a toast where you talk about the great stories of a person and use those to help make your point.

However, you’ll find them most often in wedding toasts where you get to hear great stories of the groom and bride. Other times, when honoring someone at their retirement or birthday party, you’ll want to tell stories that illuminate their best qualities.

How do you tell the difference between story-based and advice-based? Aren’t they two sides of the same coin?

Yes, they can be. As you’ll notice in the retirement speech, it’s advice and story driven. That’s fine. The goal in making the distinction is that you won’t always have advice to give after a story or the point of the story may be for laughter or sentimentality. You can end a story with lessons that you learned or what impressed you the most about it, but you just don’t have to. Plus, you probably won’t headline a story with its advice and values, “Now let me tell you about the time when John showed courage.” Let the story imply what was shown and draw the details after.

These structures aren’t rigid and can be mixed and matched.

Thank you based:

Someone out there wrote some speech advice that’s mostly correct: Don’t fill the opening of a speech with thank-yous nor the whole thing. That’s almost right.

A thank-you based speech, when done correctly, can work. Instead of headlining each section with advice as seen above, come up with whom you are thankful for and why. Use each person or group as a headline.

Within each one, give words of thanks, tell short stories, and use that as an opportunity to thank them.

When appropriate:

You’ll find this type of speech most appropriate when you are the center of attention for an award or other occasion where many people helped you get to the big day.

You’re receiving an award; you are graduating at the top of your class; you are celebrating a birthday surrounded by friends and family and they all had an impact on you.

Extended Metaphor:

This is the trickiest to pull off but it can be powerful when done correctly. Take a look at this award acceptance speech from Audra Lawlor at Girl Meets Dirt . It doesn’t fit neatly into any of the categories above, but look at how it’s giving lessons and telling a story all at once.

Can you mix and match?

Yes, and that’s what makes each toast unique. In the body of your toast, you can have a part where you tell great stories about the person you’re honoring and then offer a few words of advice to the crowd.

You can thank specific people who helped you achieve a certain goal but then provide advice to the rest of the crowd.

Key takeaways:

  • The body of your speech is where you get to tell stories, give advice, and give specific thank-yous to meaningful people in your life.
  • You can choose to headline the sections with advice, story themes, or thank-yous or go the more subtle route, lead with a story, and then conclude with the takeaways you want for your audience.
  • Many find it much easier to write the body of a speech first and then later worry about the opening and closing that will act as bookends on the speech. If you’re stuck here, go onto the next section and try the opening and closing parts and come back to the body.

Step 5: Editing–What if my speech is too long?

As promised, here’s how to edit your speech down if you feel that you have too much to say or you are way over in your allotted time and word count.

First, determine the funniest story and the most sentimental story–just tell those two as part of the story section in your speech. You ideally want both to balance each out–plus, sometimes a funny story is taken seriously by the audience and it just becomes sentimental.

Second, cut down any acknowledgments or thank-yous or cut the section entirely. You can make one or two acknowledgments if there’s a VIP in the room (like your CEO or the bride’s father) but cut out the number of people you are thanking.

Third, leave only the essential details in the story you’re telling. If there are extraneous characters that don’t matter much to the plot, take them out. Think of each story like a movie trailer–only add in the absolutely necessary details and let the audience fill in the rest.

Understanding the Importance of Preparation

You’ve heard the saying, right? “By failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail.” Well, there’s a good reason why it’s become such a well-known phrase. The concept holds true, particularly when you’re about to give a toast. Preparation is not merely a task to check off the list; it’s an essential step that frames the success of your toast. Let’s dive into why that is.

Firstly, thorough preparation can boost your confidence. By taking the time to write, review, and rehearse your speech, you become familiar with the ins and outs of your message. You understand the sequence of your thoughts, the balance of humor, and solemnity. You even prepare for possible reactions from your audience.

Especially when you are nervous, being prepared can act as an anchor, providing you with a sense of certainty and control. Wouldn’t it be comforting to know exactly where you’re taking your audience on this small journey of a toast?

Preparation also enables you to master the technical aspects of your toast. It gives you time to adjust the length of your speech fitting into the event’s schedule or structure the content for clarity and impact. It allows you to anticipate interruptions, manage contingencies, and execute impeccable timing. In simple words, preparation puts you in control of your toast.

Also, while spontaneity has its charm, a toast is not an ideal opportunity for winging it. Wit and eloquence are often born from well-crafted preparation, and, let’s face it, the risk failing in front of a crowd isn’t precisely appealing, is it?

Lastly, by investing time in preparation, you’re also showing respect to your audience. It demonstrates that you value their time and attention, that you wanted to offer them a well-thought-out message, rather than a hastily conjured jumble of words. In a sense, a perfectly prepared toast is a gift, wrapped up in your goodwill and best intentions.

Crafting the Perfect Opening Line

You’re standing in front of an expectant crowd, your heart is pounding, but it’s your moment to shine. How do you capture their attention from your very first word? That’s where the importance of the perfect opening line comes into play. But where do you start?

Getting it right isn’t rocket science, but it’s indeed an art—a mixture of wit, sensitivity, timing, and just the right measure of confidence. If crafted right, the opening line will set the tone, engage your audience, and smoothly transition them into the body of your toast.

Top tip: Start by building a connection. Ask yourself, how can you bring everyone into a shared moment? A good starting point is to introduce yourself, especially when not everyone knows who you are. Yet, be brief—you’re not the focus, remember?

Setting the Right Tone for Your Toast

Let’s talk about tone, shall we? The tone of your toast can make or break the whole event. It’s that instrumental part of your speech that sets the atmosphere, guides the audience’s emotions, and helps to deliver your message as intended.

Now you might wonder, how do you actually set a tone? Well, it all begins with understanding the event and its purpose. Is it a joyous wedding celebration? Or an in-depth tribute to an accomplished colleague’s career? Or perhaps a bittersweet farewell to a beloved friend moving afar? Once you’ve got the event’s rhythm, you’re halfway there to setting the appropriate tone.

Humor? Of course, it’s a wonderful ice-breaker! But humor must align with the event’s spirit and the audience’s expectations. Be sensitive to the cultural, age, and background diversities of the attendees. The best toasts are those that can connect universally, yet feel extraordinarily personal to everyone listening.

But what if the occasion is serious? No problem! A serious tone can be exceptionally powerful if handled well. Your speech doesn’t have to be a monotone eulogy. Try to break up the solemn atmosphere with moments of levity, anecdotes that light up faces, or sprinkle a little light-hearted wisdom now and then. The key is balance, reminding us all that even in moments of grief or solemnity, life remains full of love, hope, and unexpected joys.

Now, a bit of caution, please. While setting the tone, you must stay genuine. Remember? Emotions are contagious. If you’re not feeling it, neither will your audience. So, engage from a place of empathy and authenticity; let your feelings guide your words.

Confused about how to blend it all? Let’s resort to an old friend – practice . Practice your speech as much as you can until you find the ‘tone’ that feels right.

In the end, whether your toast is humorous, heartfelt, solemn, or celebratory, the tone should echo the event’s spirit, resonate with the audience’s emotions, and most importantly be authentic to you. Remember, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ strategy for giving good toasts. Your tone is unique to you, your relationship with the honoree, and the occasion itself. Master this, and you’re one step closer to giving a toast that’s hard to forget.

Telling a Compelling Story or Anecdote

Ever wondered why we remember stories better than mere facts or figures? It’s because stories engage our emotions and ignite our imaginations, allowing us to visualize and connect with what’s being said. So, what about making your toast a story worth remembering?

The first thing to do? Find the heartfelt or memorable moments that have left an imprint. Maybe it was a shared experience, a humorous incidence, or a turning point in the life of the person or persons being toasted. These moments don’t necessarily have to be monumental. Sometimes, it’s the little things that resonate most, the ones that capture a person’s character or the essence of a shared relationship. Telling a compelling story is a great way to express sincere affection and gratitude for the person being toasted.

Once you’ve chosen your story, craft it effectively. Remember, every good story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. The beginning should hook your listeners, setting up the story you’re about to tell with a simple formula. This could be based on the context of the toast, an interesting snippet about the person, or a quote that encapsulates the mood or theme of your story. The middle is where you detail the incident, capturing the meaningful aspects in vivid, engaging detail. Finally, bring it all home with a heartfelt end that connects the story back to the reason for the toast.

But what if you’re not a born storyteller? Don’t worry; we all have it in us to tell compelling tales. Here’s a simple structure to guide you:

  • Set the scene: Start by describing the setting, time, place, and the people involved to draw your listeners in.
  • Present the event: What happened? Include enough detail to make it real, but not too much to bore your audience.
  • Show the impact: How did the event affect you or the person you’re toasting? This helps to make your story relatable and showcases the depth of your shared experiences.
  • Wrap it up: Integrate the story into the context of the toast by adding a comment or moral at the end that encompasses why this story resonates.

One crucial aspect to remember is to keep your story authentic. Being true to the experiences and the personalities involved makes your toast genuine and impactful. In the end, you won’t just be telling a story; you’ll be creating a beautiful memory that people can carry with them. Now, who wouldn’t raise a toast to that? Remember, this is a toast, not a roast, so keep the humor light and appropriate.

Using Humor to Connect with Your Audience

When you’re trying to make a memorable toast, humor can be an incredibly powerful tool. A well-placed joke or a funny anecdote can lighten the mood, disarm your audience, and make you more relatable. Who doesn’t love a good laugh, right?

Let’s get this straight, though. When I talk about humor, I don’t mean you need to transform into a stand-up comedian. No, you just need to share a funny, amusing moment, maybe an inside joke that everyone in the room can relate to or a light-hearted story that puts a smile on their faces.

But how do you do this effectively?

  • Understand Your Audience: The first step in using humor in your toast is understanding your audience. What makes them laugh? What kind of humor do they appreciate? Remember, what’s funny to one group may not necessarily be funny to another.
  • Timing is Essential: Just like comedic performances, timing in humor is everything when giving a toast. A well-timed punchline can transform a simple narrative into an unforgettable piece of humor.
  • Be Authentic: Authenticity breeds connection. Try to share personal humorous stories or jokes that you find funny. Your sincere laughter can be infectious and could lead to a shared moment of mirth with your audience.
  • Less is More: A brief touch of humor in your toast can work wonders. You don’t have to overload your script with jokes. Instead, let the levity arise naturally from the story or the situation.

Importantly, always remember to stay respectful and understanding. Humor should be an instrument of unity, not division. Avoid controversial, offensive, or polarizing jokes. Keep it light, keep it fun, and most importantly—keep it ‘you’!

To conclude, humor can be a powerful tool when toastmastering. It can connect you with your audience, enlighten the atmosphere, and make your speech memorable. It may require a bit of practice, and you might not get it right the first time. But don’t worry. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Remember, each time you give a toast, it’s a learning experience, and with each stroke, you’re painting a masterpiece of your journey as a public speaker. So, shall we raise a glass to humor in toasts?

Adding Personal Touches to Your Toast

Being personal is the lifeblood of any good toast. It’s not just about sharing information or entertaining the audience; it’s about forming a connection, a bond that links your words to the hearts of those present. So, how do you achieve this touch of personalization, and with finesse at that?

First off, be authentic. There’s something incredibly powerful about being genuine – it’s appealing, relatable and simply hard to dislike. When you’re delivering your toast, speak from the heart. Share personal anecdotes, bring out genuine emotions and do so with sincerity. Remember, the audience can feel your authenticity, and it acts as a magnet, drawing them into your message.

Remember: “Speak genuinely, and your words will hold a charm only the truth can lend.”

Next, relate to your audience. You’re giving a toast, not a lecture. Therefore, the people in the room aren’t just passive receivers; they are part of your conversation. Mention mutual experiences, speak in terms familiar to the group, and use ‘we’ instead of ‘I.’ Relating in your toast ensures that your points resonate with the audience and holds their attention more effectively. And once you’ve connected with the audience, it’s time to hit the dance floor and celebrate together.

Lastly, incorporate elements of surprise. This might be an interesting fact about the person you’re toasting, a behind-the-scenes story, or a perspective that other people haven’t heard before. A touch of surprise not only keeps the audience engaged but adds that intrigue that makes your toast memorable.

Quick Recap:

  • Be Authentic: Speak from the heart, lets your sincerity shine through.
  • Relate to your Audience: Use mutual experiences and inclusive pronouns.
  • Incorporate Elements of Surprise: An unexpected fact or story adds intrigue.

By sprinkling these personal touches throughout your toast, you’re not just speaking, you’re captivating, and you’re not just being heard, but truly felt. And isn’t that the essence of a good toast?

Including Meaningful Quotes or Poetry

There’s something profoundly powerful about a right quote or a nugget of poetry in a toast. They have a way of embedding deep wisdom in a few lines, aren’t they? But you might be wondering, how do you incorporate them into your toast? Do you worry if quotes might overshadow your original thoughts? No worries, we’re going to delve into that together.

First off, ensure that any quote or poem you want to use is spot-on and serves a purpose. Relevance is key . Is there a favorite quote of the person you’re toasting? Does a particular piece of poetry reflect the essence of the occasion? Use these questions as a guide.

Perhaps, you’re afraid that a borrowed wisdom might steal the show, leaving your original thoughts in the shade. Well, it’s not about stealing the limelight, but rather about illuminating the theme of your toast. It’s okay if a quote steals the show for a moment; after all, you’re the director, aren’t you?

“You don’t have to write everything from scratch, even light is borrowed.” – Anonymous

See what we did there? Quotes can provide a poignant pause, a moment of reflection in the bustling toast-party. And if you weave it seamlessly into your narrative, it actually lends more depth to your message.

Honestly, incorporating poetry can be a bit tricky, especially if it’s lengthy. But here’s a tip – use excerpts that are punchy and hit home. Avoid long poems unless you’re confident you can keep your audience enthralled. Always remember, you’re not reciting poetry for a literature class, but giving a toast.

Lastly, before including a quote or poem, make sure you attribute it to the rightful author. It’s a sign of respect and authenticity. Not to forget, it saves you from committing a social faux pas!

So, are you starting to see how meaningful quotes or poetry can add an extra layer of sophistication to your toast? As the cherry tops the cake, a well-placed quote or verse could be that special something to uplift your toast from good to extraordinary. But remember, the quote or poetry is not the star of the show – you are, and the people you’re toasting to!

Structuring Your Toast for Maximum Impact

Structuring the perfect toast isn’t as simple as throwing together a few words and hoping for the best. It requires careful planning and a clear understanding of the various elements that make a good toast. You see, the structure of your toast, or how it’s arranged, plays a crucial role in delivering your message effectively, leaving an impact and capturing the heart of your audience. Let’s dive into some actionable steps you can take to go about this.

Firstly, you have to start with a bang . Remember the old adage: first impressions matter. Your opening line should be engaging enough to grab your audience’s attention and interesting enough to keep it. A great quote, a short anecdote, or a surprising fact can do wonders by providing a readymade hook.

After your captivating opening, navigate to the body of the toast . Here is the place to insert the bulk of your message, whether it’s a heartfelt sentiment, a shared memory, or an inspiring quote. Just remember to keep it concise, relevant, and compelling. A good rule of thumb is to include only elements that contribute to the main theme of your toast.

Finally, nail your toast with a memorable conclusion. Your final sentence should be powerful and resonate long after you’ve returned to your seat. Endings which tie back to the beginning often have maximum impact and create a satisfying sense of closure. And of course, don’t forget to raise your glass, propose the toast, and take a sip at the end.

K.I.S.S. – Keep It Short and Simple – My personal mantra for a well-structured toast. Delivering a concise, well-organized toast can be more effective in getting your message across than a lengthy, disorganized one. Remember, you’re aiming for quality over quantity.

Now, the question might arise, how can you ensure that your toast follows this structure? One effective approach is to write an outline beforehand. Think of it as a blueprint for your toast. This will not only provide a visual representation of your toast’s structure but also helps you stay on track, preventing you from veering off-topic.

In conclusion, structuring your toast effectively is integral to delivering a successful toast. With a strong opening, a compelling body, and a memorable conclusion, you’ll be well on your way to crafting a toast that leaves a lasting impression.

Using Body Language to Enhance Your Toast

Have you ever watched a public speaker who just seemed to captivate the room with their presence? Chances are, that wasn’t just the subject matter of their speech – much of it likely had to do with their body language. Sure, words matter, but what can make them truly spellbinding is how they’re delivered. That’s right, the way you stand, move, and gesticulate during your toast can significantly enhance its overall effect. So, how do we go about this you might wonder?

Firstly, you’ve got to understand that body language is a means of communication. Subtle changes in your posture, gestures, or facial expressions can send a powerful message. And just like language itself, body language can be fluent and impactful if practiced and understood. So, let’s decode this language of the body, right?

Mastering your Posture

Consider this: you’re about to give a toast, and you slump into the microphone, feet shuffling, shoulders hunched. Do you think the audience would be convinced of your confidence or engaged in your speech? Probably not. A strong, upright, and relaxed posture not only enhances your voice projection but also conveys a sense of confidence. Remember, you’ve got to own the room!

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. This stance provides a stable base, makes you appear grounded, and prevents unnecessary swaying. Keep your spine straight, but don’t become a rigid statue. Casual movement, if natural and unforced, can make your toast feel more personal and engaging.

The Power of Gestures

We’re all prone to using hand gestures when we speak – it’s a natural byproduct of our desire to emphasize what we’re saying. Use this to your advantage! You can employ gestures to emphasize key points, express enthusiasm, or even prompt laughter. It’s a little like conducting an orchestra: your words come to life with the aid of your hands.

While large, dramatic gestures might be suitable for the stage, in a toast scenario, keep it focused and meaningful. Remember, the objective is not to draw attention to your gestures but to use them to reinforce what you’re saying.

Facial Expressions Speak Volumes

Your face is the most expressive part of your body. Whether it be a slight smirk or a furrowed brow, facial expressions can dramatically enhance the sentiments conveyed in your speech. A genuine smile, as simple as it may sound, can create engagement and impart warmth to your audience. Trust me; authenticity goes a long way!

The takeaway here is that thoughtful use of body language can elevate your toast from a mundane monologue to an engaging performance. Whether it’s a wedding toast or a farewell speech, remember, body language is a powerful tool – so why not hone it to your advantage?

Engaging Your Audience with Eye Contact

Let me reiterate a crucial point here: Eye contact is a powerful tool when engaging your audience. It doesn’t matter whether you’re speaking to a group of five or five hundred; eye contact can strengthen your connection with your listeners and command their attention.

Consider this – remember the last time someone held your gaze during a conversation? It made you feel interesting and heard, right? The same is true when you’re toasting.

By looking into people’s eyes, you’re saying without words: “I respect you. I value your presence. The words I’m saying are important to you too.” Let’s explore how to make the most of eye contact when delivering a toast.

Gauging Your Audience’s Reaction

If you want to really connect and engage with your audience, watch their reactions . As you make eye contact with different people during your toast, you can gather valuable feedback. If they seem engaged and responsive, you’re on the right track. However, if they seem unsettled or disinterested, it may be time to adjust your delivery, lighten the mood, or make a joke. Remember, your audience’s reactions are your guide.

Maintaining a Balance

Though eye contact is essential, there’s a fine balance to consider. Staring too intently might make your audience feel uncomfortable. On the other hand, fleeting or absent eye contact could give the impression that you’re insincere or nervous. The key is in finding the balance – aim for honest and steady eye contact that communicates your respect and appreciation.

Incorporating Eye Contact Naturally

Of course, the trick here is to incorporate eye contact naturally and not rigidly. Look at someone, smile, connect with your eyes, then naturally move on to someone else. Don’t worry too much about ensuring you make eye contact with everyone. It’s not about playing crowd bingo; it’s about making meaningful connections. Focus on making quality eye contact, not quantity.

So there you have it. Eye contact: easy to understand, a bit trickier to master, but oh-so effective once you do. It’s your subtle superpower in winning hearts and minds when giving a good toast. Master it, and you’re well on your way to achieving toasting greatness.

Managing Nerves and Overcoming Stage Fright

Do the bright lights and constant glances make you tremble whenever you take the stage? It’s completely understandable, even the most experienced speakers suffer from stage fright. But guess what, it’s nothing you can’t conquer.

The trick is to breathe and believe. Inhale deep, exhale slow. That little exercise right there can do wonders to your raging nerves. But that’s not all. Visualizing success, often termed ‘positive mental imagery’, can do wonders as well. Picture yourself on that stage, delivering that unforgettable toast. How does it feel? Pretty spectacular, isn’t it?

This isn’t your typical mumbo jumbo, in fact, many professional athletes and famous performers swear by these techniques. So, what’s stopping you? Try it out and see the magic unfold.

The Art of Overcoming Stage Fright

Stage fright can be a major obstacle that prevents you from delivering a memorable toast. Let’s delve into some strategies that can help you to overcome it effectively:

  • Prepare: Nothing beats good preparation. Rehearse your speech, learn it inside and out until the words become second nature. Rehearsing ‘outloud’ and ‘in the open’ can escalate the comfort level you have with your speech.
  • Accept and Reframe: It is important to understand and accept that nerves are natural, they come and go. Instead of considering nerves as a negative factor impacting your performance, reframe them as an indication of your enthusiasm and commitment.
  • Focus on the Message: Your primary goal is to deliver your message effectively and engage with your audience. Shifting your attention to the significance of your speech, rather than on your fear, will help you ease down.
  • Engage with Audience: Find friendly faces and make eye contact. Engage your audience early-on to establish a connection which often helps to settle any leftover nerves.

Remember, fear is just a mind game and luckily, you hold the winning cards. Embrace those nerves and redirect them to enhance your performance. Because let’s face it, there’s nothing like a little adrenaline to get the show going. It’s your stage, own it!

Next time anxiousness comes knocking before an important toast, refer back to these points. After all, remember the unforgettable words of Mark Twain, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.”

Toast Etiquette: Dos and Don’ts to Keep in Mind

Let’s dive right in, shall we? Toasting is an art, undeniably, but it also comes with its fair share of rules or, to put it more gently, etiquette. You’ll want to pay attention to these ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ to avoid stepping on toes or leaving your audience less appreciative of your toasting prowess.

First and foremost, let’s focus on the dos .

  • Respect your time limit : To avoid rambling on and potentially boring your audience, remember that a toast is a short speech, not a marathon. Say what you need to say succinctly and with maximum effect.
  • Rehearse beforehand : Preparation is key – rehearsal helps iron out creases and makes delivery smoother. Have a run-through, or even a few, refining your words and delivery each time.
  • Show appreciation and honor : Remember to show gratitude and appreciate those you are toasting. This is, after all, the primary goal of a toast.
  • Speak from the heart : Genuine sincerity is crucial. While you can draw inspiration from other sources, ensure your toast is authentic and comes from your heart.
  • Engage the audience : Make eye contact, invoke humor where appropriate, and aim to connect with your audience. Make them feel part of the toast rather than just spectators.

Just as important as the dos are the don’ts . Here they are:

  • Avoid inappropriate language or content : A toast is a public and formal address. Therefore, offensive language and inappropriate content are off bounds. If in doubt, err on the side of caution and cut it out.
  • Don’t embarrass anyone : A toast is not the time for retelling embarrassing stories or making anyone feel uncomfortable. Keep it friendly and respectful.
  • Don’t wing it : Preparation comes in again here – avoid making your toast look like an afterthought by being prepared and well-rehearsed.
  • Don’t make it about you : While it’s your toast, remember it’s not about you. Center your speech on the person or event you are celebrating.
  • Avoid being overly emotional or dramatic : Keep your emotions in check and avoid turning your toast into a teary spectacle or dramatic performance.

Finally, remember, the ultimate goal is to honor someone or celebrate something special. Remain focused on that, and you’ll stand a good chance of mastering the art of toasting.

The Aftermath: Following Up and Expressing Gratitude

So, you’ve delivered an exquisite toast, turning the atmosphere brimming with cheer and adulation. Yet, believe it or not, your job isn’t quite done. The aftermath of the toast offers a unique opportunity to further deepen relationships and consolidate the goodwill you’ve generated. Wondering how? Let’s dig in.

First off, look around – who seems particularly moved or joyful after your toast? Approach these people. Engage them in conversation. Hear what they have to say. You see, follow-up conversations can often reveal aspects of your toast that resonated with your audience, providing you with crucial insights into what worked and what didn’t.

Another important aspect is expressing gratitude — to those who helped you prepare, and to those who had the patience to listen. When it comes to saying thank you, don’t just stop at a blanket “thanks everyone.” Be specific. Call out people by name. Mingle, shake hands, give out compliments, honor those who influenced you, or inspired sections of your toast. Personal interactions like these go a long way in creating lasting bonds. Additionally, it is important to speak highly of the guest of honor and express gratitude for their presence and impact on the event.

Lastly, take time to evaluate your performance. Reflect on your delivery and the response you garnered. Although it may seem daunting at times, don’t shy away from considering criticisms, should they be presented. Remember that every toast you deliver is a stepping stone towards your growth as a speaker — and it’s up to you to extract the solid learning from each experience.

Now you might be thinking, “do I really need to do all this?” Well, you don’t need to do anything. But isn’t it worth taking just a few extra steps if they enhance your connection with your audience, refine your skills, and most importantly, make the entire experience even more meaningful? I’ll let you answer that one.

So, here’s to mastering the art of the toast aftermath. To conversations and connections. To gratitude and growth. Your journey towards becoming an exceptional toastmaster doesn’t end with the applause — it’s in what happens thereafter that counts, too.

Whether you’re raising a toast for a milestone birthday, an anniversary or professional achievement, the knack lies in understanding your subject and your audience. Refine your thoughts, conjure up compelling stories, pepper them with relevant humor, and add a dash of personal touch. Just remember, sincerity is key.

But remember, mastering the art of toastmaking isn’t solely about the words you speak. It’s about engaging your audience, managing your nerves, understanding the nuances of body language, and putting in the time to prepare meticulously.

It’s also about the aftermath of the toast. Yes, you were witty, captivating, appreciative, and engaging, but there’s something to be said about following up and expressing gratitude in the days that follow. Because it’s not just about one speech, but the legacy of good feelings that that speech leaves behind.

Remember, every great toastmaster had to start somewhere. So, take these lessons, tips, and advice to heart. Tackle your fears head on, and give that toast that will be remembered fondly for years to come. As you embark on this entertaining journey of mastering the art of the toast, commit to finding joy in the process and tapping into the power and potential of public speaking that you’ll discover within yourself. Here’s to your journey to becoming an exceptional toastmaster!

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How to Give a Memorable Toast

How to Give a Toast

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How to Give a Memorable Toast for Any Occasion

Karen is a freelance writer with more than 25 years of experience writing for an array of publications, including authoring several books.

Learn about our Editorial Policy .

When you offer a toast at a public occasion, it's important to speak from the heart in a manner that suits the occasion and engages the audience. Preparation - but not over practicing - is key to making the perfect, impressive toast.

Anatomy of an Impressive Toast

While your toast can be anything you want it to be, the following outline can help you organize your thoughts into a cohesive toast.

  • Wedding Toast Examples for a Speech They'll Remember
  • Free Wedding Speech Examples to Celebrate the Big Day
  • Thanksgiving Toasts to Make Any Celebration More Meaningful

Stand Up and With Your Glass

Whether you've been asked ahead of time to make a toast or have decided to do it in the spur of the moment, the first step to making a toast is to stand up and hold your glass in front of you. You may wish to clink your knife gently on the side of a glass to get people's attention, or you can stand up, project (without shouting), and say, "I'd like to make a toast."

Pause for a Moment

Now, you need to wait for a moment to ensure you have everyone's attention. Give them time to stop their conversations and focus on you.

Make the Toast About the Person or Event

Lead by mentioning the reason for the toast or the focus of the toast. Avoid saying things about you - such as "I'm so happy for..." or "I'm the brother of the bride and I want to..." Some examples of powerful toast lead-ins for different occasions follow.

  • Wedding: "Today we're here to share in Amy's and Malik's joy as they begin their life together as husband and wife,"
  • Retirement: "Anup may be retiring, but before he goes, I'd like to share a story about his time at our company,"
  • Holiday gathering: "Thanksgiving is such a joyous occasion, let's take a moment to reflect on the many blessings our family has received in the past year."

Engage Listeners With a Hook

After stating the purpose of your toast, include a "hook" engage listeners. This may be a joke or a promise of an anecdote about the person or event you are toasting. Make sure it's just a sentence or two. The hook may be the same as your introductory statement, or it may be a follow-up statement to your introductory statement. For example:

  • Wedding: "When Amy and I were roommates in college, we would like awake at night discussing her perfect man."
  • Retirement: "As everyone who has ever worked with Anup likely knows, he has a very problematic relationship with the copy machine."
  • Holiday gathering: "One of the main things that blesses us this year is that dad didn't drop the cooked turkey the garage behind the car on the way to grandma's house."

Offer an Anecdote or Two Appropriate to the Situation

Then, follow your hook with the promised anecdote. Keep it relatively short, but also make it descriptive, sharing the highlights of the anecdote. Your anecdote can be any of the following:

  • Sentimental
  • Something that shows the character of the person you're toasting

Stick to just one or two anecdotes so your toast isn't too long. Between 1 and 5 minutes is ideal for a toast depending on the occasion.

Say Something Nice About the Person/People or Occasion

After your anecdote(s), wind up by saying something nice about the person, people, or occasion you're toasting, tying it into to the rest of the toast. For example:

  • Wedding: "Amy's perfect man turned out to be Malik, and he makes her so happy! I wish you many years of love and joy as you enter your new life together as husband and wife."
  • Retirement: "So while we will enjoy having a copy machine that doesn't break nearly as often now, we will miss hearing Anup's dad puns and getting caught up in his enthusiasm for his great ideas. Anup, your presence will be deeply missed, but we wish you well as you travel the world in your retirement."
  • Holiday gathering: "We're excited to eat turkey this year without any gravel from the garage in it. And we're overjoyed to be blessed with the presence of our loved ones here at this table as we gather for a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner."

Then, raise your glass towards the person or people you're toasting and invite everyone else to raise theirs as well. Look at the person and say, "Cheers!" or something similar. For example:

  • Wedding: "So raise your glass to Amy and Malik to wish them many years of health, happiness, love, and prosperity. Cheers!"
  • Retirement: "Please everyone raise your glass to Anup. We wish you a long, beautiful, and happy retirement. Cheers!"
  • Holiday gathering: "I invite you to raise your glass to our family and give thanks for our many blessings. Cheers!"

Tips for Giving Great Toasts

The following tips can help you make a great toast.

Avoid Risqué Jokes and Embarrassing Stories

Toasts are meant to celebrate people and occasions. And while you can tell humorous stories about your subject or event, avoid telling cringeworthy stories that will make listeners or the subject of your toast uncomfortable. Also avoid sharing any information that might be considered private or TMI (too much information), betraying a confidence, or telling risqué or dirty jokes.

Employ Sensory Language to Draw in Listeners

When sharing your anecdote, use sensory language to make the story more interesting. In other words, offer a few details about how things looked, smelled, tasted, sounded, or felt. These small details can make your story more compelling.

Use Family-Friendly Language

Consider your audience when you're giving a toast. It's best to use family-friendly language and avoid swearing or offering overly graphic descriptions or anecdotes.

Make Eye Contact

Making eye contact strengthens your connection with the audience while making you look comfortable and appear more engaging. Make eye contact with both the person or people you're toasting and the people listening to your toast. Try to make brief eye contact with each person or group of people in turn, but don't linger overly long or it can become uncomfortable.

If you're in a large crowd and don't have the benefit of a microphone, you're going to need to project. Stand up straight, take deep breaths, and speak clearly and not too quickly. Be sure you enunciate. It's also okay to ask as you begin to speak, "Can everyone hear me okay?" and then modulate your voice based on the feedback you receive.

Keep It Short

Few people wish to sit through a ten-minute toast, so keep your speech relatively brief. Typically, five minutes or fewer is ideal for a toast, which gives you time for your introduction and hook, one or two anecdotes, your closing statement, and the cheers.

If you have advance notice you'll be making a toast, plan it ahead of time and practice it a few times (without notes) so you know your opening and hook, the broad outline of the anecdote(s) you plan to share, and your final sentiments. Don't read your toast as you give it or over-rehearse so you sound stiff or overly formal. Having the broad strokes of what you are going to say in place will also help you appear more relaxed and confident as you give the toast while allowing you some flexibility to adapt when you're actually giving the toast.

Examples of Good Toasts

One of the best ways to get a feel for a great toast is to find examples of them. The following examples can help as you plan your toast.

  • Toasts are common at weddings. These free wedding toasts should give you some ideas.
  • You can also bring humor into your wedding toast .
  • You may also wish to make a toast at a wedding rehearsal dinner .
  • Engagement parties are also toasting occasions.
  • Celebrate a pending birth with creative baby shower toasts .
  • Give thanks for your blessings with Thanksgiving toasts .
  • Celebrate milestone wedding anniversaries with a toast .
  • Toast your co-worker upon their retirement.

Raise Your Glass!

Fear of public speaking (glossophobia) is a common phobia. One of the best ways to overcome it is with preparation and experience. Toasting is a great way to gain some practice in public speaking because it's usually for a friendly and familiar audience, and it's a relatively short talk. So the next time someone asks you to give a toast, plan, prepare, and raise your glass to make the perfect impressive toast.

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Cheers! How to Give a Toast

Cheers! How to Give a Toast

Searching for the right words to say while giving a toast we’ll help you know how to raise your glass with these speech ideas..

Oct. 17, 2023

Toasting is a time-honored tradition that can be truly enjoyable — and also a little intimidating. Whether you’re the maid of honor who needs to give a wedding toast or you just want to say a few words at a friend’s birthday, we have plenty of tips and tricks to help make sure your toast is the talk of the evening. Follow these steps below to write your own…or just use our AI-powered Tailored Toasts generator and get the perfect thing to say in no time.

1. How to Start a Toast

The first step in crafting a great toast is to consider your audience. Are you toasting at a wedding, a birthday party, a retirement celebration or a casual dinner? Will you know everyone there really well, or is it a group of near strangers? Understanding the occasion and your audience's expectations will help you tailor your message appropriately. For example, a wedding toast may include heartfelt, appropriate anecdotes about the couple, while an informal birthday toast could include some funny stories and well-wishes.

2. Lead with Gratitude

Begin your toast by expressing gratitude or appreciation for the moment. Thank the host for inviting you and all the guests for being there. If there are people present who don’t know you, or don’t know you that well, be sure to include an introduction of yourself. Starting with a positive and thankful note sets the tone for your speech.

3. Acknowledge the Occasion

Acknowledge the reason you’re all there, whether that’s a wedding, birthday, business achievement or even just a Saturday night. If you’re toasting to a specific person, now’s the time to note that and express your affection for that person. What do they mean to you, and what makes them special?

4. Share Personal Stories

Personal anecdotes and stories add a touch of authenticity to your toast. Share memorable moments or experiences you've had with the person or people you're toasting. These stories should be lighthearted, touching or funny, depending on the atmosphere of the event. Be careful to not overshare or divulge something that the toast recipient wouldn’t appreciate.

5. Add a Quote

While totally optional, you can always research a good quote ahead of time to insert into your toast. Whether it’s from an author, movie star or respected visionary, adding someone else’s well-written words can lend your toast some additional credibility and interest.

6. Raise Your Glass

End your speech by recapping why you’re toasting, then ask everyone to raise a glass. Tradition dictates that the last sentence should say “Here’s to ______” and then “Cheers” to indicate that it’s time to toast.

Or…Let Us Write Your Speech for You

If you don’t feel like you have the time, the skills or the desire to write a toast — or just want to play around with some fun, new technology — check out our AI-powered Tailored Toasts generator . All you have to do is answer a few questions like what you’re celebrating and the style you want, and then we’ll provide you a uniquely customized toast for the occasion. Try writing your speech with Tailored Toasts today.

General Toasting Tips

There are a few things to keep in mind while crafting your speech:

Keep it concise. A short and sweet speech is always better than a meandering lecture.

Practice, practice, practice. Public speaking can be nerve-wracking, so practice your toast several times before the big moment. Consider rehearsing with a trusted friend who can provide feedback.

Be yourself. Authenticity is key to a successful toast. Speak from the heart, and your sincerity will shine through. Don't try to be overly formal or use language that doesn't feel like "you."

Enjoy a great cocktail. For the guests who are toasting with a drink in hand, make sure they’re raising a glass of something special. Search through all our vodka cocktail recipes to find your favorite.

Now you know everything you need to write and give an exceptional speech. We’ll toast to that. Cheers!

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How to Write a Wedding Toast: Examples, Tips, and Advice

Make sure your moment in the spotlight is memorable—in a good way!

Jaimie Mackey was the real weddings editor at Brides from 2013 to 2015. She also worked as a luxury wedding planner and produced over 100 high-end weddings and events in Colorado

Photo by Olivia & Dan Photography

In This Article

Figuring out how to write a wedding toast can be an incredibly intimidating and nerve-inducing task. Wedding toasts can go one of two ways: They’re either hilarious, memorable, and totally sweet, or a train wreck waiting to happen. Every couple hopes the speeches at the reception fall into the first category, but there’s no guarantee—until now.

To combat those awful speeches, Marisa Polansky and Kristine Keller founded Speech Tank , offering completely custom, one-of-a-kind toasts for any occasion. And what better reason to turn to the experts than for your best friend’s wedding? We sat down with Polansky and Keller to get the inside scoop on writing a totally killer speech . With their help, your audience will be begging for an encore!

Meet the Expert

  • Marisa Polansky is a book editor, author, and co-founder of Speech Tank, a collaborative speech-writing service for any occasion.
  • Kristine Keller is a writer and the co-founder of Speech Tank.

Wedding Toast Template

Your wedding toast should be meaningful, but not drawn out. Make sure to have a beginning, middle, and end.

While everyone's speech will be unique to them and their relationship with the couple, we put together a general outline to help you get started.

  • Congratulate the couple. Express how happy you are that the two of them are getting married and what it means to you to witness it.
  • Introduce yourself. Not everyone will know you met the bride or groom at the fourth-grade space camp, so be sure to let guests know about your relationship with the couple before you dive into your speech.
  • Tell a (curated) story. When you’re writing your speech, “Choose anecdotes that all fit a theme and support your argument,” Keller says. The theme will help tie it together, making your toast feel intentional instead of random.
  • Address both partners. You may not know them both well, but you shouldn’t focus all of your attention on your friend and ignore their new spouse. “Even if you’ve only met your friend’s partner once or twice before, find a way to include him or her in your toast,” Polansky says. “Tell the story of their engagement or share something your friend told you about them that proves what a great partner he or she is.”
  • Go for the crowd-pleasers. “Anything that’s an inside joke may have been funny at the time, but no one else will understand what you’re talking about,” Keller says. “Run your stories and jokes by a neutral audience to see if they are as funny as you think.” And remember, a little humor is fine, but this is a toast, not a roast!
  • Raise your glass for a toast. To wrap up your speech, invite everyone to raise their glass to the couple, or to love, etc., then cheers glasses together and take a sip.

Don’t count on your phone, which may lock or turn off mid-speech. Instead, print out your toast or put it on note cards for reference. “It’s your moment to have the floor, so don’t risk forgetting your point!” Keller says.

Wedding Toast Tips

Here are Polansky and Keller's best tips for writing and delivering your wedding toast.

  • Just get started. It’s your big moment, but figuring out where to start can be tough. “When we work with our clients, we always start with a stream of consciousness,” Keller says. “We ask them to just start telling us stories. You might not think every anecdote is important, but all of a sudden you’ll land on a real gem.”
  • Start writing things down. When you’re doing this at home on your own, Polansky says to just start writing stuff down. “Put it all down on paper. Don’t worry about editing as you’re writing, just get it out and then go back and pick and choose details when you’re done.” This will help you identify a theme, which is what you’ll need to make your toast really memorable.
  • Use examples. “If you’re trying to make a point about the bride or groom's personality—say, that she or he's particularly loyal—don’t just say that and move on. Pick a specific moment that proves your point. Have something to back it up!” Polansky says. Including some proof will make sure your listeners really buy what you’re saying about the couple.
  • Make it quick. “The best length for a toast is about three minutes,” Polansky says. “It’s enough time to say what you need to say, but short enough that you’ll still have everyone’s attention when you ask them to raise their glasses to toast the happy couple.”
  • Practice. Think you know what three minutes feels like? Think again. “Practice reading your speech out loud (not in your head!) and time yourself,” Polansky says. “Don’t wing it, especially if you’re nervous,” Polansky continues. “Give yourself time to prepare. Practice with an audience to check your timing, and give yourself time to make edits.”
  • Don't overstuff your speech. “If you’re a fast talker, try to slow yourself down so everyone will understand you,” Polansky says. Better to cut a few lines than to try to fit a 10-minute toast into a three-minute time frame!
  • Keep it clean-ish. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to know your audience. “Cursing and stories about exes are totally off-limits,” Keller says.
  • Don't embarrass the couple. “Ask yourself how each story will present the couple. If it sheds any negative light on either person, avoid it.” Continues Polansky, “Think about how close you are with the family as well as who you know will be there. Will it make the bride or groom's great aunt uncomfortable?”

Every time you feel nervous, tell yourself you're excited instead.

Get Brainstorming!

Now that you know the basics, here are a few questions to ask yourself to help you get started writing that killer wedding toast.

  • What is your first memory of the bride/groom?
  • What is your favorite memory of the bride/groom?
  • What did they say when they first told you about their partner?
  • How did you know they were meant to be?
  • What has the bride/groom or the couple as a whole taught you?
  • What qualities do you admire in them?
  • When are times that they displayed these qualities?

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how do you give a toast speech


5 Tips For Giving The Perfect Toast No Matter The Occasion

Not sure what to say? Keep these rules in mind and you’ll nail it.

5 Tips For Giving The Perfect Toast No Matter The Occasion

BY  Anett Grant 4 minute read

You’re at an awards dinner. Or maybe it’s a grand opening, or even a retirement party. You’re asked to say a few words, but you aren’t sure how to do it. How do you find the right level of mush–not too mushy, but just mushy enough? It’s a special occasion, so you want to give your audience a warm feeling, but you don’t want to get too corny and make them cringe. Here are five simple tips to bear in mind for your next toast.

1. Start With The Obvious

When you gather together for a celebration, you share the same physical space with your audience. You all experience the same setting–the decor and so on. Yet inside, each of you still inhabits your own little world–noting the buzz of your smartphone, the thoughts in your head about the food or the people you’re seated next to. So the first challenge any master of ceremonies or toast-maker faces is simply connecting with their audience by sharing the same mental space as well.

The easiest way to create that connection, of course, is simply to talk about what’s in common with everyone: Why are you here together in the first place? When you begin with the obvious, it’s like listening to the first notes of a familiar tune–everyone gets into the same groove.

For example, if you’re celebrating a retirement, you could begin by saying something like, “We’re here today to celebrate a transition–from ending to beginning, from the familiar to the unknown, from one challenge to another challenge.” This may not sound especially original to you, but it’s an effective way to quickly set the tone. By giving voice to the common experience, you bring the audience together, forging a feeling of unity.


Anett Grant is the CEO of Executive Speaking, Inc. and the author of multiple e-books on speaking. Read her latest e-book here   More

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The #1 Thing You Should Never Do While Giving a Toast, According to Etiquette Experts

Here's when you’re expected to give a toast—and the three elements every toast should include.

Every item on this page was chosen by a Veranda editor. We may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.

Have you ever felt lost for words when tasked with preparing a toast for a wedding or guest of honor at a party? Or worse, have you been at a party or event and found yourself wondering whether you’re expected to give a toast and you have nothing prepared? You’re not alone: We’ve all suffered through trying to say something meaningful, not clichéd, and we’ve also endured the discomfort that comes from wondering whether we should say something at all.

The best part: Their advice on giving a great toast is rooted in their goal of making etiquette approachable and unintimidating for all, so putting these tips into action is sure to feel natural.

“Today, etiquette is less about how you use your knife and fork and more about how you can show up at your very best and treat people with love and kindness and compassion,” says Swann. “If we’re doing that, then we're practicing great etiquette.”

Here, the need-to-know secrets to giving a memorable toast at any event, plus advice on how to behave when the toasts given are in your honor.

When should I be prepared to give a toast?

Elaine Swann: The best way to know whether to prepare a toast is when you’ve been asked by the host of the event. Some obvious instances are at a wedding or a holiday gathering among family. At those types of occasions, it’s a good idea for the host to give a toast or designate a person to give a toast if they want that to be part of the occasion. But with family, it’s a good idea to be prepared to speak casually even if you have not been asked. I think this holiday season we will see even more people coming back together and we should be prepared for a toast that goes around the room.

We also see toasts given when someone is being honored for some sort of accomplishment. The best way to determine whether you might give a toast even when you have not been asked is if the person being honored is very close to you or if you have inside information that can help illuminate the occasion or how they have been able to achieve this recognition.

Let Crazy Be Crazy: Then Politely Get What You Want, Get Your Point Across, and Gently Put Rude People in Their Place

Let Crazy Be Crazy: Then Politely Get What You Want, Get Your Point Across, and Gently Put Rude People in Their Place

When should I absolutely not chime in on the toasting?

ES: Do not give a toast if you are inebriated. Do not give a toast if you do not know the person of honor well. Do not give a toast if you are attending the event as someone’s ‘plus one.’

When giving a toast, what should I do and say?

ES: I have a very specific approach. The first thing you should always do is stand. You do not have to tap your glass. Hold your glass or cup or mug in your hand—it does not matter which hand. If you do not know everyone in the room, introduce yourself with your first and last names and state how you know the person of honor.

From there it’s natural: Make a simple and short positive statement about the individual or the occasion. When you’re finished, raise your glass, and say a salutation like ‘cheers’ or ‘here’s to so-and-so’—whatever works for you.

Michael Diaz-Griffith: For experienced toast-makers, it is sufficient to gather your thoughts at the table before giving your toast, but no matter your level of experience, you should be certain you know the aim of your toast before clinking your glass. For more formal or profound settings, such as award dinners or wedding receptions, you should feel free to use notes, but do yourself a favor and follow one of two formats: Either give yourself bullet points and extemporize from those throughout or write your toast verbatim, in your normal speaking voice, and read it exactly as written (or better, memorize it).

Do not attempt to mix methods; that can lead to awkward pauses that increase your nerves. (And even a smooth transition from one register to another is unwelcome when making brief remarks.)

Mario Buatta: Anatomy of a Decorator

Mario Buatta: Anatomy of a Decorator

When giving a toast, what should I never do or say?

ES: First, you should never give a toast from a seated position. As far as what to avoid saying, don’t bring up the negatives or make fun of the honoree’s downfalls. It’s alright to be humorous but not at the expense of the person you are toasting. Most importantly: Don’t make it about yourself! Keep it focused on the person being honored or the occasion itself.

Emily Eerdmans: A toast is not about you: it's about sharing appreciation or gratitude to someone or something else. I emphasize this because that is where most toasts go wrong—someone goes on about themselves which frankly gets boring after 30 seconds or so.

How long should my toast be?

ES: Be mindful about the amount of time – keep it minimal as it does not take much to make a positive impact on the occasion. A good toast is anywhere from 60-90 seconds. Think of it as an extended elevator pitch.

EE: Remember, brevity is the soul of wit. Two or three minutes may not sound very long, but it is longer than you think.

And when should I plan to give my toast?

ES: For formal events, the moment will be established. At less formal events, especially at home, I suggest one of two moments: before the meal itself, and you can say something like, ‘Before we begin, I would like to acknowledge…” or during a transition, after dinner and before dessert or between dinner and drinks in another room. If you’re at a restaurant, you could aim for that lull between when orders are placed and when you are served to set the tone for the occasion.

MDG: When the timing of a toast is not set, I give it at (1) the end of the beginning or (2) the beginning of the end of a dinner or cocktail party. It is important to read the room to ensure you’ve picked an appropriate moment. Are you drawing from the energy that has built up in the room? Are you making remarks as a way of injecting energy into the gathering? Are you setting up an event or concluding it? All are valid, but it is important to know your goal and assess the room accordingly.

The New Antiquarians: At Home with Young Collectors

The New Antiquarians: At Home with Young Collectors

How should I behave when the toasts are in my honor?

ES: The honoree should not be prepared to give a toast. Number one, when people are raising a glass, we do not raise a glass to ourselves. The person honored should sit there, make eye contact, and keep their hands to themselves. Nod, smile, say thank you.

You should also not clap for yourself. We do these things because we feel awkward. It can be awkward to have all that attention. Keep hands clasped together leave in your lap and enjoy the moment. And remain seated. Instead, maintain eye contact with the person speaking and give yourself permission to be honored.

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How to give a toast from the heart.

An illustration of hands joining together above a table of food to toast wine glasses.

At some point in your life, you’ll need to give a toast. You might get advance notice as a Maid of Honor or host of a retirement celebration. Or it might occur to you suddenly, in the middle of a gathering of your best friends, that “this calls for a toast!”

Here’s a secret about toasts: The best ones come from the heart. Try not to worry about being eloquent or memorable or perfect—focus on letting the person or people you toast know they matter.

Inspired? Create and share by tagging @hallmarkstores .

The basics of giving a toast  

We’ll start with a few FAQs:

Should you give a toast?

Sometimes it’s easy to know: You’ve been asked, you’re in a wedding party, you’re the host of a gathering. But sometimes, the gathering is less formal. A few simple etiquette guidelines:

  • The host of a dinner might start the meal by toasting the guest of honor or the group.
  • If they don’t, guests can suggest a toast to thank the host—or wait until after the main course is over to raise a glass.
  • In a gathering, read the room. Is there a good reason to grab everyone’s attention? Can you do it without changing the mood of the event? Is this something everyone needs to hear? Then go for it.

Is this the time for a quick wish, a sincere compliment, or some good stories?

If you’ve been asked to deliver a toast, you can ask about expectations. If you’re raising a glass to start a meal, speaking on a whim, or are one of many speakers, shorter is sweeter.

How do you actually do it? Just simply stand up, raise a glass of whatever you’re drinking, and take focus. You don’t have to ding your glass with silverware—just confidently ask for a few moments of attention or say, “I’d like to propose a toast.”

What to say in a toast  

This is the part most likely to make people nervous. But remember: The most moving toasts are heartfelt and sincere. They use real-life language, true stories, and genuine emotion.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make a few notes or practice. Absolutely do. If you’re offering a toast at a formal or special event, being comfortable with what you’re going to say will put everyone else at ease, too.

Here’s a simple formula to create a great toast:

  • Start by announcing who or what you’re toasting—the person, group, organization, or occasion—and the reason for the gathering.
  • Give the audience context by letting them know why you’re making the toast: your relationship, connection, or a little about yourself.
  • Share stories, anecdotes, or compliments about the subject of the toast.
  • Wrap things up with a thank-you to the hosts, if appropriate, and a wish for the honoree.

Or, if some of those things are well known, you can keep your toast super simple:

“Raise your glasses to (person, people, or organization) because (reason or occasion). (Add a compliment here.) Cheers!”

Specific toasts for special occasions  

Looking for more help making a toast on a big day? We’ve got help for that, too.

The Challenge: What to say at your parents’ 50th wedding anniversary The Tip: Before the big bash, ask your parents (separately) about the secrets to their success, how they met, their fondest memory, their partner’s best trait. Then incorporate their stories into your toast. Be sure to mention what they’ve meant to you as parents and your admiration for their partnership. A good ending: “So here’s to my parents—my first, and best, example of how love can last a lifetime. Cheers to both of you.” Skip: Sibling rivalry! If your brother shows up with a 20-minute slide show, don’t alter your speech for the sake of competition.

The Challenge: What to say at your son’s high-school graduation party The Tip: Highlight what his graduation represents: the joy and pride he has brought to his family, his dedication to his education and the promise of his future life. Consider, “We know that he’ll take the university—and soccer field!—by storm and become the kind of adult who will benefit the people and the world around him.” Skip: Gushing—you don’t want to mortify the kid. And don’t go on and on about his good grades; it comes off as bragging.

The Challenge: What to say as matron of honor at your friend’s second wedding The Tip: Include the groom and mention how much he has brought into your friend’s life. Try starting with, “I’ve known Mary since childhood and always knew she needed someone to match her smarts, strength and loyalty. Fortunately, she found her equal when she met Jon.” Give examples you’ve seen, or your friend has shared with you. Keep it short—three to five minutes. Skip: Any references whatsoever to her previous spouse, boyfriends, or romantic dry spells.

The Challenge: What to say at your best friend’s milestone birthday party The Tip: Let the compliments flow. Want help putting it into words? Ask the party guests to write compliments—or memories, or short anecdotes—on 3×5 cards. (You can send them in invitations or make them available at the celebration.) You can read them aloud or ask others to help. Afterward, put all the cards in a jar or book as a gift to the guest of honor. Skip: Making fun of your friend for getting older. We know by now that we get better and better with every decade, right?

The Challenge: What to say when your team just landed a new project at work The Tip: Make it about the team—all of them. Try something like: “Every one of you was instrumental in closing this deal: The marketing team put together great materials, the sales team swayed the client, and the administrative staff kept us sane through it all!” Skip: Winging it—make notes and talk it through in your mirror. You don’t want to accidentally leave someone out.

Short and sweet toasts  

We understand that sometimes you might want to finish with a little bit of a flourish. For those occasions, we offer these toasts:

  • Here’s to you and the chance today brings to look back, look ahead and, best of all, look around at the faces of all the people who care about you.
  • Here’s to the memories we cherish, the joys we share, the dreams we dream. And most of all, here’s to us.
  • Wishing you joy and laughter, beauty and happy memories, and all the joy you so deserve.
  • Here’s to new journeys, new songs to be sung, new ways to be blessed when you’re [age] years young!
  • Here’s to you— one year older, wiser, and more wonderfully you than ever. Here’s to you! You did good— I knew you would! A toast to you on this special occasion and best wishes for all the happiness the future can hold.

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  • Delivery Techniques →

How to Propose a Toast to Commemorate and Celebrate


There are occasions when you may be asked to say a few words to commemorate an event or a person. Giving a speech at such an occasion, especially if the mood is festive, would not only be entirely unwelcome and a bore but also not appropriate for the context.

So, what can you do? Give a toast of course!

By definition, proposing a toast involves wishing a person or people future success, happiness and health and asking others to raise their glasses and join in a drink.

Toasts are diverse in that they can be given at retirement parties , awards dinners, weddings, birthdays, thanksgiving ceremonies and engagement parties, among others. They can be made over festive beverages such as wine, sparkling cider or champagne, as well as any other beverages.

If you are ever called upon to share a few words to add a personal touch to any social gathering, here are a few tips to help you propose a toast that will not only mark the special occasion but also be memorable.

Before we look at them though, do you know what a toast comprises of?

Structure of a Toast

A toast is made up of:

  • The Greeting

Here you’ll stand and ask the audience to stand (not compulsory) and fill their glasses, after which, you get to address them.

  • The Proposal

Here, you’ll raise your glass and give your proposal. This may be something along the lines of, “I would like to propose a toast…”

This, just like in a speech, is the most important part. It should be made up of a few sentences that talk about the persons in question.

This is where you pay homage to the toast’s subject. This could be something along the lines of, “Please join me in a toast to…”

  • The Declaration

This represents the climax, which honors the subject of the toast and summarizes the said toast. After this, drinks can then be taken.

We can now look at: 

Tips on Preparing for a Toast

We will begin by looking at what you should do in preparation for the toast.

Plan your toast in advance

Say you’ve been chosen to give a toast as the best man at your brother’s wedding, would you prefer to not prepare and fumble on the big day, thus disappointing him or plan what you’ll say in advance, thus allowing you to confidently relay a heartfelt message to the newlyweds?

I think everyone would prefer the latter, which is why it would be immeasurably better to prepare in advance .

plan toast

Putting some thought to what you’ll say when giving a toast not only makes you sound sincerer but also prevents you from rambling on.

Pro-Tip: A good basis for planning a toast would be to ask yourself:

  • What/who is being toasted?
  • What is the reason for the toast?
  • What type of event will the toast be given at?
  • Who will be in attendance?

Choose what format you’ll use

Here, you can decide whether to give a classic set toast or write up an original toast from scratch.

You should keep in mind though that the best kind of toast is one which merges an original introduction that talks about the attendees and the occasion its being presented in, with a classic toast.

Ever heard of a simple three-point structure?

This structure allows you to make use of any three values or qualities that have importance in the lives of your friends and family.

After deciding on the qualities you’ll be focusing on, illustrate each quality with a story or an event from the past, to help deliver your message to your audience.

Choose being sincere over being humorous

When drafting a toast , it’s better to be sincere rather than try to be funny.

Humor isn’t easy to deliver well, particularly with a diverse and large crowd. So instead, include sincere tidbits in your toast.

Additionally, you should note that in comparison with an ill attempt at humor, you can never go wrong with a sincere toast, which is more likely to be remembered.

Make use of notes

Planning in advance may also require you to write your key message down, and while you may be tempted to scribble this onto any piece of paper that on hand, don’t.

Instead, you can use a 3x5 card to write your notes on, tidily. Ensure that your writing is bold and large, to allow you to read your words more easily.

If you usually use glasses to read, try practicing reading the notes with your glasses on. This will ensure that you deliver your toast smoothly.

Keep your toast short

While planning your toast, you should remember to keep it short. Remember, it’s a celebration, and no one wants to hear you talk for over 10 minutes when they could be having a good time relaxing and enjoying themselves.

Therefore, keep it anywhere between under a minute to a couple of minutes but try to not go over five minutes.

Pro-Tip: Droning on diverts the audience’s attention. You should therefore try speaking in short sentences.

When Giving a Toast

On the day of the celebration, when giving your toast, you should:

Before beginning, make your intentions known 

Being party to a large gathering or party may make it difficult to know the right time to make your toast.

So, how can you get everybody’s attention?


You can wait until everyone else has gotten their food, as most if not all individuals will be seated, before beginning.

Alternatively, you can raise your glass to shoulder level and say something like, “If I can have everyone’s attention.”

Please do not try clanging your glass with a utensil, as it may break the glass and it isn’t very tasteful.

Pro-Tip: Ensure you make your intentions clear using your words.

Begin with the obvious

When you’ve gathered together, either with your work colleagues or your family for a celebration, you’ll most likely be sharing the same physical space with your audience.

Despite experiencing the same setting, each individual in the space is thinking of different things in their mind. Therefore, as the toast maker or the master of ceremony, your first task before giving your toast would be to connect with your audience .


The best and easiest way to establish this connection would be talk about why you’ve all gathered together to begin with.

Beginning with the obvious allows everyone to share the same mental space. By giving voice to the shared experience, you forge a feeling of unity which allows you to bring the audience together.

Related: How to Start a Speech to Engage Your Audience

Share something about yourself

Now that your audience is thinking about the same thing, telling them a short story about yourself that’s relevant to the situation will help consolidate their focus on you.

By revealing something personal about yourself, you establish trust. This allows your audience to be more open to what you have to say and feel open positively.

Acknowledge individuals who aren’t present

While giving a toast, make a point to acknowledge any dear friend or family member who’s missing from the celebration and note that you miss them.

Ensure you do this at the start of your toast, as it may make people solemn.

You can then move on to joyful accomplishments to help lighten the mood.

Show your emotions

Your friends and family will probably be emotional, especially if your toast mentions a loved one who passed away or couldn’t be there with you to celebrate.

If you do get emotional while delivering this part of the toast, remember that its totally normal and understandable.

However, if you’re concerned that you may not be able to deliver the toast well because of it, you can practice that part of your toast a few times.

Ensure that everyone is involved and has a drink

Toasts should be inclusive, which means no one should be left out, such as non-drinkers or children.

The aforementioned individuals can be provided with child-friendly or non-alcoholic drinks to ensure everyone is part of the toast.

Pro-Tip: Make sure everyone is present before giving your toast. This will prevent any interruption mid-toast or awkward glances shared when someone walks in during the climax of your toast.

Ensure you end your toast clearly

You may have been party to a toast that ended vaguely, which left the audience unsure whether the speaker had finished.

Therefore, when concluding your toast, you should make it clear and show everyone what they should do after.


You can say something to the effect of, “Raise your glass as we celebrate…” then guide your audience by clinking your glass with somebody next to you or taking a sip from your glass.

Pro-Tip: If it’s a large gathering, take a sip from your glass, as this is more preferable. However, if it’s a small gathering, clinking glasses is more celebratory.

Related: How to End a Speech Strongly and Memorably

We’ve talked about what you should do, now let’s look into what you shouldn’t do.

What NOT to Do When Giving a Toast

Do not drink before giving your toast.

If you’re feeling a little nervous before the toast, try to engage in some breathing exercises to help calm you down.

However, refrain from drinking alcohol to give you courage. This is because you may end up drinking too much and losing your judgement.

Additionally, you may lose track of time if you are inebriated.

So instead, lay off the alcohol till after you’ve given your toast.

Do not give your toast before the host

If you are not the event’s host , do not give a toast before they’ve given theirs.

However, if it’s been mutually agreed upon, then go for it.

If not, hold your horses!

Ensure you don’t embarrass anyone

If you’re toasting to a friend or family member at a wedding or celebrating someone’s achievement, you may be tempted to include an embarrassing tidbit in order to make the audience laugh.

This may make the person in question or the crowd, uncomfortable. So, unless you’re absolutely sure that your story’s a winner, remain on a positive note.

We’ve looked at what you should and shouldn’t do before and after giving your toast as well as during your delivery, which means that we can now look at a few toast examples.

Proposing a Toast (Examples)

A promotion toast.

Say for example, your colleague, Mark, is moving up the work ladder, what would you say to them?

A good example of a promotion toast would be,

“Mark, as you move up the ladder to success, may more doors open for you and may the opportunities be endless, to your promotion!”

A wedding toast

A wedding is a special and happy occasion. Additionally, it’s a time for merry making and generally having a good time. You should therefore ensure that your toast is short.

A wedding toast may be something like, “Ladies and gentlemen, will you please join me now in toasting to the lovely couple. We wish them all the happiness, wealth and health in the world, to the happy couple!”

An engagement toast

An engagement toast should focus on the couple’s relationship and their future together.

You can say something to the effect of, “For years, we’ve seen you two grow closer together and your relationship grow as well. As we celebrate this milestone, we wish you happiness and more blessings, to the happy couple!”

A college graduation toast

When giving this toast, giving a little background on the person may help the audience who aren’t as well acquainted with him to learn more about the said individual.


For instance, you could start by saying, “I would like to propose a toast to my daughter, Leila, who has finally graduated with her PhD in Physics from…Leila has been interested in rockets ever since she learned about astronauts and the moon landing...”

You can then end with the words, “I know you’re all anxious to congratulate Leila in her own way, so to Leila!”

Summing it up…On Giving Toasts

When giving a toast, keep in mind that delivering a short but heartfelt message is all that’s required of you. I hope these tips will help, Mazel tov!

You might also like:  14 Types of Speeches for All Occasions that You Should Master

how do you give a toast speech

Cheers! The dos and don’ts of giving a toast

People toasting with wine.

There comes a time in every partygoer’s life when a quick “cheers” or “bottoms up” just won’t cut it. Learning how to give a proper toast is a rite of passage — and an ideal way to give a shout-out to your sidekicks in front of all their friends. Whether you’re clinking glasses with your nearest and dearest over a Friendsgiving feast or simply toasting to good times to come, here are our top 10 dos and dont’s for delivering a toast with the most.

DO read the room

Traditionally, the host makes the first toast, but for casual occasions this rule doesn’t necessarily apply. Make sure everyone’s arrived, is attentive and has full glasses — if not, go around and offer to fill guests’ glasses. Reading and prepping the room are key to a successful delivery — if the mood is off, your toast will fall flat.

DON’T wait until the last minute

A toast is meant to kick off an event rather than wind it down. It doesn’t have to start the second you walk in the door, but it should happen toward the beginning of a party. For instance, at a dinner party, it’s traditional to propose a toast as soon as the beverages have been served at the beginning of the meal, or just before dessert.

DO keep it short and sweet

“That toast was too short,” said no one ever. So as you stand with glass in hand, keep in mind that everyone is there to have a good time, not to listen to you ramble. Keep your toast to under a minute and your audience will thank you.

DON’T make it all about you

This is a toast made by you, not for you. You’re there to raise a glass (and everyone’s spirits), say a few kind words in anticipation of the night ahead and speak highly of the guest of honor if there is one.

DO thank the host

If you’re taking the time to deliver a toast, it’s only polite to thank your host. After all, they took the time to send the invitations, prepare for the party and bring everyone together — they deserve to be recognized for their hard work.

DON’T embarrass anyone

Remember, you’re toasting, not roasting. And poking fun at a party guest is not the same as being funny. At the end of the night, chances are nobody will remember your exact words. But they will remember embarrassing stories of shenanigans — and that’s not what you want your toast to be remembered for. Trust us, heartfelt and sincere (with a touch of humor) is the way to go.

DO make a joke to lighten the mood

The key here is to keep it classy. You can never go wrong with a well-timed, appropriately placed joke. But this isn’t Saturday Night Live , so don’t try too hard to be funny for the entire length of the toast — you want to seem witty, not clownish. And don’t forget who your audience is — swearing and certain kinds of humor aren’t always appropriate.

DON’T overdo the drinks

Having a drink beforehand might help take the edge off. But spare yourself some embarrassment — and a few laughs at your expense — by raising a glass before you’re three sheets to the wind. If you’re already there, just go up to the person you want to toast and do so personally.

DO tailor your toast to your audience.

Anyone can pull a quick line or two off the Internet. But if you’re looking to make your toast truly memorable, adding a personal touch is a surefire way to do so. Speaking from the heart is always better than falling back on clichés and movie quotes.

To sum it up: Begin by acknowledging the host and the guest of honor, include a funny anecdote from the past and wrap up with well wishes for the future. As long as you say something funny, something heartfelt and something about what your fellow partygoers mean to you, you’re well on your way to delivering a topnotch toast. Cheers!

Try out these toast-making tips by planning your next get-together with one of our dinner party invitations or cocktail party invitations .

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  • Next, create slots for your signup sheet. If you aren’t logged into your account, you will need to do so at this point, but luckily, you can use your existing Evite account (no need to create yet another login!). What you’ll include here will depend on what your event needs, but you can include a list of what’s needed (along with optional descriptions), how many volunteers are needed, and dates and times.
  • After creating your slots, you can then add a wish list from any retailer or include supply suggestions from Evite’s retailer partners. These are to help your volunteers find and purchase supplies quickly and easily.
  • Finally, review your sheet, copy your shareable link and send it out to everyone on your list! Every time a volunteer signs up for a slot on your signup sheet, Evite will email you. We will also send reminders to you and your volunteers before your event so no one will forget about it, and we’ll even let volunteers know if you remove their slot or cancel your event sheet so you don’t have to!

What information should be included on a signup sheet?

When it comes to signup sheet information, there are some essentials to include regardless of what you’re organizing:

  • A title for your signup sheet. Tip: Aim to keep your signup sheet title concise but clear. You want volunteers to read it and have a general understanding of what your event is about, and also make it easy for them to look for later if they need to reference your sheet again. You have the option to include a more descriptive note in a different field about your event, so save the more in-depth details for that!
  • When and where the event is taking place.  
  • The organizer’s name and phone number.
  • Slots for volunteers to choose from. Once you choose the SignUp Sheets template that fits the occasion, the slots you’ll need for your sheet will be right there and ready for you to add the relevant info, such as dates, times, items to bring and tasks to complete. 

When adding your slot information, clearly define what people are signing up for, especially for a what-to-bring list or role assignments. If you want someone to bring healthy snacks for kids to enjoy after a game, specify that. You want your volunteers to feel confident in what they’re bringing and to make it easy for them to know what’s expected of them. It will save them time and stress (and you, too!). That being said, if you make your ask too specific (for example, asking for a hard-to-source item or something expensive), you may not end up with a volunteer for it. So be clear about what you expect, but also be reasonable!

Aside from providing the basic signup information, you can also add optional descriptions to both your entire signup sheet and individual slots. While not required, they can help guide your volunteers further and provide more information. You can add information about allergies, preferences and general info about the event. You can also add a wish list to make it easier for your volunteers to bring exactly what you need!

What are the benefits of using a signup sheet template?

Signup sheet templates offer a ton of advantages for both organizers and volunteers and with Evite SignUp Sheets, you'll enjoy even more benefits than other digital and paper signup sheets! Some benefits our signup sheet templates offer include:

  • A 100% free experience (no subscriptions required!).
  • Shareable links for quick and easy sharing.
  • No need to create another login—you can use your existing Evite account.
  • The option to add a wish list to help your volunteers out.
  • Automatic reminders—we’ll remind everyone on your behalf.
  • An easy-to-use experience with eye-catching guided templates.
  • Clean, modern designs with no pop-up ads.

With Evite SignUp Sheets, you can enjoy organizing and coordinating all your events with ease. Signup sheets streamline the signup process for everyone involved, ensuring that everything will go to plan on the day of your event while saving you precious time in the process.

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50+ Wedding Toast Examples for Every Speech

50+ Wedding Toast Examples for Every Speech

Weddings are once-in-a-lifetime events for every couple. No matter which religion or culture you belong to, every couple wishes to host a memorable wedding. There are numerous important parts of wedding celebrations, including wedding toast.

Yes, wedding toasts play a crucial role in a successful and memorable wedding celebration. Saying wedding toast may seem like a task to some people.

When given the responsibility of saying wedding toasts, you can become nervous all of a sudden. However, giving a wedding toast can be easy, especially when you are prepared. Anyone can be called upon to give a wedding toast as a speech. It doesn’t matter if you’re related to the newlyweds or not. Whether you’re the Best Man, Maid of Honor, a parent, or a close friend, raise a glass to the newlyweds.

If you are not sure of what to say as a wedding toast speech, we’ve got you covered on this! All you need is to get prepared ahead of time. Do a lot of practice in front of your mirror, and you’re ready!

In this post, we’ll dive into the various unique, heartfelt wedding toast examples for every speech. Irrespective of your role in the wedding, our list of wedding toast examples will help you make an amazing wedding toast speech that will leave the couples feeling joyful!

So, let’s get started …

Table of Contents

What is a Wedding Toast? The Order of Toasts Guide To Give Memorable Wedding Toasts 50+ Wedding Toast Examples For Every Speech For Best Man/Maid Of Honor For Parents For Friends And Family For Sisters General Toast For The Couple

First, let’s take a look at what a wedding toast is and how you can write one. Here we go…

What is a Wedding Toast?

A wedding toast is a group of words that are said to express happiness and wish or bless the married couple at their wedding reception or rehearsal dinners. After a wedding toast all of the attendees of the wedding raise a toast and take a sip of their beverage to show their agreement. Wedding toasts are a great way to express your feelings towards the newlyweds. A well-crafted wedding toast strikes a perfect balance between humour and emotion while being concise and memorable, ensuring it serves as a wonderful conclusion to your speech.

Take a look at the order of wedding toast…

The Order of Toasts

Usually, wedding toasts are given both on the rehearsal dinner and the receptions. The ones given on rehearsal dinners are typically informal. However, the wedding toasts at the reception should be sweet, short, and crisp. Here is the order of toasts:


Traditionally, the best man should deliver the first toast. It is okay is only the best man is giving the toast. However, it is likely that others will also want to convey their joy to the newly married couple. In addition to the best man, the maid of honour may also have the opportunity to offer a toast.

Next, the groom, bride, or both of them together may raise a toast to each other. They can then raise their glasses to acknowledge and express gratitude to the wedding party and guests for being a part of their special day.

The parents follow the bride and groom. If the bride’s parents host the wedding, they have the honour of speaking first. They should begin by toasting the newlyweds and the groom’s parents while also extending a warm welcome to all the guests.

Here is our guide to writing an amazing wedding toast speech. Take a look…

Guide To Give Memorable Wedding Toasts

To give a memorable wedding toast, you need to be sincere and genuine in expressing your feelings towards the newlyweds. Your speech should reflect on how you are related to the couple, and it should create lasting memories for everyone.

Here’s how you should prepare a short, precise, and memorable wedding toast speech.

●  STEP 1: Introduce yourself

The first and foremost step to writing a memorable wedding toast is to introduce yourself. You should briefly explain to everyone present who you are and your relationship with the newlyweds. This way, the guests will know why you have been appointed to give a toast speech.

●  STEP 2: Know Your Audience

It’s also important for you to know your audience if you have been appointed to give a wedding toast speech. You should consider the speech that will go well with the couple and wedding guests.

●  STEP 3: Add a touch of humour to your toast speech

When writing your speech, make sure to include funny words or incidents that are related to the couple. This will help to lighten up everyone’s mood while giving your speech. Make sure to avoid using insulting or humiliating words, phrases, or stories in your wedding toast speech. You should avoid making any comment that could embarrass the couple or guests.

●  STEP 4: Structure and Length

The structure and length of your wedding toast should be short and concise. Don’t make a very lengthy speech; rather, aim to give a toast that will last for just 2-3 minutes.

●  STEP 5: Practice and Rehearse

Rehearse your toast continuously in order to familiarise yourself with the content you have written. Make sure you do this, especially if you’re a shy person who can’t stand before a crowd. This will help you build your confidence and leave a lasting impression on the couple and their guest on the wedding day.

●  STEP 6: Express Gratitude

Show gratitude to the couple for giving you the opportunity and for making you witness their special day. Also, remember to thank every guest who has graced the occasion with their presence.

●  STEP 7: Raise a Toast

Finally, give your best wishes to the couple as you invite everyone to raise their glasses of wine. Wish newlyweds a lifetime of happiness and love.

●  STEP 8: Enjoy!

That’s all! The whole process of giving a wedding speech takes only 2 – 3 minutes in all. Following these tips will help you give an excellent wedding toast at your friend’s, sister’s, or anybody else’s wedding.

50+ Wedding Toast Examples For Every Speech

Here’s a complete list of over 50 wedding toasts speeches that can serve as inspiration for you. The list below contains wedding toast speeches in different categories. Take a look…

➤  For Best Man/Maid Of Honor

1. To the [Groom/Bride], my bestie, indeed, the journey of your love story is one to mimic. All I wish is that your union will be adventurous and filled with endless memories as we make this toast.

2. Being the Best Man/Maid of Honour, I’ve seen the unwavering love between these two love birds. Myself and everyone present here today wish you both a lifetime of happiness together as newlyweds. Cheers!

3. To [Groom/Bride], you are both perfect for each other. May this union bring beautiful memories of love, joy, laughter, peace, and unwavering support! We all wish you the best in your marriage. Cheers to lasting memories!

4. [Groom], you’ll always admire the beautiful face of your bride. Waking up every morning with your wife beside will forever make you joyful. We make a toast to endless satisfaction in your union. Always keep her by your side, man.

5. As your best man, I pray for you both on this special day as everyone raise their glasses. May you always walk on the path of light together with your bride! May the playful sounds of laughter and joy fill your home. I wish you a happy beginning, cheers!

6. I call on everyone present here today as a witness to join me. Let’s make a toast to this fantastic couple. I’d like to wish both [Mr and Mrs Name] all the best things in life. May tears and regrets be far from your home. To the bride and groom! Cheers!

7. Finding a wife is a good thing; don’t you all agree with me? So, to my friend here [Groom], you’ve got a great wife! I pray that you always find favour both in the sight of God and man. Congratulations man! Cheers to beautiful moments.

8. As the maid of honour, the best kind of toast I can offer to the newlyweds is French toast. So, join me as we make a toast, saying, ‘Buvons à ce couple heureux!

9. It’s an honour to be the best man to my friend here. Everyone, I’d like you all to join me. Let’s make a toast to the happy couple. Cheers and congratulations to the newlyweds.

10. It’s a great privilege to serve as my friend’s best man today. Please, everyone, come with me. Let’s make a toast to the happy couple. Heartist congratulation to the newlyweds. May you two have a great life ahead! Cheers.

➤  For Parents

11. As a parent, it’s a joy to witness this beautiful day. It is overwhelming to watch [Bride/Groom] grow up and find their life partner. This toast is to more years of love and commitment for you both. Cheers!

12. My heart is filled with immense joy for being alive today to witness this beautiful moment between these two lovers. May this legacy of love that’s between you two continue to blossom and move on to your children. Cheers to a lifetime of happiness!

13. Marriage is a beautiful thing that can happen to anyone. Don’t you agree with me? My child [Groom/Bride], I pray that peace and harmony will be the order of each day in your home. We make a toast to perfect harmony in your union.

14. As a parent, I want you to bear in mind that neither of you is perfect. However, perfection is possible only if you work together as newlyweds. Let’s make a toast to a perfect union.

15. To our beloved children [Bride/Groom], you have journeyed through life with so much love and dedication. May your new home be filled with so much love and joy, just as you’ve shared with us. Cheers to a new phase of life!

➤  For Friends And Family

16. The power of love is something we can’t explain. May the bond between you two continue to grow stronger through thick and thin. We make a toast to beautiful moments between you both and longevity!

17. As we make a toast to this newlywed couple, may this love that has brought us together here continue to radiate. Cheers to the newlyweds!

18. We are glad to see that [Groom/Bride] have found each other to be deserving of their love. We hope that their passion for each other deepens with each passing day. Let us all raise our glasses to the newlyweds as they’re about to build a new life together! Cheers!

19. Ladies and gentlemen, I kindly request your participation in raising your glasses to celebrate the newlywed couple. We wish you all the best as you embark on this new journey together. May you reach even greater heights as a united couple and always find happiness in everything you do together. Cheers!

20. Everyone, may I request you all to kindly join me raising your glasses to celebrate the wonderful couples. I wish you two a wonderful life ahead! May you always find happiness. Cheers!

21. As we raise our glasses to celebrate this newlywed couple, let us wish that the love between [ Mrs. and Mr. _____] become stronger with each passing day. May the two continue to shine brightly. Congratulations to the newly married couple! Cheers!

22. To the [Bride/Groom], your love story has really inspired every one of us present here. We are excited to be a part of this celebration today. May you have every reason to stay happy together. We all wish you both an unending journey of peace and joy. Cheers!

➤  For Sisters

23. Watching these two and reflecting on how their love story began, I’m reminded of the power of true love. I feel honoured to be a part of this significant day. Let’s raise a toast to the people who are the main reason we are all gathered here! Cheers!

24. To the newlyweds, we pray that you both have a successful and happy married life together. And you scale through life’s dark moments and shine forth. Good luck, and the favour will be yours. Let’s toast to beautiful moments!

25. As we gather here today on this special day, let’s make a toast to the beginning of a beautiful journey of my lovely sister. May celebration never cease from your home. Cheers to a happily ever after life with your love!

26. Since we have come here to be a part of this celebration today, it simply means we’re your well-wishers. In all that life has to offer, we wish you the very best. Let’s raise our glasses in a toast to [Bride/Groom]. May your happiness be forever.

27. To the extraordinary [Bride/Groom], may your new home be filled with joy and magic. The love that has brought you both together will never fade away. Cheers to a new start in your life! 28. Let’s make a toast to a love that knows no bounds. Your marriage will stand the test of time. Cheers to love and happiness!

29. Yeah! This toast is to the laughter you both will share together and the hurdles you’ll overcome. In everything you’ll face in this journey of marriage, your love will sustain you through it all. Happy married life. Cheers!

30. As we all raise our glasses to make a toast, may your new home be filled with happiness and love. May your union glitter with beautiful colours of understanding, laughter, and joy. Cheers to a new beginning!

➤  General Toast For The Couple

31. To [Bride] and [Groom], may the moments you both will share together be breathtaking. May your love for each other never wax cold. Welcome to a new phase of your life. Let’s raise our glasses, cheers!

32. We make a toast on this beautiful day to beautiful memories and years of togetherness till you both grow old. [Bride] and [Groom] will always stay joyful forever!

33. [Groom], you have made a perfect choice by choosing [Bride]; for this reason, we have gathered here to celebrate your union. We raise our glasses to make a toast to a lifetime of endless joy.

34. Here’s to a new beginning after exchanging marital vows. We’re excited to be a part of this lovely moment in your lives. Cheers to a great beginning!

35. As we raise our glasses to make a toast, may your marriage be a symphony of trust, respect, and unwavering commitment! Cheers!

36. As we witness this day, cheers to a love that will age like fine wine. The love will grow richer, deeper, and bigger with each passing year. Cheers to the best couple I know!

37. Every step you take in life together with your partner is guided with understanding. May your new home be filled with endless love and celebration always. Cheers to a new life!

38. As we raise our glasses to make a toast, we put a seal that your differences will only serve as strength to the bond you share. Cheers!

39. As we raise our glasses, I decree that your new home will be a testament to the power of love and unity. Amidst every challenge, there will be understanding to sail through. Cheers!

40. Here’s a toast to the couple who makes every moment feel like comedy and adventurous. May your life together as newlyweds be never-ending.

41. Here’s to a stress-free marriage filled with love and understanding. May your new home be filled with love, unity, and happiness. Cheers!

42. To forever and always, may your love story continue to inspire us all and your commitment to each other remain unwavering. Cheers to a new life!

43. As we make this toast, may your love story be the epitome of what true, enduring love is all about. Cheers to a lifetime of happiness and bliss.

44. We’re making a toast on this special day to seal your union. We pray you both a lifetime of happiness filled with unforgettable memories. Cheers to a blissful home!

45. As we prepare to raise our glasses for a toast, we pray for a future filled with abundant happiness for both of you. May you both enjoy good health and when the time comes, may you lovingly cradle your babies in your arms. Here’s to a lifetime of happiness together! Cheers!

46. We’re all here to celebrate this lovely couple. As we raise our glasses, may laughter never be far from your lips. May the two of you always cherish the joy of being together. Wishing you a blissful marriage.

47. Here’s a toast to a marriage filled with wealth, health, and happiness. Your steps will always be guided, and illness will be far from your home. To the latest bride and groom. (smiles) Cheers!

48. [Groom/Bride], we all love you so much. That’s why we’re here to honour this special day. We make a toast to happiness in your new home.

49. To the new couple, Mr and Mrs [Name], we raise our glasses, and we wish you both a Happy married life. May the love in your marriage be an anchor that’ll keep you both in stormy seasons. Thank you for inviting us here to share in your joy.

50. Everyone, please join me in raising your glasses to the newest bride and groom. We wish you greater heights as you embark on this new journey together as one. May you always stay happy.

51. Finding a beautiful and respectful bride is a good thing. We pray you both build a life of your dreams together. Let’s raise our glasses for a toast and say WISDOM! Yes, wisdom is what will keep you moving hand in hand through every thin and thick. Cheers!

52. To the groom, as you have found your soul mate, may you remain blessed always. Your bride will always compliment you. Let’s raise a glass to the bride and groom. Thanks for making us a part of your happiness!

53. I am so excited to be here today. Being a witness to beautiful moments like this is truly special. Life unfolds in various phases, indeed. Please join me in raising a glass to this stunning couple. May your joy and love know no bounds.

54. To the couple who make each day a memorable experience for all, may your life together be filled with endless, exciting memories. Cheers to a new and blissful life!

55. Everyone, please join me in raising a toast to the joy and success of the newlywed couple. Here is to the happily ever after! Wishing you a joyous and fulfilling married life. Cheers!

Wrapping it up…

So, there you have it: the top 50 wedding toast examples. You can use these wedding toast examples to craft unique wedding toast for the upcoming wedding of your best friend or daughter or friend. Make sure to keep your toast short, sweet, and crisp to have a lasting impression on all present out there. Make the couple feel special on their big day by sharing your best wishes with them. Whether you are related to the couple or not, it doesn’t matter. Give your best shot!

Wishing you a happy beginning!

Happy Wedding… 😊 😊

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How to Write a Wedding Toast: Best Tips and Example

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How To Write A Killer Best Man Speech (With Templates)

A funny, heartfelt speech from the best man is one of the most memorable parts of a wedding. Here’s how to give a great toast (without embarrassing yourself).

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A best man speech is the perfect way to send your brother or friend the best wishes in their marriage, but standing up in front of the crowd can be super nerve-wracking. If you’ve been invited to be the best man at a wedding but have no idea what to say in your speech, you’re not alone! 

Over 75% of the population cites public speaking as one of their biggest fears. Thankfully, it’s a people skill that anyone can develop. A great event toast can be a game-changer and make you feel like a celebrity amongst the wedding guests. 

Watch our video to learn the best (and worst) speech openers:

Here’s how to overcome your public speaking anxiety and give a knockout best man speech that will incite laughter, smiles, or even sentimental tears. 

Quick Answer: How to Write a Best Man Speech Fast (with Template!)

A killer best man toast has a formula:

  • Start with a funny or complimentary introduction
  • Lead into a short story
  • Add a dash of vulnerability
  • End with genuine congratulations to the bride and groom. 

You won’t want to wing the speech after you’ve had a few drinks when you feel strapped for time before the wedding. Instead, take just 30 minutes of planning and note-making to save you (and the bride & groom) the embarrassment of an excessively long or inappropriate ramble. 

If you want to write a best man speech fast, follow this brief template for a great toast. Your toast should be roughly 3 to 5 minutes long. You can use numbered index cards to jot down the highlights of each section. Then, rehearse a few times in the mirror in the days leading up to the event. 

The most straightforward speech outline includes seven main components: 

  • A great one-liner : This could be a funny joke, a compliment, or an inspirational quote about brotherhood or marriage. The first 15 seconds of the toast should capture the audience’s attention and leave them excited for more. Modify this:

“I’d like to begin by congratulating the groom for his superb taste in choosing the best man [chuckle].” 

  • Compliment the wedding : Build your respect with the guests by highlighting things you like about the wedding. For example, you can compliment the beauty of the venue, the delicious food, or the great choice of music. Modify this:

“All jokes aside, this is a beautiful wedding. The bride and groom look like a movie star couple together. And if you didn’t taste the cake, you are missing out!” 

  • Express gratitude : Say “thank you” to those who made the wedding possible and show appreciation to the groom for choosing you as his best man. Modify this:

“I am so grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Zimerman for hosting us here today, and thank you to the bride and groom for inviting me to be part of their special day.” 

  • Tell a story : Did you and the groom meet as kids on the baseball field? Were you there when he first met his bride? Did you share a funny experience in college that is appropriate to share? The “meat” of the speech will be a short story about your relationship with the groom. A great story sounds like this:

 “When I first met Jeff, he was in a period of transition in life, like we all go through. He had just started a new job at my office in San Francisco, and we met because of our mutual addiction to double shot espressos (iced with a little cream) at 6 AM every morning from the corner coffee shop Bob’s Cup O’ Joe. When we both arrived at the office at the same time, 3 days in a row with eyes like this [widen eyes big], I knew we would be friends for life. A million espressos, meetings, and after-work beers later, I am so proud to call Jeff my best friend. When he told me about meeting a beautiful blonde named Anne at Bob’s Cup O’ Joe a few years later, I knew something would become of it. She even drank the same double shot espressos, iced with a little cream!”  

  • Admire the couple : Strengthen your bond with the newlyweds by expressing your support for their marriage. If you know a bit about the bride and groom’s relationship, list a few things you admire about their bond. You may emphasize how the bride has positively impacted the groom’s life or how they make a great team. 

“Jeff and Anne are a perfect pair, and it seriously warms my heart to see a couple so amazingly in love. They compliment each other in every way and radiate joy when they are together.” 

  • Summarize your thoughts : Before you wrap up your speech, go back and highlight your key ideas. You can pre-write 2-3 crisp sentences summarizing your support of the couple’s marriage. Modify this:

“I wish I could say I predicted this day would come, but Jeff’s incredible character and charm won Anne over. I am so grateful to be friends with both of them and to join you all in this celebration.” 

  • Toast to the future : At the end of your speech, raise your glass for a toast to the couple’s love. Modify this: 

“Please join me in raising our glasses to a lifetime of happiness and espressos for Jeff and Anne Allison!” 

Here is an awesome example of a short and sweet 4-minute toast that left the crowd cracking up:

It’s best to memorize your speech, but there is no shame in bringing a few index cards in your pocket to reference if you get nervous. Don’t forget to prepare and rehearse in advance. 

For a more in-depth speech, see our step-by-step guide below. 

What to Say in a Best Man Speech (Do’s and Don’ts)

A best man’s speech traditionally takes place at the wedding reception after the maid of honor gives her speech. The best man’s speech should be positive, respectful, and congratulatory. It can last 3 to 5 minutes and should focus on a central theme or story about the groom. 

Remember, a best man speech is not the time to “wing it.” If you do that, there may come the point when everything suddenly goes silent, and a crowd of 50-100+ people is staring at you, waiting for what you’re going to say about the groom. You probably don’t want to end up with a cringing audience while telling a story about the groom’s previous relationships:

Instead, remember these key best man speech tips for a successful toast: 

Pre-plan your speech with a layout and index cardsDon’t wing it or try to go on the fly
Keep your speech 3-5 minutes longDon’t give an excessively short or long speech
Open with a catchy one-liner or jokeDon’t start with a dull or droning tone 
Tell a short story about the groomDon’t make it about you 
Use fun, family-friendly humorAvoid risky or inappropriate topics and jokes
Use deep breathing to calm your nerves before the speech Don’t drink too much 
Congratulate the groom Don’t ignore the bride
Compliment the brideInsult or tease the bride (I know it may be tempting, but it NEVER goes over well)
Read the room and get to know the guestsDon’t use profanity (unless it’s acceptable in the family)  

Here are a few examples of what you should say in a best man speech:

  • How did you meet the groom?
  • What is one of your favorite memories with him?
  • How did the groom meet the bride? Were you there?
  • What is special about the groom?
  • What do you like most about him? 
  • What are his positive traits? 
  • Playful banter : You don’t want to be too corny and cheesy with your bro. Depending on your relationship with the groom and the culture of the wedding, you may want to throw in a little banter with your dude. For example, you might make a funny joke about how much the groom loves going out to eat:

You should also avoid some key topics in a best man speech. 

Do not mention:

  • The groom’s past relationships
  • Sexual jokes
  • Drugs, alcohol, or past mistakes
  • Insecurities of the groom
  • Financial or personal information 
  • Insults to the bride or the wedding guests 
  • Overly embarrassing stories
  • Teasing the bride
  • Anything that could potentially harm your friendship

Keep things positive and lighthearted. While a little witty banter or playful teasing can be fun (depending on your relationship with the groom), you should avoid insulting him or highlighting any major insecurities. The “playful” part of the speech is an excellent fun icebreaker, but it shouldn’t hurt anyone’s feelings or make them feel publicly embarrassed in front of their wedding guests.

How to Write a Best Man Speech for Best Friend or Brother: Easy Step-by-Step Guide

If you’re ready to prepare something more in-depth than the quick ideas above, this step-by-step guide can help you write a thoughtful speech that the groom may remember forever. After all, being named the best man at your friend or brother’s wedding is a tremendous honor. But like any honor, it comes with some responsibilities. After you finish all your bachelor party and wedding duties, an epic best man speech can be like the fireworks at the show’s end. 

Here are 5 simple steps to make it count:

#1 Start with a theme

Before you start writing and rehearsing your speech, it helps to decide on a theme for your talk. This will give a nice flow to the speech. A theme ensures that you stay on track to communicate your congratulations and appreciation to the groom. 

What is the main message you want to get across? A few theme ideas include:

  • Anecdotes : Best man toasts center around storytelling. This theme is the easiest way to stay on track because you are telling a simple story from beginning to end. 
  • Humor : Whether you’re naturally funny or working on your jokes ,  your speech is the perfect opportunity to get the audience laughing. Best man speeches are known for getting a little saucy, but you must be careful about offending the crowd or making crude jokes that might insult the bride and groom. If you want to tease the groom with some witty banter, it helps to make fun of yourself or reference an appropriate inside joke.
  • Inspirational : Have you and the groom achieved an important business goal or accomplishment together? Do you have a shared role model or favorite motivational book you both read in college? This speech theme can leave the audience feeling inspired.
  • Morality : Use your speech to highlight the great person the groom is. Perhaps you give examples of his integrity, trustworthiness, or generosity. You can emphasize how lucky you are to know the groom and how glad you are that he found a woman to spend his life with. 
  • Sentimentality : When humor and storytelling aren’t your fortes, it doesn’t hurt to get a little corny. Sentimental speeches require a level of emotional vulnerability, but they can leave a huge impact on the newlyweds and their attendees.

#2 Create an outline

You wouldn’t go on a road trip without a navigation system, so don’t go into your speech without a plan. The best toasts and speeches follow the same structure. Pull out a piece of paper and brainstorm some ideas using this format, then use the following steps to fill in the details:

  • Hook/Opening statement : The opening statement should be a 1 to 3-line description about the groom. The first 7 seconds of the speech should hook the audience immediately. It warms them up to you and makes them want to pay attention to the amusing stories. You’ll find an abundance of opening-line ideas in the next section. 
  • Background context : Now comes the why of your speech. This is where the context of your relationship with the groom comes in. You can throw in some funny jokes and a few details about your experience with him. Use this intro to build up the anticipation for the story to come. Write down a few ideas of stories you can tell. 
  • Tell the story : Choose 1-3 short stories about the groom that is funny, slightly embarrassing, or interesting. Jot down a few of the sensory elements you want to reference, like the smelly locker room or the squeaking of tire wheels. Most stories follow a bell-curve pattern—they start with an intro, lead to rising action, peak with a capstone moment, then tie back to the beginning. Keep this in mind as you brainstorm and follow the story-planning steps below. 
  • Take-home message : After you get a good laugh or “awww” out of the audience, you’ll want to bring the story back to the beginning. What do you want them to remember about your speech and friendship with the groom? 
  • Thank the wedding party : Use a quick sentence to thank the wedding party and hosts. Express your genuine gratitude for being invited. 
  • Closing toast and congratulations : After wrapping up the story and thanking the wedding party, you should invite the audience to toast the bride and groom with you. For an extra cheery finale, act as if you are speaking on their behalf and include lots of well-wishes for the newlyweds. 

Pro Tip : Before filling in your outline details, watch this video for an overview of how to give a memorable toast. Human behavior expert Vanessa Van Edwards explains the most common mistakes (don’t start with “I,” “me,” or “my”) and a few secrets to getting the audience to perk up in their seats. 

#3 Nail the opening line 

Once you have your outline, it’s time to dig into the details. People decide their first impression of you within 7 seconds, so it’s extra important to nail the opening line of your speech. Best men use this opportunity to crack a joke, compliment the wedding, or set a sentimental tone for the speech. 

Avoid making the first lines about you. No “me”, “I”, or “my”. Instead, start with a juicy or mysterious line about the groom, for example:

I was the groom’s roommate in college.Ben was the self-proclaimed organization king in college. As his roommate, I feared leaving a pen on the desk.
I am the groom’s younger brother.As a kid, the groom was so excited to have a younger brother that he quickly crowned me as his servant for the next 10 years. 
My favorite thing about the groom is his…Tonight you’ll learn why the groom was always… 
My favorite story about the groom was…The best story I have about the groom starts with a greasy cheeseburger and a speeding ticket.

If you need a little inspiration, here are some hilarious and quirky best man speech opening lines: 

  • “Caring, loyal, honest, good-looking, and an all-around-great guy… OK, enough about me, onto the groom…!” 
  • “This is the perfect chance to tell you about [Groom] and how talented, special, smart, good-looking, and… sorry, man, I can’t read your handwriting here.” 
  • “I’d like to give a toast to the bride and groom.” [pull a piece of toasted bread from your pocket and give it to them]
  • “[Groom’s name] is the kind of person you call when you lock yourself out of the dorm bathroom without any clothes on.” 
  • “The bride and groom asked me not to share embarrassing stories or crude jokes during my speech… so that’s it from me! Thanks for listening, everyone.”
  • “I’d like to start by congratulating the groom for his excellent taste in choosing the best man.” 
  • “[Groom] had a tough time choosing his best man. First, he called his most handsome friend, but he said no. Then, he called his smartest friend, and he said no. Then, he called his most successful friend, who also said no. Then he called me, and I said, ‘Bro, I can’t say no to you four times.'”
  • “What can I say about [Groom]? I guess I’ll start at the very beginning. He was born on [groom’s birthday]. Our parents were hoping for a girl, but I’ve always said… close enough.”

Here is a genuinely funny opening line from a best brother wedding speech:

Pro Tip : Don’t forget to pause for laughter. If it doesn’t come, you can chuckle at yourself and cue the audience that they are supposed to laugh by saying, “This is where you are supposed to laugh,” or joking, “Sound guy, can you please cue the laugh track?” Then, keep going with your speech.

Don’t worry. You need not be a jokester to give a great opening line. If you want to go the nostalgic or tearjerker route, be sure it is highly personalized and thoughtful. Here are some sentimental opening line ideas:

  • “There are friends, and there is family, but friends also become family. This is so true for [Groom] and me. We’ve been best friends since we were X years old, and I’ve always considered him my brother.” 
  • “There’s an old Irish proverb that says a good friend is like a four-leaf clover—hard to find and lucky to have. I think that’s true. Good friends are hard to find, and I’m lucky to have called [Groom] my best friend for the last X years.” 
  • “I’ve heard that the best relationships come from the foundation of a deep friendship. Experts say that laughter, mutual respect, and enjoying each other’s company are the ingredients for a long-lasting, joyful marriage. After knowing [Groom] and [Bride] for X years, there is no doubt in my mind that they will make a great pair.” 
  • “In Good Will Hunting , Robin Williams said, ‘It doesn’t matter if the guy is perfect or the girl is perfect as long as they are perfect for each other.” Anyone who has seen [Groom] and [Bride] together can agree that this is true for them. I haven’t seen a perfect pair, and I’m happy to be part of this celebration of their love.” 

To learn more about the best speech openers, use this guide on How to Start a Speech: The Best (and Worst) Speech Openers . Some top tips include:

  • Avoid starting with a lackluster nicety like “thanks for having me.” 
  • Don’t mention your nervousness.
  • Avoid mentioning technical difficulties like the microphone or saying, “Can you hear me?” 

How To Write A Killer Best Man Speech (With Templates)

Bonus Tip: Learn the Art of Stage Presence

Did you know that public speaking is actually a skill? Many people struggle with stage anxiety because they feel they ‘missed the memo’ on public speaking or they are lacking because they do not have a natural stage presence. Not true!

Stage presence and public speaking are skills you need to be taught—very few people have them naturally. 

Watch our video to learn 7 steps to overcome stage fright and beat performance anxiety:

Here are all the aspects of public speaking you can master.

  • How to make a first impression with an audience
  • How to have stage presence
  • Powerful body language
  • How to speak with a commanding voice
  • What to do with your hands while speaking

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#4 Background context

Now that you’ve grabbed the audience’s attention, it’s time to give them a little background on why you are giving a speech in the first place. This is another sneak peek at some details you’ll cover in the speech. 

The whole point of this part is to tell them how you know the groom—but it isn’t about you. You’ll often hear wedding speeches that start with a drab, “I met the groom in college” or, “My name is ___, and I’m the best man.” You can do better than that! Try saying:

  • “The groom was the first friend I made on the high school football team. I had no idea we would become roommates in a bachelor pad throughout college.” 
  • “As little kids, the groom and I were known to be a dangerous duo in the neighborhood. He always carried the eggs and toilet paper, then instructed me where to throw them. But you can guess who always took the blame for his antics….” 
  • “The groom and I have been friends and business partners for X years, and as you’ll hear shortly, he is the main reason I broke my arm during the last office basketball game. But first, I want to tell you a less embarrassing story….” 

Pro Tip : Focus on the groom, and don’t make it about you. One of the biggest mistakes people make during wedding speeches is talking too much about themselves. Your speech shouldn’t discuss where you’re from, what you think, or how you ended up at the party. The best man’s speech is a time to focus on the groom and his bride. 

#5 Tell the story  

After your punchy opening line and background info, it’s time to tell the perfect story about the groom. Depending on the length of your speech and the details of your story, some best man speeches cover 1 to 3 short stories. 

Reference back to the memories you wrote when brainstorming. Pick a story that includes the most of these captivating elements:

  • A little bit of embarrassment : Whether it’s you, the groom, or a mutual friend, it helps to poke some fun at someone in the story. If you fear being offensive, the best person to joke about is yourself.  
  • Audience member references : You can get major bonus points if you bring wedding guests into the storytelling moment. You might say, “Mom, you might want to close your ears on this one!” or, “Brian, we’re talking about you!” 
  • Sensory details : What did the scenery look like? What were the prominent smells, sounds, and tastes at the moment? A great story should make the audience feel like they were with you. Don’t forget to mention the frigid cold lake you jumped into or the outrageously spicy food that left you both panting and crying for water. 
  • A final punch line : Ideally, the best story ends with a shocking moment or funny line. It should leave the audience laughing, crying, surprised, or even gasping. For example, in an epic adventure story about you and the groom on a hunting trip, you may end with, “Just as the shark was about to bite the line, Joe reeled in the massive bluefin and yelled, ‘I think we’re gonna need a bigger boat!’”

Pro Tip : If you have to ask, “Is this appropriate?” it probably isn’t. Some stories are better for late-night beers than they are for weddings. Avoid telling stories related to sexual topics, drugs, alcohol, illegal activities, or anything you wouldn’t want grandma to hear. 

#6 Take-home message

When the story finishes, you’ve hopefully elicited some laughter or maybe some tears. All jokes aside, there is a reason you were the best man, and you are probably a significant person to the groom. This is a great time to emphasize the best qualities of the groom and why you’re so happy for his new love. 

Here is an excellent example of tying together the opening and closing lines with a heartfelt message about finding the perfect soul mate:

#7 End your speech with a heartfelt toast

We’ve all heard “let’s raise a glass to [Bride] and [Groom]” before. You can do better than that! The final toast is like the fireworks at the end of your best man speech. Instead of something mediocre, invite the audience to join you in a genuine, thoughtful congratulations. Examples include:

  • “Please join me in raising our glasses to the beautiful bride and handsome groom. May your lives together be long, healthy, and happy. We love you so much and are excited for you. Cheers!” 
  • “Lift your glasses to thank Mr. and Mrs. [Bride’s Parents] for hosting this beautiful wedding. Let us all toast to the perfect union of the bride and groom. We wish you a bright and beautiful future. Cheers!”
  • “Here’s to the past, for all you’ve learned. Here’s to the present for this beautiful moment we all share. Here’s to the future for all you’ve got to look forward to. Cheers to the happy couple!” 

Pro Tip : Make your toast inclusive and communal, so the audience feels like they’re cheering for the couple with you. Use words like “we”, “lets”, and “us”. This congratulation invites them to join as if you are speaking on their behalf. 

#8 Use a best man speech template

A template makes things simple if you’re still feeling uneasy about writing your best man speech. You can take the structure of an example speech and incorporate your ideas and stories to make it your own. 

Best man speech example for a best friend :  

“Tonight, you’ll learn why the groom was destined to marry [Bride]. The year was 2002, and we were all in a bar with friends on New Year’s Eve in New York City. Snow was falling outside, and we were sipping champagne, waiting for the big ball to drop. Seemingly out of nowhere, a woman with a red dress entered the room, and everything seemed to stop. All the bachelors in our group were captivated, but only [Groom] had the guts to walk up to her. Rumor has it that his first opening line was ‘

Everyone talks about a woman’s glow when she’s falling in love, but I swear that [Groom] was smiling from ear to ear from the second they met. We could hardly get him to stop talking about her by the following week. We’d be watching football and drinking beers only to have [Bride’s] name brought up every 5 minutes. 

Fast forward 3 years, and we’ve all seen how much [Bride] has positively impacted his life. When he came to me to tell me he was proposing, my only response was, ‘ Finally, dude !’

There’s something extra special about these two. They go together like peanut butter and jelly. They love and respect each other so much. [Bride] was the one for [Groom] from the second they locked eyes in that hazy NYC bar. We are all so happy to be here for your big day. Let’s raise our glasses to the beautiful bride and groom! Cheers!” 

Another Best man speech example for a best friend :  

“The groom was the first friend I made on the high school basketball team. He wasn’t very good [pause for laughter]. I was the tallest player and obviously had the best free throw, but I was majorly lacking in the ladies department. Thankfully, [Groom] took me under his wing and showed me how to be a true gentleman. That includes opening doors for women and carrying their bags instead of just running in with my own. What would I have done without you, man?

Even though he was no good at basketball, [Groom] always had his head on his shoulders. He’s a respectful, intelligent, and relatively clean-cut guy. All joking aside, it’s no surprise that he ended up with a woman as intelligent and beautiful as [Bride]. You both deserve a lifetime of love, happiness, and success together. Please raise your glasses and join me in congratulating the bride and groom! We love you!” 

#9 Practice your body language

Public speaking isn’t only about what you say but how you carry yourself. Your body language can drastically affect your confidence, your delivery, and how the audience perceives you. Use these body language hacks to take your speech to the next level: 

  • Signal “friend” : Smile and show your open palms to send the message that you are the audience’s friend. This makes people feel more comfortable with your presence and more likely to listen.
  • Stand up straight : When you look confident, you also feel more confident. Check your posture if your voice is a little shaky before the speech. Roll back your shoulders and tuck your shoulder blades down towards your back. Slightly lift your chest and chin as you speak. 
  • Make eye contact: Throughout the speech, you should change your eye contact with different audience members. As you mention specific compliments or thanks, make eye contact with the bride, groom, groomsmen, bridesmaids, and the bride’s father.
  • Genuinely smile : Smiling may seem obvious, but it’s easy to forget when you feel so focused on a perfect delivery. At the same time, you don’t want to look like you’re fake smiling throughout the speech. Use these 9 Simple Tips to Smile Better (in any situation!)
  • Use your hands : It’s easy to let your nerves get the best of you and feel like a “deer in the headlights.” Instead of tucking your hands in your pockets, widen your stance and take up space. Use your hands and gestures while you talk to show that you are comfortable and happy during the speech. 

Want more tips? Here are 17 Body Language Presentation Cues to Use in Your Next Speech . 

#10 Rehearse before the big day

Experts say you should rehearse a speech 10 times before performing it. Research also shows that people who mentally prepare themselves before a speech by imagining it going well are more likely to perform fluently and easily. So before you get in front of an audience, be sure you’ve gone over your speech at least 10 times, either in your head or out loud. Better yet, practice in the mirror, on camera, or in front of a trusted friend. 

It also helps to review the gist of the speech with the groom (without giving away any secret details) to make sure it’s alright with him. A few weeks before the wedding, you may pull him aside and ask, “Hey man, is it OK if I tell the story about ____ in my best man speech? I think it’ll get some good laughs.” 

Although this example is long, this best man very clearly rehearsed his speech for a near-perfect performance without any notes:

Key Takeaways: Express Gratitude and Sentimentality in 3-5 Minutes

Ultimately, a best man speech is an opportunity to make your best bro look good in front of all his friends and family. Your speech should demonstrate how much you value your brotherhood or friendship. At the same time, you can enjoy 5 minutes of wedding fame without making things all about you. A great toast can make you a memorable celebrity at the wedding and have people laughing at your

Before jumping up at the reception and speaking off the cuff, remember to:

  • Outline and plan your speech ahead of time. Use notecards if needed.
  • Focus on the groom and his bride. Don’t go on and on about yourself. 
  • Nail the opening line with a funny joke, quote, or teaser that leads into a great story. 
  • Avoid inappropriate or cringey topics that could embarrass the groom.
  • Express gratitude to the groom and wedding hosts. 

Giving a toast or speech is an essential social skill that can make you one of the most likable people in a room. If you want to learn more about the art of giving showstopping toasts, read this guide on How to Give an Awesome Toast: Advanced Strategies for Speeches . 

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