Toasting the Newlyweds!
When it's time to toast the newlyweds, it's a good thing to have a plan. Most of the time it's the maid/matron of honor and best man that give the speeches. If anyone else wants to say a few words to the bride and groom, this is also the time to do so. Sometimes the parents want to say a toast. If they do, it's always great when they get to start the toasts, then hand the microphone to whoever in the wedding party is going to begin their toasts.
"What??" "We can't hear you!!" "Speak up!!" These are some words you don't want to hear during the toasts. Why does this happen? A good amount of people are afraid of public speaking. Therefore they will either talk quietly, talk too fast, mumble or a lot of times simply NOT hold the microphone close enough to their mouths...or they do hold it close and hear their voice, get scared, and instantly pull the microphone away.
When you don't hold the microphone close enough it is hard for everyone to hear and that can make them even more nervous. Plus, if the guests can't hear what's being said, all the time you spent on thinking about what you wanted to say won't be heard.
How can you help? Easy. Have a quick chat with the people who are giving toasts and remind them to hold the microphone up to their mouth. I've had plenty of people over the years tell me that they couldn't hear the toasts and that I didn't have the microphone turned up enough.
Trust me, I've been running sound at events and receptions for many, many years and you can only turn up a microphone so loud before you end up getting feedback (squeaky, high-pitched sound) from the speakers. Not having the microphone close enough to your mouth for everyone to be able to hear you is like holding a fork by a plate of food and wondering why you can't taste the food. You have to get it to your mouth to be effective.
One time a best man pretended that the microphone wasn't working because he thought it would be a funny way to start his toast. I got the not-so-happy looks from the newlyweds (and everyone else) and at the same time I was wondering what was happening to the microphone that I knew was working fine. No, this isn't funny and makes either the DJ or venue look bad. Please, don't start off your toasts pretending there is a problem.
To wing it or not to wing it. Are you going to write down, type up or "borrow" a toast you found on the internet? Great! Now, a piece of advice, don't lose it. The toast, that is. I've seen the maid of honor and best men get ready for their toast only to realize they lost the piece of paper or can't find it on their phone. If it's on paper, have an extra copy, keep one in your pocket/purse or place it under your dinner plate. If it's on paper, take a pic of it on your phone or tablet for a backup copy.
If you're going to wing it, make sure to keep it simple with say 3 things you want to make sure and say. Having mic fright or realizing everyone's eyes are on you with the microphone in hand can be a little intimidating, then what happens next? Your mind goes blank. I've seen both maid of honors and best men start their toasts then stop because they couldn't remember what they wanted to say. Sure, you can wing it, but I'd recommend at least make a few notes or points you want to talk about...that way if you do have a moment where you can't remember what you were going to say next, you've got the notes right there to help you.
How long should the toasts last? I recommend keeping it less than 5 minutes, per toast. Short and sweet. Mention who you are and how you know the bride and groom. Tell some fun, funny or even an embarrassing story, but keep it tasteful and respectful. Keep in mind most weddings have a variety of people in age and morals. What might seem appropriate to you, might upset some of the guests.
I've heard toasts that contain profanity, whether intentional or possibly because they've had a few drinks and let it slip, swear words in a toast can offend the guests, grandma, grandpa or even the pastor who just married you a few hours ago. So, make sure and remind the people giving toasts to keep it clean as possible.
If you can do your toast in 5 minutes or less, you'll have a better chance holding the attention of the guests. I've heard toasts drag on and on...and on. I've also seen toasts where EVERYONE in the wedding party says something. Now, this isn't a bad thing, but again, short and sweet. Your guests are looking forward to dancing, getting some cake, etc. Couples have told me many times "We've been to weddings where everything just seemed to take forever until the dance started and we don't want that at our wedding." Most of the time a reception for the bride and groom goes by so quickly, but for the guests, it can seem to have a lot of lag time.
When the toasts wrap up, stand up with your now spouse and say a few "thank you's." It adds a special touch and gives you an opportunity to let your guests know how thankful and glad you are that they are there celebrating your big day!