Among the many reasons that I thoroughly enjoy my role as a Corporate Communication & Speech Specialist is that the clients I serve are so diverse. As I assist them with their business communication goals, every now and then they’ll seek me out for something quite unexpected.
Last month one of my corporate clients contacted me to help her and her fiance with the wedding toast they wanted to deliver at their reception. What an honor; I couldn’t wait to get started! Since they don’t live locally we had our initial meeting via Skype during which time I met her fiance for the first time. Subsequently, we met in person for our follow-up meeting. They were a pleasure to work with and I’m confident their toast will be very well-received.
Here are the pointers I offered to this happy couple:
1. Adopt the right mindset: Consider your wedding toast to be a gift that you’re giving your guests. Keep it brief; under 5 minutes is ideal.
2. Develop your theme: Determine what your overall message is and then have 2-3 ideas you want to share that fit within that theme.
3. Stories tell all: Include brief examples or vignettes that capture the essence of your message (e.g. how you first met, getting to know each other’s relatives, lessons learned). You can even make it interactive (e.g. if you’re telling a story about asking the father of the bride for her hand in marriage, turn to the father and say: “Remember what you said?”).
4. Support your partner: Share the toast between the two of you by handing off the message to one another where appropriate. (You don’t have to each speak an equal amount.) If one of you forgets, the other can chime in.
5. Be authentic: Practice is vitally important but you also want to come across as spontaneous and genuine. Use notes or a diagram while practicing but at the wedding try visualizing the story or event you’re sharing and let that guide your words.
Most of all, remember that this is your day. Share yourselves with your guests by letting them know what matters to you, thank them for their love and support and know that they are there for you on your special and memorable day.
Here’s to you!