Wedding Speeches & Toasts

As the best man or maid of honor, you are expected to give a short speech or toast at the wedding reception which sounds easy enough for some but, is terrifying for others. Follow these simple steps to the best wedding speech ever.

Hello – Introduce yourself. Whether it is “Hi”, “Hello” or  “My name is___”, introducing yourself and your relationship to the bride or groom in a manner that is consistent with the content of the speech will set the tone for the next step.

Opener – Lead with your best line. If it is humor – bring out the big guns first, if it is romance, let it out. Whatever you lead with will begin the journey that will make the listeners want to follow or not.

Story – The toast or speech should have a beginning, middle and end. The opening line will start the story, you can weave around various points but you should circle back as you prepare to finish.

Romance – Share something about the early stages of their relationship. Perhaps how they met, their first date or the first time they met each other’s parents. You are toasting the couple, not just the bride or groom.

KISS – Keep It Short & Sweet. 3 minutes is about the right amount of time before you lose their attention.

Off- Limits – Avoid anything too lowbrow like mentioning exes, talking about their sexual habits or family disagreements.

Last but, not least; Practice, Practice, Practice! You may not want to read the speech from the cards you have prepared but have them with you in case you draw a blank so, if you have practiced enough it will be second nature when it is time to deliver.

Being true to yourself and your realtionship with the couple will make a lasting impression, one that will leave guests talking about your speech long after the reception has ended.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Humorous Wedding Toasts Made Simple

While guests may remember  sentimental wedding toast , it is the well written humorous ones that really stand out and keep the guests talking long after the reception has ended. Writing and delivering a funny wedding toast is a lot easier than you might think, it just involves the proper planning and timing.

– Plan the timing of the toast and discuss with the emcee or DJ so they can introduce you properly.

– Narrow down your subject matter so you are not all over the map.

– It is imperative that you begin or ‘open’ with your best lines ( or jokes) to hook the audience. 

-The middle of the toast should be filled with equal amounts of facts, jokes and anecdotes about the bride and the groom, their relationship and/or their families.

-Leave vulgarity, embarrassing secrets or sensitive personal information out of the toast. No fart jokes, no sex jokes, no potty jokes, no racial slurs and for the sake of everyone do not make fun of the bride or groom’s family!!! The point is NOT to make the couple look like drunks, losers, liars or cheaters. You are there to toast your friends not to humiliate them… or anyone.

– Once you have established  momentum and filled the room with laughter, try to avoid sad subjects like deceased relatives or you may never get the audience back in time to deliver your closing comments.

– It is always best to work from note cards. If you are an accomplished speaker, you can use keywords otherwise, you’ll want to write the entire thing down.

– Practice, practice, practice. Practice on someone who is not invited, a co-worker, neighbor, friend or you can practice in front of a mirror.

-Keep it short. 3 minutes is about as long as any wedding toast or speech should last , after that… people will begin to look at their watch.

If you are asked to make a toast and plan on delviering a humorous one, spend as much time writing the toast as you can. If well-written and delivered properly, you will be rewarded with laughter, applause and the eternal appreciation of the bride and groom.


-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago


Wedding Faux Pas

Etiquette is one of the most complicated topics of discussion regarding weddings. Who should be seated at the head table, how to address the envelopes, how do you handle wording on the invitations regarding divorced parents and who pays for what, to mention a few. Basically it is a mine field of dos and don’ts, rights and wrongs and one mis-step could put you in hot water with almost anyone. It is exhausting, to say the least.

Manners are the unenforced standards of conduct in polite society. The real purpose of manners is  to make other people feel comfortable, not to alienate or subject them to your own standards.  There are some  basic tenets that hold society together such as ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘you’re welcome’, other than that  the essence of good manners is to remember that what you think is the truth is actually only your opinion.

Luckily most wedding professionals will help guide you through the planning process gracefully so you can avoid most of the major lapses in etiquette. Invitation specialists will help you decide on wording, the DJ will help you with introducing the wedding party and selecting music, the caterer will help you figure out the details of dinner. Beware, though, there are still pitfalls. Of course you could buy a book on wedding etiquette or surf the net with your specific topics. But, for every person who writes a book or a column or a blog, remember that the ‘etiquette’ guide is just a guide. It is merely the opinion of the author and not the Constitution and if you search long enough you will find someone who agrees with your opinion, whether it is right or wrong.  Common sense should prevail and if you have any doubt that something is in poor taste, it probably is. If you don’t know the definition of poor taste, then it won’t matter anyway.

Keeping all of that in mind, I have composed my list of the worst wedding faux pas.  See if you agree.

Asking for money outright.Whether it is in the invitation, on your website or by mouth, asking for money is a no-no. You should sign up for at least one registry and there are tons of creative ones like the FHA mortgage registry or Home Depot.  Worst offender – Passing around a bag, box or any sort of container  at the wedding or reception like a collection plate at church. This has actually happened. Ghastly! Money Trees are also a thing of the past and  vulgar. Keep it confidential, please… no one wants to see your cash.

Turning the ceremony into a talent show. The bride and groom do not need to sing during the ceremony.  Celine Dion did not sing at her wedding so you don’t need to, either. This is not the time to prove to the world that the bride has the chops for Ave  Maria.

Late Start. Starting the ceremony more than 15 minutes late is bad, starting it over an hour late is unconscionable. After ten minutes an announcement should be made regarding the late-ness of the ceremony, explaining to the waiting guests why the ceremony is held up. Traffic, medical issue   are good reasons, oversleeping is not. If your fiance oversleeps on your wedding day and is more than one hour late to the ceremony, you should take a pass.

Dragging Ceremony.  The average ceremony in America lasts about 30 minutes, the longest I have attended was a little over an hour. Long enough that by the end of it I had made a mental list of things I needed to do when I got home and wondering if I turned off the stove. If your vows take more than an hour, the groomsmen will be kissing marble before the bride has a chance to pucker up. If the ceremony lasts more than two hours, you need to have your head examined.

Bad Toasts – Where do I begin? If the toast embarasses anyone, ridicules anyone, mentions sex in any way or the cost of the wedding, have it edited out of your wedding video. For your entertainment there is a website dedicated to bad wedding toasts.

Drunk Bride or Groom – The #1 thing you can do at your wedding to show your guests you have absolutely no clue about manners, etiquette or good taste is to get drunk at the reception. If you slur a few words, no problem… just take a break from champagne and drink some water. If you vomit, curse or wind up in jail you are out of control.

Fortunately there are those of us who embrace live comedy. We love the big and little faux pas in life and see them as entertainment. We tell and re-tell the stories of the tacky, extreme and ridiculous as if it were yesterday, and we love the awful as much as the elegant. So, if you are one of those people who cannot resist wearing a size 12 shoe in your size 8 mouth – don’t despair! We support you. For without you we would have no idea of what not to do.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago