There are so many special moments on a wedding day, but the one that always stands out as my favorite is the best man/maid of honor toast. I’m a huge storyteller and there’s nothing more terrifying than being the sole focus of a large crowd, but there’s nothing more addicting than getting a laugh or bringing that same crowd to tears.
My brother was my best man and he gave a touching, funny, and brief speech that included several great stories from our childhood (ask him about the time I sent a knucklepuck straight to his front teeth) and his excitement for mine and Allie’s future together.
At the wedding Allie’s dad gave a great speech that expressed his gratitude for the family and friends that traveled a long way to be with us and love for his daughter and new son-in-law.
We’ve seen it all. We’ve seen well planned speeches that bring the entire audience to tears, awkward “fly by the seat of your pants” speeches, and rousing manifestos on the meaning of marriage, BUT all of them are heartfelt and come from a place of love.
Here are my top 4 tips for a great toast:
Plan your speech - Most people feel like the right words will come to them on the spot, but few can form a cohesive sentence with 200 pairs of eyes looking directly at them. Jot down some notes, put together a basic outline, and plan your stories in advance.
Be yourself - Don’t print a speech from a website. Instead, inject your personality into the toast to make it truly authentic. Brothers usually give their brothers a hard time. Sisters usually talk about how close they were as young girls and how they dreamed of a Prince Charming to sweep them off their feet. Teammates talk about hard fought sports victories, etc.
Pick one or two stories that describe the essence of your relationship - Use humor, talk about a time when your best friend/sibling helped you through a tough time, or tell an example that shows their character. Paint a picture using plenty of detail and allow time for people to laugh or cry!
End with a quote - This is the final bold statement and what people will remember from your speech. We’ve heard everything from Dr. Suess to classic phrases like “I’m not losing a daughter, but gaining a son”. To this day the best I’ve ever heard was “I’m not losing a daughter, but instead gaining cheap labor”. (Kelly and Tom - let Mr. Cordova know we LOVED his and everyone else's speech at your wedding.) I cried I was laughing so hard!!!
Cheers to all you best men and maid/matrons of honor and also Fathers! Best wishes for your moment in the spotlight!