Photo by Melissa McClure
The wedding toasts are some of my favorite parts of filming a wedding. Each one is unique and special to the couple. Sometimes the toast giver is beyond wonderful in their speech skills, other times… well, not so much. Bethel Nathan from Ceremonies by Bethel gives beautifully written speeches for each of her couples ceremony after ceremony. I asked her to share some tips and insight on giving a perfect wedding toast that you will want to be remembered in your wedding video. Brides and Grooms, this is one you will want to email to your bridal party right away!
Photo by Brant Bender Photography
Christina asked me to share a bit of advice I have for folks who are asked to make a toast at a wedding. As an Officiant, I am always conscious of two key things – what kind of content is appropriate and desired, and who is my audience – and then how to present it all well. And, truly, those are the same things I suggest you think about. So, here is my advice:
Content: Think about what you want to say and what is most appropriate to say. Please remember, especially if you are a close and long-time friend of the person getting married, that this is not meant to be a roast of your friend, but rather is to add to the celebration of the event. Be positive, be optimistic, be excited for them, say nice things about not only the one who is your friend or family member, but why you are excited that this is the person they chose to spend their life with. It’s been said, “People don’t always remember what you said to them, but they remember how you made them feel” – this is very true at a wedding, as the event will fly by in the couple’s mind, but they will always remember the emotions experienced throughout the day, and how they felt at any given point. Don’t include inside jokes, especially if it’s not something the new spouse was involved with, don’t talk about any prior relationships they had, and don’t try to embarrass them. This isn’t the place for that, in my opinion. And, the families will thank you for it!
Audience: Speaking of families, remember that this isn’t a private speech to just your friend and new spouse. This is in front of their families, sometimes their bosses and co-workers, and their friends of all sorts. Plus, since it is being videotaped, their future children and grandchildren are part of the audience too!
Presentation: This wide audience is relevant not only in terms of the content, but also how you actually present. Ask the videographer and photographer if there is a special place they want you to stand, and then be aware of your entire audience as you present. Look at the couple you are toasting, look out and around at the guests there, look at the families periodically – this will bring everyone into what you are talking about, making them all a part of it, and they will appreciate you for it. It also makes it more interesting for the video, which is how the couple will be watching your toast over and over again across the years.
Preparation: This all leads to the most important part, I think – preparing properly for your toast. Write it down, so that you know what you want to say – there’s nothing more awkward or embarrassing (or a missed opportunity) than seeing someone try to do a toast off the top of their head. It never goes as planned, can be torture for not only you but for the entire audience, and it is such a missed opportunity, since you absolutely won’t remember to include what you could have. And, then, practice it – over and over and over again. In front of a mirror, so that you know what you look like as you do it, and even in front of some of the other wedding party, maybe, or friends or co-workers, as they can give you feedback on both the content and the presentation. You will be less nervous, having written it down and practiced it, and it will result in a much better toast, and experience for everyone.
Good luck! And enjoy it!
Photo by Melissa McClure
Bethel Nathan, Ordained Officiant Open to All and owner of Ceremonies by Bethel, feels so honored to have celebrated over 200 couples to date. She specializes in personal, meaningful, fun, and non-religious wedding and commitment ceremonies, and enjoys being able to help her couples celebrate their unique relationship in front of those who matter most to them, in whatever way fits them best. To learn more about her services and how she can celebrate you or your clients, see www.ceremoniesbybethel.com.