Someone raising a glass to a toast

It’s wedding season and there are many ways to celebrate on that special day for the bride and the groom. One of the best ways to celebrate this occasion is through the traditional toast that is given during the wedding reception. However, I’ve recently seen that what should typically be one of the high points of the reception just flops miserably. This failure has to do with how the best man or the maid of honor gives the toast. The key word to remember is that it is a toast and that the goal of this time is to speak well of the respective persons and not roast them (or even grill them!) in front of the audience. One definition of a roast is “to criticize or reprimand severely.” This is not what we should do to the bride or groom! I’d like to offer a few suggestions in this blog of what not to do in a toast and then what one should do in order to make the celebration a wonderful and meaningful one.

First, I want to mention some of the horrific scenes that I’ve witnessed during the time that is supposed to be an honoring of the bride and groom. The first problem that I’ve seen happen is that the speech goes way too long. The toast then ends up being lost in a series of unrelated events and stories that resemble a rollercoaster ride more than anything else due to its ups and downs and turns and twists. This certainly is difficult to follow let alone celebrate. This may be due to either a long-standing relationship with the bride or groom or simply because the person giving the toast did not prepare well. You only need to give the highlights, not every detail since the early childhood of either the bride or the groom. The speech should only be around 5 minutes in length at the most.

The content of the speech should include the following:

  1. A sentimental story
  2. A funny story
  3. A gratitude/thanksgiving to either the bride or groom, or both
  4. An encouragement of blessing

If practiced well, this could go by with great fluidity and grace.

A second big mistake that I’ve seen happen is that the toaster begins to speak poorly of either the bride or groom and sometimes even seems to be venting out past hurts or disappointments that may have happened years ago. This kind of scene comes off as very angry and bitter from the person giving the toast who seems to be “getting back” at their supposed friend. This public venue is no place for this to occur and should be avoided at all costs. If there is something that needs to be settled or dealt with, it is always best to do so in private (Matt. 18:15).

One final embarrassing moment can come if the toaster starts mentioning the numerous past relationships of either the bride or groom. It is not necessary to mention all the people that the bride or groom may have dated in the past. This could be very uncomfortable for everyone involved especially if those past relationship partners may be present in the audience. Again, this is very inappropriate and not edifying to anyone in attendance (Eph. 4:29). The past is the past and it really is “water under the bridge.”

I understand that public speaking is one of the biggest fears of most people and that many best men and maids of honor are not used to doing this on a regular basis. For this reason, I’d like to offer a two-fold suggestion for this time:

  1. Write down a few thoughts on a 3 X 5 index card in outline form and
  2. Practice, practice, practice!

It will be helpful to practice this aloud and to even time oneself to make sure that things move quickly and concisely. I would even recommend practicing what you will share with a few close friends who can give you some feedback on the toast as well.

Remember, the wedding day is a time of worship before the Lord and a celebration for the couple for their holy union. Unnecessary and inappropriate “roasting” of any kind will not help make the day worshipful nor celebratory. I pray that all who have the opportunity to be a best man or maid of honor in the future will give the proper honor and thanks to the bride and groom in order to edify them and all in attendance.