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A Toast Needs a Ghost: 3 Reasons Why Wedding Toasts Are So Painful

A Toast Needs a Ghost: 3 Reasons WHY Wedding Toasts Are So Painful

Group people at wedding table with cake. Guest says toast.My feet were permanently damaged. Or so I thought. Standing for an hour in shoes not designed for standing made me a temporary cripple. In fact, standing for over an hour listening to wedding toasts rendered dozens of women temporarily crippled. People often don’t realize that a wedding toast is just a speech by another name. As Shakespeare taught us, a rose by any other name is still a rose.

A TOAST by any other name is still a speech. A New Year’s Toast is still a speech.  Therefore it must follow the same rules as any other speech. Which means a Toast shall not violate the speech commandments. Three reasons wedding toasts are so painful is that they violate these basic commandments of public speaking. These commandments apply to all public speaking which includes both TOASTS AND EULOGIES.

A Toast should not do:

  • Bore the audience
  • Shall not ramble
  • Shall not embarrass

What a Toast should do:

  • Be authentic
  • Well thought out
  • Short

These qualities are not easy when talking about someone you love.

Or perhaps just not easy when giving a TOAST that one did not prepare to give, did not practice out loud, and did not time in advance. There is a reason that the Gettysburg address is so famous and has stood the test of time. It is short, very short. Lincoln took 4 minutes to give this speech and that is with many pauses and much time for emphasis. It is hard to write something short.

Many people giving wedding toasts don’t prepare in advance. As they wait for the person before them to finish, I believe they subconsciously want to go longer than their predecessor. Toasts are often painful because they are boring, filled with private stories that we are not in on. Sometimes they are physically boring if we are forced to stand through each and every one, the next one longer than the one before.

Like the cavalry, help can be on the way. “Even though” a TOAST is supposed to be heartfelt does not mean that it and you can’t benefit from outside help. Your guests, your family and most importantly the bride or groom will benefit from a thoughtful TOAST rather than what often becomes a roast.

Plan in advance what you are going to say.

“EVEN THOUGH” you know the bride or groom and love the bride or groom does not dismiss you from planning in advance what you are going to say. You may have known this person a lifetime. Take time to decide what part or parts of that lifetime you will share in a toast. Bleed alittle. Be authentic. We don’t need to know the specifics of how your son was always there for you. We just need you to sound like a mom or dad, not like you are reading the phone book.

Practice out loud. If you don’t want to practice in front of someone, at least practice in front of the bathroom mirror. Remember, in speaking, practice does not count unless it is out loud.

Keep in mind that this is a toast not a seminar. Others either spoke before you or after you so think of the audience as you prepare your remarks. THINK too that often liquor was flowing freely so the attention span of your audience has been compromised with food and/or drink. While KISS often stands for keep it simple, stupid. I say KEEP IT SHORT AND SIMPLE.

The bride and groom received many gifts. The gift you can give the audience is the gift of a short, well thought out, authentic toast to the one you love.


Leslie is a contributing blogger for JenningsWire. Read more posts by Leslie Ungar here.


The online feature magazine,, is created by National PR Firm, Annie Jennings PR that specializes in providing book promotion services to self-published and traditionally published authors. Annie Jennings PR books authors, speakers and experts on major high impact radio talk interview shows, on local, regionally syndicated and national TV shows and on influential online media outlets and in prestigious print magazines and newspapers across the country.

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