10 Wedding Toast Mistakes Not to Make

Read our guide to steer clear of these 10 toasting don'ts.
by Jamie Miles
Bridesmaids making a toast
The Schultzes

A simple "Cheers!" or "Congrats!" won't cut it when it comes to a wedding toast. The maid of honor or best man selected to speak were chosen for a reason, and your speech is meant to bring all attendees together and serve as a reflection of this specific couple. There are many "dos" involved, but Victoria Wellman, co-founder of The Oratory Laboratory, a speechwriting company in New York, gives us recommendations for what NOT to say or do during a wedding speech.

Don't be afraid to roast the bride or groom, but know when enough is enough.
There's a fine line between poking fun and being vulgar. So, don't talk about how drunk they got at college and what trouble they used to get into. For starters, it's unoriginal, but mainly because grandma and the in-laws are in the audience too.

Don't tell private jokes.
It doesn't matter how funny you and five other friends think something is—if half the audience doesn't know it, you're excluding them and they'll stop listening.

Don't talk about exes.
Even if they're all on good terms, they're totally irrelevant to this day and it will make everyone feel super uncomfortable.

Don't tell us how your friend is like your sister (maids of honor, this one's for you).
We know you adore each other—that's why she gave you the job. Tell us why you love her, why she's so amazing and why she makes you laugh.

Don't just use adjectives to describe the person you are talking about.
You need to back up your descriptions with stories. The more specific you are, the better the speech.

Don't be overly sentimental.
Try for at least 70 percent humor and storytelling. When was the last time you left a wedding talking about an amazing speech that was all tears and 'I love yous'? If you think back over all the time you've spent together, you'll find the humor and juicy details about your friend.

Don't speak for longer than five minutes.
It's always better to leave the guests wanting more than wishing you'd stop.

Don't get hammered at the open bar.
If a glass of wine or a shot of tequila gives you a little confidence, then go for it—but no more than one until you're done!

Don't talk about yourself.
Yes, you've shared hundreds of adventures with your best friend or sibling, but you're best man or maid of honor because all those stories make you an expert on them. Look through your speech and count the 'I's.

Don't let nerves get the better of you!
You're about to deliver the best gift to your friend you've ever given them – it's exciting and you should be looking forward to it. If you spend the whole speech freaking out, you'll regret it afterwards and you only get one chance, so enjoy every moment of it.

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