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Toasting Tips

There’s nothing like a great toast. And nothing worse than an absolutely torturous one. Here’s how to handle the speeches whether you’re a groom or best man.

The Right Time

The best man’s moment is obvious, but a groom often wants to give a shout out to those who have made this day possible, as well as to tell a little sweet (and short) story about the new love of his life. (How you met or the moment you first knew you loved her is always a good one.) The best times for such a speech are either when the rehearsal dinner is winding down if you expect it to be a little more intimate or emotional moment, or to conclude the reception speeches.

What to Say (and not to say)

  • Always thank the bride’s parents. And both families for that matter.
  • Thank the guests too since they make the day what it truly is.
  • Look for a particular anecdote that quickly emphasizes a point you’re trying to make.
  • For the best man: a moment when the groom’s personality truly shined.
  • Funny is always good, but dirty or too risqué almost always falls flat.
  • Inside jokes in front of hundreds of family and friends are pointless too.

Speaking Tips

Think back to the last time you gave a speech or presentation in front of lots of people. How nervous were you? Did you get on a roll when you had cues to rely on or was it better when you were speaking off the top of your head? This should be your guide as to how much time, thought, and effort you need to put into preparing for the speech. Beyond that, here are some tips:

  • Even if you’re a veritable John Stewart, think of what you want to say at least a day or two before the wedding.
  • The good news is that your subject is something (or rather, someone) dear to your heart. Let that guide you.
  • Try to avoid needing to memorize or type out the entire speech. Instead, use a few note cards and practice it a few times to get your rhythm.
  • Perhaps the most important thing about a toast though, beyond its pithy stories and emotional moments, is its brevity. Keep it to 2-3 minutes max. Whether you’re the groom or the best man, this day obviously means a lot to you. And while it means something to all of the guests, it’s not as big of a deal for them. So get to the heart of the matter quickly, and get out.