How to Write a Wedding Toast That Everyone Will Love

Follow these 12 steps from wedding gurus who have heard it all

After the happy couple says their "I dos," no wedding is complete without a mix of speeches and toasts celebrating the newly married couple and their life ahead. Being asked to speak at a friend or family member's wedding is an honor, but it can also be overwhelming. We've all seen toasts gone wrong: It's never-ending or full of inside stories that no one else gets or—even worse—laden with inappropriate stories that make people cringe.

In my business as a wedding industry consultant at Carats & Cake, I've seen it all, and I've studied what makes a great wedding toast. I reached out to some of the wedding industry's best to share their insights on what can make or break your speech. These 12 tips are all you need to craft the ultimate marriage toast sure to leave the bride and groom beaming.

Be Sensitive

"Ask the couple if there are any sensitive topics. You might talk or joke with them about something, but they may not need all 150 guests at their wedding knowing that joke." — Event designer Amy Nichols of Amy Nichols Special Events in San Francisco

Practice, Practice, Practice

Paul Barnett Photography

"Write out your toast, and practice, practice, practice! Not only does this allow you to look your audience in the eyes, but the more you practice, the more your emotions will subside. After the 20th practice, the words, not the tears, will flow." Photographer Paul Barnett of Paul Barnett Photography in San Diego

Introduce Yourself

"As obvious as it sounds, make sure to clarify who you are and your relationship to the couple. It lets those who don't know as many people feel more included." Wedding planner Caroline Dutton of Caroline Dutton Events in Washington, DC

Be Photogenic

Liz Banfield

"Remember that you are being photographed, so it's not only important to consider the background of where you stand but also your gestures and stance." Photographer Liz Banfield of Liz Banfield in Minneapolis

Allow Your Talents In

Mixed couple outdoor wedding
Hero Images for Getty Images

"If singing, writing a short story, or creating a poem is a passion of yours—and appreciated by the couple—use this art to share your words with everyone." Event designer Diana Chouinard of Jubilee Events in Cheshire, Connecticut

Keep It Short

"Keep the speech short and concise. If you have to flip to page two, it's probably too long. Save longer speeches for the rehearsal dinner." — Event designer Tracie Domino of Tracie Domino Events in Tampa, Florida and Deer Valley, Utah

Include the Couple as a Whole

The Grovers

"No matter which half of the pair you are speaking on behalf of, be sure to include sentiments for both parties and the couple as a whole." Wedding planner Brooke Keegan of Brooke Keegan Special Events in Newport Beach, California

Speak from the Heart–And Use Notes

wedding toast by best man
 Jacoblund for Getty Images

"Writing wedding toasts can be stressful, but we recommend speaking from the heart and keeping a notecard on hand if you are nervous."Managing partner Melissa Porter of Asheville Event Co. in Asheville, North Carolina

Use Humor Tastefully

"Everyone enjoys a laugh during a wedding toast. Be sure to use humor tastefully when making jokes and poking fun at the newlyweds. No one wants to be 'that person' who made the inappropriate and awkward jokes during the toasts." Event planner Lindsey Nickel of Lovely Day Events in Northern California wine country and Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Make It Memorable

"Not all couples meet in their high school physics class, but for one couple who did, the best man arranged for their physics teacher, Mr. Lynch, to make a surprise appearance and speech, which was a nostalgic treat for the couple and their guests. For those in attendance who weren't familiar with how the couple met, they were able to learn a fun fact about the bride and groom, and leave knowing more about them than before the event (which is always a great goal!)." Principal designer Tracy Taylor Ward of Tracy Taylor Ward Design in New York City

Limit Inside Jokes

"While personal stories of the bride and/or groom are a fabulous way to bring laughter and love into a toasting session, we recommend limiting yourself to one—maybe two—stories during your toast. I once sat through a toast where the speaker told FIVE stories! To say the least, I couldn't wait for it to end. Also, nix inside jokes during a toast; most people won't understand, which means they probably won't laugh, and that could make things a little awkward." Wedding planner Courtney Wolf of Invision Events in Atlanta and Birmingham, Alabama

Raise Your Glass

Lesbian wedding toast
 Hero Images for Getty Images

"As they move into this new phase of life, it is important for the couple to feel confident in knowing that friends and family will be there for them in the years to come. End on a supportive and encouraging note by inviting guests to raise their glasses in support of the new union." — Managing partner Cammie Buehler of  Epicure Catering & Cherry Basket Farm in Omena, Michigan

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