As a veteran mobile DJ, I have witnessed literally thousands of wedding toasts/speeches in my career, so you could say that I am probably at least as qualified as the next guy to give advice!
Here are my tips:
1. Be sure to speak with the microphone *directly* in front of your mouth. Sound does not emit from your sternum, your navel, or over there by the cake. The DJ can only amplify what is going into the mic. You’ll sound great – trust me!
2. Stand and face the audience, but also address the bride and groom when appropriate.
3. It is always best to prepare to give your toast – ideally days in advance. Relatively few individuals are capable of “winging it” on the day of the wedding with any authority. If you are brave enough to try to improvise, still try to focus on a main point or two that you want to get across, and keep it short!
4. Keep a tiny set of notes of your main points on a small card or even written in your hand. If you get off track (which is easy to do), you’ll be able to pick up right where you left off.
5. Never refer to the past love interests of the bride or groom, or even their past “popularity” with the opposite sex or frequency of partner rotation.
Keep your toast concise and meaningful to the listening audience as a whole.
6. Refrain from telling little personal stories from the past, especially if it is embarassing to the bride or groom. Being personal is cool, but again, try to keep it relevant to the audience as a whole. That said, any stories should somehow shed light on the strength of character of the bride or groom or how/why the couple have been married today.
7. Don’t forget to end with “…and now I’d like to ask you to all raise your glasses and join me in a toast to…”
Well, there you go. Have fun and enjoy the privilege and pleasure of being invited to give a toast at the wedding: it means that you are someone very special to them.
© 1998 Adrian Cavlan. All rights reserved.Adrian Cavlan is a DJ, MC and musician who has been performing professionally for almost 30 years and has performed at well over 1200 weddings. His music business career began as a booking agent for wedding bands and ceremony musicians and he has owned and operated Sound In Motion DJs & Video (soundinmotioneg.com) in the San Francisco and Monterey Bay Areas with his business partner King Raffi since 1999. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org