10 Tips for a MEANINGFUL Wedding Toast (and video worthy)

Brandon EsparzaCameras

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I want to let you in on a little secret. As a wedding filmmaker, I’m not actually the storyteller. I know most wedding videographers (including myself) talk about the story and how important it is.

Weddings are unique, because, while I’m not the storyteller per sé. I’m still the one that puts the story together in the editing room.

The Story — the wedding story — is actually told by the bride, groom and their friends and family. When I put together my client’s wedding films, I pull from the very best of the ceremony, speeches, toasts, prayers and love letters.

If you take a look at our wedding videos, you may notice that we don’t usually put the full speech or toast into our films.  And in some cases…it never makes it at all!

Unfortunately, not all toasts or speeches are created…or given equally.

If you’re reading this, it’s likely that your friends, the bride and groom, sent you this link. As wedding filmmakers, we’ve heard a LOT of toasts and have heard our share of the good and the bad.

We know that talking in public can be very nerve-wracking — and these tips aren’t meant to make you more nervous! We just want to share with you a few tips on giving a great toast that is meaningful and will last a lifetime.

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10 Tips for a Meaningful Wedding Toast

  1. Introduction: Keep your introduction sweet and to the point. Introduce yourself and how you know the couple. If you met them in a unique way this would be a great time to tell that story.
  2. Telling Stories: Stories are always a great way to share with everyone else memories you had with the couple and what great people they are.

    Always
    tell stories with a positive beginning, middle AND ending and try to bring it back to why the couple are such great people.

    Tell it
    in such a way that everyone in the room can enjoy it. It’s OK to tell personal stories, but all the guests want to laugh and cry about it WITH you.
  3. Length: Try to keep your speeches between 7-9 minutes long.
  4. Drinking: Yes, drinking helps you relax, but don’t drink too much before your speech! There is nothing worse than a drunk toast.
  5. Jokes: A good joke is always a great addition to a speech. Just make sure it’s actually funny, not too corny and makes sense to everyone in the room. No “inside jokes” unless most of the people in the room can relate.
  6. NEVER BE NEGATIVE: Don’t bring up old girlfriends, bad relationships or anything sad or negative. Don’t be hard on yourself either! Don’t say things like, “I’m not good a giving speeches.” With a little practice, …you’ll be a pro!
  7. Quotes: Sometimes quotes are a great way to elevate your speech. Find a quote that fits the couple and you feel fits their relationship — not just because it sounds “profound.”
  8. Plan Ahead: If you really want to give a great speech, then plan ahead. Once you’ve written your speech, go over it multiple times and get familiar with it. Have a few of your friends review it for you as well.
  9. Standing and Holding the Mic: Hold that mic very close to your mouth. Everyone wants to hear you and we need great professional audio. While not necessary, we also LOVE it when our toast givers stand in one place. We know it’s tempting to roam around, but moving multiple cameras and tripod can make things very complicated!
  10. The Ending: End your speech by wishing them the best in their future and how amazing their life is going to be together.

Oh! And don’t actually forget to raise that glass and give the toast!

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But my biggest piece of advice is to focus on the character and personality of the couple — both individually and as a couple. It’s these intimate moments of heartfelt words that nearly always make the film.

Bonus Tip!

As a wedding videographer, I’ve heard many cliché phrases. And while most of your viewers are not likely to pick up on them — we thought we would share them anyway. Here are a list of words and phrases that are most commonly spoken in a wedding toast or speech that you might want to avoid. 🙂

“For those of you who don’t know me…”

“With that being said, let’s raise a toast…”

“But in all seriousness…”

“But all joking aside…”

“I promised I wouldn’t tell this story but…” 

“Um…”

“Closer to the mic? Ok hows this”

“Can everyone hear me? I can’t hear myself”