MEJ Masthead

10 big wedding toast don’ts

Lynda Foster

Will you be giving a speech at a wedding this season? To make sure your speech is a hit on the day, here are some key things to avoid.

  1. Don’t wing it

    Saying you’ll wing your speech is the wedding equivalent of ‘hold my beer and watch this’ – no good things will follow. Unless you’re a pro, avoid the lacklustre jokes and write down your thoughts.

  2. Don’t read it

    No matter how brilliant and engaging your speech is on paper, reading it word for word guarantees a flat voice and a snore-fest for the audience. Stick to bullet points on cards and practice like mad so you can engage your audience with eye contact and personality.

  3. Don’t waffle

    A major buzzkill at any wedding is the speech that is too long – particularly when it starts to interfere with main course. Prepare your speech in advance and as a general guide, stick to five minutes – generally about two double-spaced pages or roughly 600 words.

  4. Don’t ignore the Bride’s wishes

    Yes, the fact that the bride and groom started as a one night stand is a great story, but if the bride doesn’t want it in your speech it’s a no go. We all have skeletons in our closet, if you want yours to stay hidden respect her wishes and focus on something more positive.

  5. Don’t talk about the exes

    Nothing gets more awkward than a mention of previous partners at a wedding – especially if it ended in divorce. A wedding is a celebration of possibility for the couple and what their future together may bring – don’t ruin it by bringing up the dirty past.

  6. Don’t drink too much

    Vodka is not water and rum will not make you funnier. Maintain the filter and stick to the general rule of no more than two glasses before your speech to keep your head clear and your tongue sharp.

  7. Don’t forget your audience

    You’re not having a deep and meaningful with your bestie here, there are sometimes hundreds of people in the room too. Make like Grandma is listening (and can actually hear you) – no swearing, no sex stories, and no ‘in’ jokes. This is a very forgiving audience, but you have to respect them.

  8. Don’t get too emotional

    Pardon the pun, but nothing ruins the flow of an evening like tears – even ‘happy’ ones. Practice, keep it upbeat and stay on point.

  9. Don’t forget about the wedding

    It sounds silly, but let’s not forget why we’re all here – it’s not to talk about yourself, it’s not to list every accomplishment of your little girl and it’s not about just telling awkward funny stories. Keep in mind you’re all there to celebrate the couple and their future so make sure that is front and centre of your speech.

  10. Don’t forget to bring the funny

    It’s a celebration not a Justin Bieber roast. Test your jokes out on a few people to see which ones work and if it’s all too much and funny isn’t working, just be yourself and speak from the heart – you can’t lose.

Silvertongue Speeches is a Canberra based speechwriting service that specialises in wedding speeches. Check out their Facebook page for more information and packages to help your speech hit the right note.


Lynda Foster

Lynda Foster is the owner of Silvertongue Speeches (, the home of all things weddings and speeches to help you craft the perfect words for your day. More about the Author