If you're a close friend or family member of the bride and groom, you don't want to miss out on giving a toast at their wedding. It's a highly esteemed privilege, and, of course, you plan to give it your best shot.
However, we've all been to weddings where the toast just went wrong. Maybe the jokes weren't funny, or a big secret got spilled. While there are plenty of things you can say during a toast, there are even more things you should keep to yourself.
Before you start drafting your speech, bear in mind these 10 horrific details you shouldn't share!
Don't Talk About Past Failed Relationships (or Marriages)
"The third time's a charm!" isn't the best line to use when you're toasting the newlyweds. The couple would probably prefer to keep their romantic histories under wraps in front of hundreds of people, and there's no better way to kill the buzz of a magical evening than to talk about relationships that didn't last.
The point of the toast is to focus on the success of the couple and to congratulate them on their new union. Concentrate on talking about the qualities they have that will make their marriage last!
Don't Reveal the Bride's Secret Pregnancy
This one should be a no-brainer. If the bride and groom are hiding a pregnancy, it's not your job to blow their cover. Imagine the horror on their families' faces if you were the one to drop the bombshell by saying something like, "Did you guys register for that bun you have in the oven?" No doubt, the newlyweds are waiting for the right time to break the news, so don't ruin it for them!
You should actually consider it a privilege that you know such confidential information, and do what it takes to protect the secret. No matter the circumstances, there are some things that just aren't your responsibility to share.
Don't Share How Much You Dislike the Bride or Groom
A little power can be a dangerous thing. Just because you have the undivided attention of 200 people doesn't mean you should use the opportunity to dish about how much you disapprove of your friend's new spouse. No matter how much you may dislike your friend's mate, the deal is done, and your toast isn't the time to discuss it! Saying anything like, "Well, the first month of marriage will prove whether you're good enough for her" or, "We're here for you when it all goes down the drain, buddy" will only cause trouble. We guarantee you'll regret any critical words immensely.
The wedding isn't about you; it's about the couple taking the leap into matrimony. Hold your tongue, and be happy that your friend found someone she wants to spend her life with … even if you secretly wonder how in the world she could!
Don't Joke That an Ex Would've Been a Better Choice
"Since you let Tom get away, I guess James makes a good runner-up for happily ever after!" Ouch. Talking about exes at weddings should always top the list of restricted topics.
You never know what kind of offhand comment about a blast from the past will stir the pot. Those innocent comments about your gal pal's former beau being better looking and making more money? Looks and cash could be sensitive subjects, and you don't want to be responsible for the newlyweds' first married argument.
Don't Confess That You Thought She'd Be Single Forever
Even if your sentiments are genuine, talking about all those sleepless nights you spent worrying that your sister or best friend would never find The One is incredibly embarrassing. It's even worse if you pose it as a joke. "I could always rely on Sara for a last-minute Friday night out -- I knew she'd be available!"
If you want to make jokes during your toast, make sure they're actually funny. They shouldn't be thinly veiled insults. And may we remind you, talking about how you never thought the bride would never get married is a moot point -- now she is! Instead, tell the bride and groom how happy you are they found each other.
Don't Reveal That You Think They're Making a Mistake
If you really had your doubts about the bride or groom, you're a little late to express those concerns. Revealing them during the most expensive party the couple will ever host isn't the right time. You're at the reception to celebrate their decision to spend the rest of their lives together. Toast the commitment they've made to each other. The ceremony is over, the papers are signed, and it's a done deal! As someone who's esteemed enough to give a speech at your friend's wedding, your job is to be supportive -- no matter what your opinion.
Don't Confess That You Secretly Hooked up With the Bride or Groom
"You are one lucky lady (wink, wink)!" is not the opening line you should use in your wedding toast.
Complimenting the bride or groom is fine ("Congrats on the handsome hubby!"), but if you've had any kind of relationship with either one, we advise keeping it to yourself! No one wants to find out on her wedding day that her new spouse has hooked up with her best friend. Even if the bride is aware of your romantic history with the groom, other wedding guests might not be. Keep it light and classy, and if you simply must make a joke about steamy nights with the groom, send up your best wishes for a happy, happy honeymoon.
Avoid Negative Comments About the Bride or Groom's Family
Jokes about your friend's new in-laws won't go over well, especially if a) the jokes aren't funny, and b) the family is footing the bill for the dinner and booze you're enjoying.
Even if you've heard horror stories about the groom's mother from your friend, remember that this woman is one of your hosts. A dig like, "Don't worry, Ashley. I've got some scissors you can borrow if you need to cut the apron strings" might seem silly to you, but this is an emotional time for the families. Instead, give them a positive mention in your toast, and let them know they did a great job raising their son or daughter and how lucky you feel to know them and be part of their lives.
Don't Dish About the Bachelorette and Bachelor Parties
Spilling secrets about the bride and groom's last fling is a definite no-no. Revealing that the groom lied to the bride about going to a strip club for his bachelor party, or dishing that the bride drank too much in Las Vegas and almost got married to a waiter are just two details that shouldn't be discussed during any wedding toast. Or ever, really.
Take a cue from their wild and crazy nights, and avoid drinking too much before you make your speech. Too much bubbly gives you false confidence and blurs any censorship skills you might need.
Avoid Speeches That Begin "Remember When … "
In our experience, that sentence never has a pretty ending.
Remember when the groom went streaking across the football field, and you caught the whole thing on tape? Remember when the bride got so drunk that she stood on the bar and sang karaoke?
While those stories may be funny to tell at the bachelor and bachelorette parties or even the couple's first backyard barbecue in their new home, they're most definitely not appropriate to tell at the wedding. Keep in mind that you're talking to a mixed audience that includes the groom's fraternity brothers and his 90-year-old grandmother. You may get a few laughs from the Kappa Sig table, but those stories are most likely going to make the bride and groom feel uncomfortable in front of their guests.
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- Ryan, Carrie Beth. "What Not to Say at the Rehearsal Dinner." Bride Pop. Jan. 1, 2010. (March 2, 2011). http://www.bridepop.com/advice/rehearsal-dinner-ettiquette/
- Plunkett, Christine. "Things to Avoid During a Wedding Toast." The Wedding Planners Institute of Canada. (March 2, 2011). http://wpic.typepad.com/wpic/2010/08/t.html
- Johnston, Susan. "5 Things to Leave Out of Your Wedding Toast." Lemondrop. Oct. 27, 2009. (March 3, 2011). http://www.lemondrop.com/2009/10/27/5-things-to-leave-out-of-your-wedding-toast/2#comments
- Dy, Harriet Ann. "5 Things to Leave Out of Your Wedding Toast." 29secrets.com. (March 3, 2011). http://29secrets.com/sections/relationships/5-things-leave-out-your-wedding-toast