Toasts: The Quickest (or Actually Longest) Way to Throw Your Wedding Off Track
“How many prepared speeches will there be?” It’s a standard question I ask my clients when drafting their wedding day schedule. It’s become increasingly common for them to answer “four” if not “five” - upon which my mood immediately dampens. There is no quicker way to bring a wedding reception down than by having TOO MANY TOASTS. Back in the day, it was tradition for the best man to give a speech. Eventually the maid of honor was added into the mix. But somewhere along the way, it became the norm for both sets of parents, the co-best men, the maid of honor and the matron of honor, several bridesmaids, siblings, and close friends to engage in an open mic night before dinner.
Your guests – like all people – have a limited attention span. They will quickly go from happy wedding goer to prisoner at their own table when they are forced to listen to multiple bridesmaids each rattle off 5 minutes of inside jokes that no one gets. Think about it: five speakers talking for 4-5 minutes means you are asking your guests to sit still and not talk (AND awkwardly crane their necks if they don’t have a seat facing the speaker) for close to 25 minutes - actually 30 minutes when you factor in the introductions and first dance. And more often than not, your guests are without a drink in hand because the caterer closed the bar during the introductions.
If you are lucky enough to have a throng of people eager to sing your praises and toast your marriage, invite some of them to do so at the rehearsal dinner. Limit the reception toasts to two to three and ask the chosen speakers to keep their toasts short and sweet. Three minutes is ideal. I’ve witnessed firsthand several fathers-of-the-bride drone on for more than 20 minutes! Around the 15 minute mark, you could feel the energy being sucked out of the room. The guests became visibly angry. As did the caterer, whose Chicken Florentine was drying out under the heat lamps. That time would be much better spent out on the dance floor!
Done correctly, toasts can create some of the most cherished and heartfelt memories of the day. They make us laugh, they make us cry, and they make us feel even closer to the guests of honor. So let’s raise our glass to fewer and to shorter – but no less epic! – toasts. Cheers!