Best Man Toast Recipe
1. Get up there and introduce yourself (5 seconds)
– Sounds simple enough, but often people forget this step. This is important for the toast to have a beginning, middle, and end, just like a proper story.
– Ex: “Hi, for those of you who don’t know me, I’m Ryan, Rick’s twin brother”
2. Thank everyone for coming out (10 15 seconds)
– This creates an interactive element. The goal is to make this about everyone but yourself. It’s okay to mention exceptionally long distances traveled unless there are too many and you’d be excluding people. My rule of thumb is it must be a continent away.
– Ex: “I want to thank everyone who came out tonight from near and far. We even have some family in from Greece tonight! I know you all mean so much to Rick and Christina and I’m so glad that you’re here.”
3. Compliment the event & thank the host(s) (10 15 seconds)
– Recognize those who so generously made the evening possible. Be careful not to insult anyone who may have chipped in by excluding them. You can just be general about it by thanking both sets of parents and/or families.
– Ex: “And how about this wedding? What a gorgeous venue! Thank you, Rob and Meredith, for putting together such a beautiful evening!”
4. Say something funny about the groom (30 60 seconds)
– It’s okay to be lightly disparaging here, but keep it PG and be gentle. Don’t divulge any secrets and don’t pick a topic about which you know he’s very sensitive. You should also be self-deprecating if natural.
– Ex: “You know, as Rick’s twin, I’ve technically known him longer than anyone in this room. 9 months longer to be specific. In fact, before we were roommates, we were iwombmates’. And believe me when I tell you, before Rick met Christina, he wasn’t the man he is today.” [Insert generic funny story of groom].
5. Say something sweet about the bride (30 60 seconds)
– Never, ever forget this or underdo it. See ‘Very Important’ note below. Here you are transitioning from lighthearted to heartfelt.
– Ex: “…and that’s where Christina comes in. Christina, let me first say that you look stunning tonight. From the moment Rick brought you home, I always hoped he would finally make one smart decision and marry you. You’ve been like a sister to me over the years and I’m so glad we could finally make it official.” [Insert generic bride compliments].
6. Bring it all together with a congratulations and best wishes (10 20 seconds)
– With this transitional section, you’re basically just wrapping it all up while maintaining a feeling of fluidity/continuity. The time for humor is over. This should be all heartfelt.
– Ex: “Christina, Rick, I’m so glad you guys found each other…” [Insert generic admiration and happiness].
7. And lastly, don’t forget it’s a TOAST, not a speech (5 10 seconds)
– This is where the interactive element comes full circle. Champagne is on the tables for a reason.
– Ex: “Now if you’ll all join me in raising a glass…here’s to the bride and the groom – may they enjoy a lifetime of love and happiness!” (There are much more creative one-liners out there – it’s fine to borrow one -just make sure you don’t make a joke out of this part.)
BREVITY is key!
The whole thing, appropriate pauses and all, should be between 2.5 and 4 minutes. Any less and people will assume you didn’t prepare or aren’t really that close with the couple. Any more and you’ll lose your audience, frustrate the timeline of the wedding, and delay more important activities like mingling and dancing. Remember, you’re there as a servant, not a star. Your day for being the center of attention will come or may have already. Resist the urge.
Do not ramble about yourself/the groom and ignore the bride.
I have seen this at too many weddings. People will tell story after pointless story about the groom (and usually themselves too) and forget to mention the bride at all. Everybody notices this. The whole point of the day is uniting two people/families. Be a facilitator of that. Do not make this about your personal relationship with the groom (and the rest of your bros), no matter how important you think you are. It comes off as self-centered and dim-witted. You have already been honored enough by being chosen as best man. Now honor everyone else. Wear that tuxedo with humility.