Start writing down your thoughts several weeks before the wedding day.
This is an awesome and fun assignment – take it seriously! Give yourself time so you can write, revise and practice.
The more prepared you are, the more relaxed you'll be!
Give your speech a structure: past, present, and future.
This might seem obvious, but you want a speech structure that moves forward chronologically and culminates in the future of the happy couple.
Keep your entire audience in mind – it's likely only half the room (if that) will be familiar with you. Your opening remarks about the past should move forward swiftly.
The audience will be waiting for the words, "and that's when he met _______." Once you're into this middle section of the toast, your entire audience will be more engaged!
I like to keep my speeches short because I know audience engagement is naturally going to wane over the course of a long speech.
Make this speech about their story.
Consider this: you likely have known the groom for years before their relationship started (Column A). But the wedding day and thus the toast is more about B and C.
Let your memories with the groom build into their love story.
If you want more inspiration for Columns B and C, check out what they've said about each other on social media over the course of their relationship.
Start with narrative, end with a well-crafted toast.
Hit the ground running: introduce yourself in narrative form to get your narrative arc going immediately!
Finish strong: know precisely how you will toast to end the speech.
By the time you finish, all eyes should be on them! Remember the goal is to shine the spotlight on the happy couple.
Be sincere and sweet. You got this!