I don’t care how great a public speaker you are, it’s important to be prepared. You don’t want to fall flat on your face here. Your goal is to get your speech finished before you get to the wedding weekend. That’s right, do it before you get on the airplane. Giving a toast is a responsibility you accepted when you accepted the honor of being best man or best woman. It is your job when your child is being married. So, do your homework, write something that reflects your dear one’s wonderful characteristics. (And right now, if you’re worrying about memorizing, don’t. Work from notes. That way you can concentrate on what you mean and not just on what you want to say. Uh, Uh, Uh, doesn’t make you look smooth.)
- Figure out the arc of the speech: thank you, how great your friend is, how perfect a couple they are, why marriage matters, and a toast to happy ever after.
- Search for that story that you can tell, and tell in a pretty short amount of time, that will really represent how wonderful your friend is. What are the most important points?
- Talk about what you’ve noticed in your friend’s partner that makes this a wonderful match.
- Reflect on what you think marriage will bring to your friend, to this couple. Say how happy you are for them.
- What do you want them to have in their life together? It doesn’t need to be the same old thing… and the same old thing is also lovely!
- Write them down in talking points. If you need some sentences, that’s ok. But get (at least!) the outline on paper.
- Use quotes that apply, but don’t use quotes just to use them. Use them if they’re right and they’re important to you.
- Be as authentic as you can possibly be. Sound like yourself. Let your love shine through.
Tip: This is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on what your friendship means and how happy you are that your good friend has found a life partner. You have the opportunity to celebrate that friend in front of a whole crowd. And then you get to wish the couple well. You could ensure a seat at their thanksgiving table for the rest of your life if you get this right!