As a wedding planner, I hear wedding speeches and toasts week after week. The best ones? Former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had 3 B’s of speech-giving, and they should definitely be the guide for wedding toasts:
You care about the couple, and you want to let them know. You are so happy they found each other. You wish them a wonderful future together. It is heartwarming to all to feel the love in the words of the toast.
A short and cute story is fine. Welcoming someone- or the whole new family-into yours is wonderful.
Raise a glass, toast to the Couple, and that’s it!
It is not fun to have food in front of you that you can’t eat, not appealing to have a band ready to play when you are ready to party and someone is speaking endlessly, and not pleasant to hear embarrassing stories about the Bride and Groom that should be left unmentioned. The kitchen is planning on serving a (hot) meal at a certain time, and if the toasts go too long, the dinner service will suffer. If you ARE going to have long speeches, it is imperative that you let your wedding planner and the venue know so that the food can be ready when you are.
And one other note:
Write your toast on paper, and refer to it. It is difficult for most people to get up in front of a crowd, and this makes it easier to stay on the three B’s! AND… know the first and last line of your toast as if it were your JOB. It makes all the difference!