If you’re concerned with the performance part of your toast, keep these tips in mind to help you shine in the spotlight:
1. Write out what you plan to say in phrases, not word-for-word. Having blocks of text in front of you gets you to speak more naturally than if you were to read stiffly from complete sentences on a page.
2. Keep it short. No one likes to listen to anyone drone on and on and on. Just a minute (perhaps a few seconds more), is all you need to deliver the perfect toast. Anything longer, and everyone thinks, “She likes to hear herself talk.”
3. Read your toast out loud to yourself, as well as a friend, to pluck out any awkward spots or tongue twisters.
4. Speak a little more slowly than you normally would. When people get nervous, they tend to talk super fast, which is when flubs and stammers happen.
5. Breathe! As you practice your toast, mark in red pen places where it’s best to take a "breath break" so that your reading comes out more naturally, instead of you gasping for air at the end of a long sentence.
6. Don’t lock your knees. When you’re standing to deliver your toast, keep your knees loose and your body relaxed to stand nice and tall.
7. Stay sober. Liquid courage isn’t going to result in a great toast, but rather spins off into slurred tangents, and the bride will never forgive you for being bombed during your big moment in her honor.
8. Make eye contact. When you’re talking about the bride and groom, look them in the eyes instead of staring down at your notes or having your eyes dart across the room. If looking at them directly makes you nervous, direct your gaze over the guests' heads and naturally look from side to side in sweeping glances, not locking eyes with anyone in particular.
9. Smile, even if you’re nervous. If you’re talking about something amusing in your toast, be sure your facial expressions match the levity of your story! Don’t just stiffly deliver your toast as if you're trying to get through it.
10. If you get emotional, it’s okay — let a few tears loose, don’t hold back. That’s simply a sign of how much you love the bride and how happy you are. Don’t feel like you have to fight it back.