Champagne glasses are clinking and everyone's looking at you to deliver a memorable speech. You'll be cool, calm, and collected if you remember these top toasting tips.
Step 1: Prepare early Prepare your speech at least three weeks in advance. Prepare several drafts and have a trusted friend edit it for you.
Step 2: Know what to say Know exactly what to say. Thank the bride and groom for asking you to take part in their special day -- include a favorite memory, a joke, or personal story; incorporate a famous quote or give words of advice for their future as a couple. Finish with your own hearty well wishes.
TIP: Use a quote only if it resonates and you can deliver it honestly.
Step 3: Find your voice Find your voice, whether it's sentimental and heartfelt or witty and slightly sardonic. You need to feel comfortable so be true to yourself.
TIP: Keep it classy and avoid tasteless or blue humor.
Step 4: Make it brief Make it brief. Anywhere from a few lines to two minutes is acceptable.
Step 5: Practice Practice reading your speech out loud in front of family and friends. Read it in front of the bridesmaids at least once before the wedding to get their feedback.
Step 6: Bring cue cards Write it out on note cards and bring them with you to the microphone or podium. Take deep breaths and relax.
TIP: Have up to one glass of wine or champagne and no more. Drunken rambling won't impress anyone.
Step 7: Know your cue Know your cue. You will be expected to give your toast when all the guests are seated and have been given a glass of champagne or between courses at the reception. The best man is the toastmaster and usually goes first. If he bombs, you may be in trouble, but hopefully you can build on his momentum.
Step 8: Finish Finish by raising the glass and saying "To the bride and groom," using their names. Then drink up!
FACT: The probability that men will marry by age 40 is 81 percent -- for women, it is 86 percent.