Studies have shown a majority of people would rather have a root canal than speak in public. Getting up in front of a room full of friends, family and total strangers can reduce even the strongest of men to a quivering and feckless dolt. The same flatulent windbags, who can natter on endlessly about sports or alleged sexual conquests, all of a sudden turn into public flatulent windbags.
At one point in your life, you may be called upon to deliver a wedding toast. This is a skill too few men possess, yet, is one every man should have in their arsenal. Fear not. There is no reason any man shouldn't be able to deliver moving, intelligent, heartfelt wedding toasts in exchange for nice groomsmen gifts. Follow my advice, and in a short while, you'll be toasting and roasting with the best of them.
GOOD IDEA: Preparation
Pre-wedding preparation is a good idea - no, it's a must! Do not jot down some random notes while taking a dump the morning of the wedding! Give yourself a few days and organize your thoughts. Writing them down is always recommended. You may even want to practice. I realize standing in front of a mirror holding a wineglass may make you feel like a schmuck, but remember you were selected to give the toast. It is an honor! Remember, you're getting decent groomsmen gifts out of this deal, so don't screw up.
CRAPPY IDEA: Winging It
"Hell, I'll just wing it." There is nothing quite as painful to watch as the "off-the-cuff guy" yammering on in a semi-coherent manner about some random adventure he and the groom took when the entire fraternity ventured off to the Bambi Club in Tijuana. Review above: Preparation.
MOVING IDEA: When Boy Meets Girl
Tell the guests the story behind how the Bride and Groom met. Every couple has an amusing story of their early courtship, and this is the perfect opportunity to share it. You're guaranteed to get plenty of "aahhs" from the group as well as a hug from the bride and a pat on the back from the groom.
ADDED BONUS: If you're a single guy delivering the toast, the likelihood of shagging one or more of the bridesmaids after the wedding goes up exponentially with the increased sensitivity of the toast. If your groomsmen gifts were great, consider this a bonus gift of sorts.
SORDID IDEA: The Groom's "Little Black Book" Stories
Don't tell the assembled how the Groom nailed three woman on that Spring Break trip to Cancun. Obvious as this may seem, I've been at several ceremonies where the wedding toasts included references to the Groom's sexual escapades. This kind of information is not for public consumption. That is what the bachelor party is for. Groomsmen gifts are sort of like a bribe to keep quiet.
While we're on the topic of "sordid," wedding toasts should be kept as "PG" as possible. Again, I have been at weddings where vulgarities, slang, and expletives were liberally sprinkled throughout the toast. Keep in mind, this is a wedding not "Def Comedy Jam." Grandpa and Grandpa are present. Read this word twice - D-I-S-C-R-E-T-I-O-N. Now exercise some.
DRY IDEA: No Tequila Shots Before You Begin
Lay off the booze until after the toast. What worked for Dean Martin will only make you a babbling idiot.
WELCOME IDEA: Mr. & Mrs.
Always remember to speak of the Bride. Two people are getting married. If you are a family member, welcome her into the family. If you're a friend of the groom, talk about how she's made him a better person, or how they've grown together. It may seem sappy, but after all, this is a wedding. Sappy is what the crowd is looking for.
SHORT IDEA: Get To The Point
Don't ramble on. A few well-chosen words will suffice. 'Nuff said.
FUNNY IDEA: "Did I Ever Tell You The One About..."
It's not open mike night at the Laugh Factory, and, more importantly, you're probably not as funny as you think you are. Humor is always appreciated in wedding toasts, when it's done in good taste. Cracks about the "end of your life," or "the old ball and chain," are about as fresh as a Dudley Moore flick. Jokes are not always appropriate.
With a little practice and some simple common sense, your wedding toast can be one of the wedding highlights. Remember a lot of weddings today are video taped, and embarrassing wedding toasts will come back to haunt you for years to come - and aren't your groomsmen gifts worth more than that?