Your Wedding Toast Makes Me Uncomfortable

You know you have thought it.  At least once.  Sitting at a table for ten, in formal clothes, drinking a watery Tom Collins, hoping for a good meal (or at least a plentiful bread basket) and it starts.

Here's to... a good wedding toast

The wedding toast.

Weepy toasts.  Silly toasts.  Supposed-to-be-deep-but-really-aren’t toasts.   Drunk toasts.  Inappropriate toasts.  Twenty-minutes-too-long toasts.  Evasive toasts.  Pointless toasts.  Jealous toasts.  Unprepared toasts. Rhyming toasts.  Bragging toasts. Sorority toasts.  I-forgot-where-I-was-in-the-three-page toast toasts.

At one point you inwardly cringe, squirm and mutter, “this toast makes me uncomfortable.”   (and I will remember in detail to tell my friends later)

I have always loved toasts, though, because I love people watching.  And nothing is more raw than making someone who is not used to public speaking address a crowd during an emotional occasion.  It could be used as some kind of CIA torture.  (It is the number one fear people have) But don’t get me wrong.  Not all toasts are bad.  I have been known to get a little weepy at toasts, (I also get weepy at babies and Extreme Home Makeover)  because the sentiment was sweet and you could tell there was thought and true emotion behind it.

But other toasts?  Just train wrecks of unprepared content, bad jokes and hidden agendas.

Like one wedding where a toast started, ten minutes into it I went to the ladies room, five minutes later I came back and it was still going on.  For a grand total of 23 minutes.  At another wedding, the groom hijacked the toasting mic, and then spoke for close to a half hour about a crazy road trip he and a friend took once.  Never mentioned the bride.  Another favorite toast I witnessed, was an angry bridesmaid who took veiled shots at the bride’s ex-boyfriend.  Who was in attendance. At my table.

It’s been easy for me to be a toast critic because, well, I’ve never had to give a toast at a wedding. Been a bridesmaid many times, but have never given THE toast.

But that has all changed.

Sisters McDonald

The last of four McDonald sisters is finally getting married.  My little sister Kathleen has excitedly chosen all of her (old) sisters to stand up for her.  (You should have seen us figure out what dress and shoes to wear.  A blog in itself)   And I was honored when she asked me to give the toast.  Between the four of us, it’s all kind of worked out, toast wise.  When Patrice got married, Cara gave a toast.  When I got married, both Patrice and Cara gave toasts.  When Cara got married, Kathleen gave a toast.  Now, I’m on deck. And coming from a family of writers, occasional over-reactors and opinion-givers, I figure I’d get some good pointers.  But the McDonald clan has been strangely advice-free on the toast.

Except for the Father of the Bride, aka “The Checkbook”( as he refers to himself at this point in the wedding process).  “Keep it to the point,” he reminded me. He is a career PR guy, after all.

Bottom line: It’s not about me.  It’s about the bride and groom. And the more I remember that, the better the toast will turn out.

But secretly I am petrified that I will become a toast “don’t”.  And someone will call their friend that night and say, “You’ll never guess WHAT happened!  This old bridesmaid got all weepy and forgot what she was saying!  And she spoke for forty minutes!”

Me and the bride

So… bonus question:  What was the worst wedding toast you ever experienced?

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14 thoughts on “Your Wedding Toast Makes Me Uncomfortable

  1. I’ve heard the “here’s what happened when we went on the road trip to The Bahamas story/toast/confession-if-statue-of-limitations-hand’t-run-out ” toast and tried to enter the Witness Protection Program drive-thru service. I was 23 and my brother was 34 when he got married. I opened by pointing out that just about every adult in the room had been a babysitter for me at some point. Not sure that went over very well.

  2. Hi Christy!
    Well, I’m sure there are worse toasts but I just have 2 strange things. One, my husband’s family is European, from the Netherlands, and they believe in having anyone make random toasts…so I sat in horro as one by one several relatives got up, walked to the head table and tool up 10 minutes each talking about my husband. Finally my Maid of Honor got up to retell an anecdote about me and then said “Now let’s eat, FINALLY.” But topping that off was when our best man, my husband’s older brother, told the 280 people at our reception about the time my husband, then just 4, walked in his sleep and pee’d on the family’s first new colored TV set. Niiiiice. I sat & cringed….and drank a LOT of champagne! I enjoy your blogs! Check out mine sometime at DetroitDixiechick.com.
    Janice Fritz-Ryken

    • The horror of “open toast mic”! It never ends well. But thanks for confirming that all 4year old boys have peed on the floor in their sleep. I feel better about my son now. Thanks for reading, Janice! And I’ll check your blog out too.

  3. I totally agree. They can be uncomfortable. As a matter of fact, I begin to fidget right away when the champagne is being poured hoping it won’t be too uncomfortable. I can’t remember the details but there was one with a drunk fraternity friend who kept bringing up ex-girlfriends and truly embarrassing moments in their lives and the groom worked for a prominent judge…who was there. So awkward for anyone who knew the groom well. So awkward for those who knew the bride well. So awkward for the best man the rest of the night. Thank God Sparty showed up to lighten the mood.
    My brother-in-laws did our toasts and maybe a little long (being that there was two), they were funny, heart-felt and addressed us both in a warm and light-hearted way. I loved them. I still go back to listen to them. They were about 5 minutes a piece. Not too bad. http://www.amberhousey.blogspot.com

    • Love the story, Amber! Thank goodness for Sparty- he’s always a good distraction! 5 minutes sounds perfect. (btw readers, look for Amber’s new children’s book coming soon… And more Flipside Stories )

  4. Aww, I’ve seen some horrible ones, too. I won’t go into much detail to protect myself, but any speech that mentions an ex-girlfriends or are around 30 seconds are never any good.

    Being a public speaker, I’m sure you will have a fabulous speech for your sister! Ones that are heartfelt and throw in some occasional humor are my favorites 🙂

    Hope you don’t mind…I’m going to share this over at Moms Like Me – Detroit. I think the ladies (and gents) will get a kick out of this!

  5. My niece is getting married this weekend in Asheville, NC, so maybe I’ll have some good fodder for you when I return.
    I was asked to give a toast once at my best friend’s wedding. Its the same toast I always use. Short and to the point and I learned it from a Scottish Swarthy Sea Captain in the Caribbean…I swear on my life. 🙂

    Here’s to the 4 great things in life:

    Lying, Cheating, Stealing and Drinking!!!!

    If you lie, lie to save a friend.
    If you cheat, cheat death.
    If you steal, steal the heart of your true love and
    if you drink, drink to the return of friends.
    Cheers.

  6. A friend had been to the rehearsal dinner the night before a wedding and had heard the best man “roast” the groom. He told me – when he starts the toast today, trust me… meet me in the lobby. We’ll get a drink and you’ll miss the worst part of the wedding. Up stands the best man, out we go. No line at the bathroom, no line at the bar and we get a chance to catch up with no one else bugging us. Perfect reconaissance. Perfect execution.

  7. Keep it short! Went to a wedding earlier this month and I swear that the maid of honor went on for 30 minutes about how the bride and her became friends over a shared ex. Very awkward to witness.

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