1. Don't get hammered before taking the mic.
a. Seems obvious. It's not. No matter how fantastic a speaker you are, slurring your words will impress no one. Neither will rambling and repeating the same story--and you won't realize it's happening if you've downed a bottle of wine.
2. Don't make it about you
a. If the crowd is loving you, it can be difficult to remember that this is not your national debut on Last Comic Standing, but you're speaking for your friend. He or she chose you--out of every other person at the wedding--to summarize why this marriage is happening and what makes it so great. Give your unique perspective of why that's the case--and then gracefully make your exit to the bar.
3. Don't forget to make sense
a. Before the big day, pinpoint three stories (max) that you want to tell and at least one good thing about the bride and groom as individuals, as well as one of them as a couple. If you practice--and you should--you'll start to get used to the speech flowing by these parts. This way, when your nerves are popping and the pressure is on, you can revert back to these points in your head to stay on track.
4. Don't get sidetracked
a. Ahh, memories. Sometimes, when we're recalling them, they lead us to other memories. Which can lead to that story about that one time in college when the groom was drunk and met that girl...wait, what was I saying? Stick to the plan. The bride will thank you for it. (And so will the groom).
What's the worst mistake you've seen in during a toast? Have you ever witnessed a true disaster of a speech?
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