the best man said WHAT???

Monday, March 9th, 2009 | etiquette, media, Q&A



The long road from happy engagement to wedded bliss is paved with potential etiquette faux pas. Wedding planner Lisa Hanslip is here to help you resist your inner Bridezilla along the way.

Q: I’m starting to get a bit nervous about the toasts. We were at a wedding last weekend and the best man was a bit drunk. Not only did he talk too long, but he spent most of the time discussing the groom’s ex-girlfriends. Is there any way to avoid this at our wedding?

A: Absolutely. Feel free to give your family and bridal party some guidelines. Those that plan to give toasts should prepare in advance (written out completely or at least in the form of notes). You don’t want the most memorable thing at your wedding to be how long your uncle droned on about what a talented two-year-old you were, or that the best man rambled endlessly about the groom’s high school high jinks.

There are a few etiquette points to be aware of:

• If seated, stand when offering a toast.
• Keep it simple, and keep it personal.
• To “finish” a toast, raise your glass and say the couple’s names (“To Sally & Ben”), then take a sip. Everyone else will follow your lead.
• When you are the one being toasted, stay seated, and don’t raise your glass.

It is absolutely appropriate to begin by saying you are honoured to share the wedding day with the couple. A good starting point is talking casually about your relationship with the couple and relating one or two quick anecdotes. A nice way to close is by pointing out what’s special about their relationship and why you think they’re perfect for each other.

Dwelling on potentially touchy subjects, like a difference in religion or race, or an unhappy ex-spouse is decidedly NOT appropriate. Don’t apologize for being a bad speaker, or announce you don’t really want to speak. And most definitely don’t talk too much about the bride or groom’s past conquests or be cryptic by telling stories that only the bride & groom will understand (common fodder for the “tipsy toast”).

The most important thing to remember for anyone giving a toast at a wedding is that brevity is the soul of wit. Even if you have a story to tell, don’t use the long version – a wedding toast should never be more than 3-5 minutes long. Very often the errant toast is a result of too many nerves and too little preparation (that sixth glass of champagne probably won’t help either!). So with some helpful hints – and a big deep breath – your fiancé’s best man can deliver a memorable and meaningful toast – and you can relax and enjoy it….Cheers!

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