Advice on giving a good (well, great) best man toast?

So my best friend from college is getting “married” (they’re already married with an adorable kid, three years now). This ceremony is for the family and friends.

I’m best man, returning the favor from my wedding seven years ago. I live in Boston; they’re in LA. We don’t see each other often but whenever I visit I hang out with them. His wife is French Canadian and tres cool… even nursed me to health when I visited and got food poisoning!

We’re a small grooms party - one is his cousin, one is another good buddy of ours from college. As it’s not going to be a super-formal deal, we thought of doing a toast together. Cousin could talk about Bill as a kid, I could talk about Bill in college, and our buddy could talk about Bill as a husband and dad (as he lives in LA as well).

What are your Dope suggestions about delivering a toast that is memorable, brief, and fun? (I’ve already decided to drop all of the sophomoric “hey, when we were in college we did X” stuff.) I’m also stretching to include his wife in the toast. Please help!

The old adage about giving a good toast is:

“Be sincere, be brief, be seated.” Here’s some other advice that I’ve been given (and have given to others in return):

Unless you’re very clever, avoid jokes.

Thank the bride and groom for letting you be a part of their day.

Ask the crowd to join you in wishing the couple all the best.

Shut up and sit down. No one came to hear you give a toast.

I am not a best man. But I was called upon to give a semi-impromtu (a couple hours warning) Maid of Honor toast when the MOH kind of freaked out about it. I didn’t know the groom all that well but I did want to include him.

I told a story – kind of a funny story but I did embellish it for dramatic effect – about one of the first times I met the groom. The thrust of my toast was that the bride works in highly specialized field that seems mysterious to outsiders (she teaches horseback riding and owns a horse farm), and I thought it was cool that the groom really wanted to understand her life and be a part of it, even though it was so far outside his life experience. (he is a computer programmer and rather… indoorsey). And that a great marriage is made of two people who are always trying to understand each other and bridge the gaps between them.

I got a good laugh and a few “awwwws” so I consider it a success.

I think funny anecdote+deeper meaning is a good formula.

The funniest toast (or non-toast) I’ve ever seen was given by my brother at the marriage of my mother and my step father. There wasn’t a “best man” or matron of honor, as such, just all us kids from both of their previous marriages. In lieu of a best man toast, we were all jumping up one at a time and toasting the bride and groom. It was very lighthearted and fun. About six toasts in, my brother jumped up, held up his glass, and gave this one (all names are fake):

“I had been planning a great speech commemorating the happy couple, I even discussed it with Phil on the drive over. Imagine my surprise when Phil got up first and gave the exact speech I had been planning. So I quickly composed in my head a fun and interesting rehash of how they met… and then, of course, Matt just gave that toast before I had the chance, so much for that idea. My next plan was a speech welcoming my new step siblings and looking forward to our life together. Gee, thanks John, for beating me to it!”

At this point he paused awkwardly, gave all of us a sweeping glare of pure hatred, and abruptly sat back down. The entire room fell apart laughing. Years later, I still chuckle thinking about it.

Not sure that helps, but it’s a good story.

This may sound obvious, but please do it in a language spoken by the fellow celebrants. My husband’s uncle gave an extensive Gallic wedding blessing/speech at my reception…in ancient Gallic. My husband was entirely delighted. But our guests were of course bewildered, understood none of it, and I can still remember my new uncle-in-law spraying spit forcefully while trying to pronounce the difficult words in the language he was reading. Yay. :slight_smile:

John D. MacDonald quoted (I’m paraphrasing from memory here) “The old Spanish toast - love, health, money — and time enough to enjoy them.” That covers a lot of territory and it’s quick and easy.

Good luck.