There are certain moments that you want to capture on video the words that reflect deep
sentiments of emotion ... such as your wedding toasts at the reception. This can be one of the most touching parts
of a wedding event, or a public embarrassment. You may be the best man, or father of the bride, best friend, or even
the bride or groom offering thanks to your guests. So, make it memorable -- a highlight of your video memories
with some easy preparation.
Most aspects of a wedding have been well prepared and organized in advance ... for months or years. No
reason why the toasts can't be considered well prior to the day of the reception. Here are few suggestions, based on our view
of many receptions:
1) Plan ahead -- most everything below follows from this step. Write it down, practice
it, but keep it fresh as you look for some local angle, or last minute references from the ceremony, or comments from guests
or the wedding couple, or the beauty of the room and people. Make eye contact with the audience, and the bride
and groom, not your notes... and project. Breath and take your time. Sincerity achieves more than wit.
2) Keep it short. This might mean 15 seconds, which is OK -- or a few minutes. But
that long long story about "how our buddies went deer hunting, and fell in the creek, and got home frozen back in high
school," might be compressed to a headline.
3) Be yourself. If you're a comic, you'll know where to source your material. If you're
a relative -- call upon your relationship memories. If you represent an important personality, focus
on what that meant in the life of the couple, and will mean in their future. Above all, show your support
to their celebration and union of marriage.
4) Know the limits .... if you are not aware, ask the bride and groom what might be inappropriate
(such as events at a bachelor party, or reference to former sweet-hearts). Go the other way, and recount your memory
or your role in how the couple met. Briefly, describe the 'day in the life' as if you were there again. Recount the moment.
5) Stuck for an intro or conclusion? There is always Diane Warner's "Complete Book of Wedding
Toasts," from Career Press, divided by ethnic groups and holidays, etc. You can pick up some nice rhyme from
some of the speaker's books or web sites, like the Wedding Circle. But a simple "Congratulations, peace and
love," will do.
6) Tech stuff: in advance, be sure the reception hall has a PA microphone that works, so all can
hear. Have it positioned on a pedestal at the side of the head table, or at a podium. Don't pass it around, or
expect toasts orginate in the audience un-mic'd. The videographer may give you a second wireless mic to get
crystal clear sound on the recording. (Usually taped to the PA mic, or attached to the pedstal.) They may also
add some lighting -- this helps the audience see the speaker, and helps the recording. Be sure to tip off the videographer
and DJ to the time of the toasts.
If you play a 'Reflections' or 'Love Story' video as part of the program preceding or following the toasts, be sure someone
has previewed it, and has arranged for adequate projection equipment, well in advance. Someone must be assigned to the
job of playing the presentation, turning down lights, etc. Your videographer may have a role in this preparation ...
for both the content and the projection / equipment. Ask.