PLANNING: A Father of the Bride Shares His Tips on Wedding Day Toasts

Nothing says “gracious” more than hearing the host of the wedding stand up and make an incredible toast to the entire room. Sure, it’s wonderful to eat delicious food and dance the night away to a fabulous band. But, seriously folks, isn’t it the emotion and the inclusion that keeps the memory of the day fresh in our minds? How you were welcomed, how you were treated and how important you felt in a room of many. That’s what these special milestone celebrations are all about.

To us wedding planners, who have seen hundreds of weddings over the years, nothing reminds us of the REASON for the party more than the heartfelt, insightful, and hopefully HUMOROUS words offered by the father of the bride. Having been blown away recently by a client’s toast, we asked him if we could pick his brain on how he developed his amazing “father of the bride” speech and if he would allow us to share his endearing toast on our blog. It was no surprise to us when he agreed and was more than happy to help. Take a look at his authentic words of wisdom as well as his incredible speech. We hope it inspires you as much as it did us…

{Photo courtesy of Cliff Mautner}

Tulin Wedding 2007 038-1

The SECRET to making a thoughtful wedding day toast starts with a simple, straight-forward approach that goes a little something like this:

  1. Welcome everyone;
  2. Thank your out-of-town guests for traveling from afar;
  3. Thank your daughter’s new in-laws;
  4. Thank your spouse profusely;
  5. Offer a general message to all the guests about the occasion;
  6. Offer a message to your new son-in-law;
  7. Offer a message to your daughter; and then end with glass raised and
  8. Make a toast to the bride and groom.

However, here are a few TOASTING RULES I learned from other fathers of the bride who shared their stories with me:

  • Never say anything even remotely disparaging about the wedding, the wedding guests or the bride and groom.  Do NOT say anything negative, even in jest, such as “I hope your marriage lasts” or “things can get tough at times” or “I wasn’t sure we were gonna make it here tonight” or anything like it. Keep it positive, keep it supportive.
  • Absolutely minimize the use of the word AND as it diminishes the importance of what comes after (except when referring to the bride “and” groom).  Make it two sentences, each standing on its own.
  • Refer to the bridal couple as “Bride and Groom” or “Groom and Bride”; but be consistent and do not switch.
  • In my speech (shared below), you will see the places where I wrote PAUSE.  Those pauses were for emphasis and make people really listen to what’s coming next as in “Sharon, PAUSE, you look so beautiful tonight…”
  • Put the microphone close to your mouth.
  • Try NOT to use a written speech, or if you do need one, hold it only for reminders. Don’t read from it.
  • Practice, practice, practice.

Now, for the WEDDING SPEECH. I am so very honored to share it with you, and with any other father of the bride who can be inspired by it for their own upcoming celebration. Every time I read it, I still weep with joy!  What a special night.  Here goes:

Nancy and I welcome all of you and thank you for being here tonight to help us celebrate Sharon and David’s wedding.  We are truly honored to share such a wonderful occasion with our family and friends.  I am especially proud to say that many of you have been our friends for 20 years, some as many as 30 years, and a few have been my friend for 50 years.

We are especially grateful to those of you who have traveled a little farther than the rest of us, including those from as far south as Florida, as far west as California and as far East as England.

To Jessica and Jon (pause), we couldn’t have asked for better machatunim to share the future with.  We look forward to celebrating simchas, holidays, good food, and good wine for many years to come…..and not only with Sharon and David.

Nancy, there is a list (pause), yes an actual list (pause), that is very long, containing the names of people who have stood in this exact position (pause), at this exact moment in their lives (pause), and with sheer amazement and pride, announced how absolutely incredible someone ELSE has been for pulling together the million details that go into creating a fabulous memory for everyone here tonight.  You may now, officially, add my name to that list.  I am truly grateful for everyday that we have each other.  I thank you and I love you.

And to those of you who root for one or more of the following 7 sports teams, (slowly) the Giants, the Redskins, the Devils, the Rangers, the Capitals, the Mets, or the Nationals, and you know exactly who you are; we who live here welcome you to Philadelphia and ask that we put our rivalry on hold ….for tonight.

Speaking of 7, many of you may not know that the number 7 has tremendous significance in Jewish history and culture; the most obvious being that the world was created in 7 days…6 days of work plus Shabbat.  But did you know that the Torah begins with a verse containing 7 words?  Or that there are 7 Jewish holidays, and that Rosh Hashanah occurs in the 7th month?  Or that there are 7 weeks between Passover, the Exodus from Egypt and Shavout, when Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mt Sinai. You saw Sharon circle David 7 times during the ceremony, and you heard Sheva Bracha, 7 blessings, recited.  There are 7 continents, 7 seas and the list goes on.

So let’s bring it a little closer to home:

  • I’ll bet you didn’t realize that Sharon and David met 7 years after they became Bar and Bat Mitzvah.
  • And, that this weekend marks exactly 7 years since the first time Nancy and I met David when he and Sharon were studying abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • And, to the entire Rubenstein family, David is about 7 feet tall and we are extremely happy to finally have tall genes in the family
  • And Sharon (pause), you are so beautiful and radiant tonight that Mom and I are in 7th HEAVEN 

David, when I felt the need to confirm, what Nancy and I knew for a long time, that the two of you would make fabulous soul mates and partners, I asked Sharon 7 questions…

  1. Does he treat you as an equal? (pause)
  2. Do you look forward to going home at night just so you can be with him? (pause)
  3. Does he ask for your opinion and does he listen to the answer? (pause)
  4. Is he proud of you? (pause)
  5. Does he respect what’s important to you? (pause)
  6. Does he make you laugh? (pause)
  7. Does he tell you that he loves you? (pause)

Unequivocally, and without hesitation, Sharon gave me 7 Yesses.  David (pause) you are the luckiest person in the room tonight because you are now entrusted with the lion’s share, of the heart, of our favorite daughter in the whole wide world.  Nancy and I are so happy that she chose YOU.  Though your de-facto initiation occurred many years ago, we are thrilled to officially, publicly, and with a tremendous amount of love, welcome you to our family,

(SLOWLY) Sharon, from the first moment we laid eyes on you, Mom and I have been so proud of you.  From You Are My Sunshine, to Har Zion pre school, to the pink corvette, to Do ya, do ya, do ya do yo wanna dance, to the boys baseball team, to Camp PawPaw, Harvard, New York City, the Boston Marathon, and now Penn Health, you’ve had a truly remarkable run that we are absolutely sure will continue with your latest terrific decision (pause) sharing your life with David.

So Sharon and David, here are the last 7 for the evening (pause)…Mom and I hope you will

  1. Stay healthy;
  2. Be involved in your community;
  3. Look South, not North, to see how fortunate your lives are;
  4. Stay close and connected with your family;
  5. Trust your gut – you’ve both experienced plenty of Life’s lessons;
  6. Always, always have each other’s back;
  7. and give each other unconditional love. (pause) ALWAYS.

(PUT DOWN NOTES, PICK UP GLASS)

Please join Nancy and me in a toast to Sharon and David….

You are both so incredibly fortunate to have found each other.  May your lives together always be blessed with happiness, good health and success.  And may you always know how much you are loved.

L’Chaim

 

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