a guide to sinichahs
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By JointMedia News Service
ilarious, boring, cringe-worthy —
you've heard them all. And now
_ it's your turn to take the stage,
get up in front of hundreds of your clos-
est friends and family (or strangers), and
deliver a wedding toast. Whether you're in
the wedding party, a parent of the bride
or groom, or even a guest, there are some
simple rules to follow to ensure your words
are received well by the audience.
JNS spoke with Toastmasters
International President Michael Notaro
and Executive Director Daniel Rex to deter-
mine how to craft a great toast.
Save yourself the trouble of begging to
fast-forward past "that part" in the wed-
ding video for years to come and follow
some of the suggestions below.
"Be concise. It's not about you, or a grand
performance, it's about the couple," Rex
suggests. Both Notaro and Rex advise one
or two minutes for the average toast and
three or four minutes if you are the primary
"A lot of times people think they can wing
wedding toasts, but that's not a good idea.
Rehearse it. Plan ahead; think about what
you're going to say. Come up with a good
solid humorous anecdote that's about the
couple; not too personal, not something
that crosses any boundaries with your
group," Rex says.
3. If you're not naturally funny, don't try
to be. Or get help.
"If you're not naturally funny, don't try and
force yourself into something you're not.
It's not a comedy show; the objective is to
give honor to the bride and to the groom.
I favor being sincere and telling a sincere
story concerning the bride and the groom,
something that brings out
something about their
character that is posi-
tive and uplifting to the
audience, that shows why
these people would be
successful or happy in the
relationship," Notaro says.
Yet, if you'd like to go
for it, Notaro suggests
self-deprecating humor as
"always the safe place to be."
If you're set on delivering a comedic
toast, Rex suggests to rehearse it in front
of a smaller audience first. "If you know
you have a challenge being funny, go find
someone who's funny and have them help
you," Rex advises.
4.Waft to drink (excessively) until after
"Do not get drunk; I've seen many people
give wedding toasts who've had too much
to drink and embarrass themselves and
everybody around them, certainly the bride
and the groom," Notaro says.
5.Don't be afraid to weave in the cultural
aspects — just know your audience.
"Attributes to any type of cultural and reli-
gious wedding that are personal and dear
to the couple and the family ... can be
part of the toast. Whether it's terminology,
or a cultural aspect of how they will live as
a couple. At many weddings, though, there
is a wide variety of attendees, so you might
need to explain a bit, and that acknowl-
edges the diversity that's there," Rex says.
6.A general process to follow from
Notaro and Rex.
Notaro: "I write the person's name out. I
like to start with adjectives that describe
the person's character: loving, considerate,
maybe impetuous, and think about the
things in her life that are important to her.
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Delivering a great toast can be intimidating.
Toastmasters International's president and
executive director offer their advice on how
to craft the perfect one.
I start to write some of those things down,
and then I think about those adjectives
and descriptors in terms of the new life
she's going to have with her husband. Then
I weave those into a brief toast. It's a little
bit of a gestalt creative process. I write
down the ideas, then I sleep on it.
"You've got those salient points that
make the person unique, and then other
people at the wedding reception will say,
Rex: "Start with a broad outline of the
story you want to tell. A welcome and
acknowledgement of the people who are
there and are significant in the life of
the couple (parents, etc.). Work into why
it's a special event or how you first got
acquainted with them as a couple; that's
where the humor can come in — great
wishes for future life, family.
"Take it from a broad outline, and make
it more specific. You don't want to take it
to a place where it's word for word. Don't
read it or speak it, you'll lack sincerity with
According to Rex, the horrible toasts are
those "where the toasters are a little tipsy,
or where the jokes are inside jokes only
known to a handful of people there:'
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