Oh man. I have seen both ends of this spectrum. Let me start out by saying, try not to get drunk before the toasts. I know you are not used to public speaking, but what you think is liquid courage, is fuel for public embarrassment. Now that was rule number one. Lets take a look at some other things that can make for a great toast.
1) The key to good communication is brevity.
This is true in life, and even more true with toasts. Keep details to a minimum. If you have a funny or touching story about the bride or groom, we love hearing it. Even though I am not a part of the family at weddings. I still love hearing these stories. We do not need to know what you were wearing that day, or what the weather was like. The story is much more funny when you focus on the comedy or the touching part of the story. Also it is hard to keep peoples attention. So if the speech is looking kind of long, go over it multiple times and see what you can maybe take out.
2) If you are going to write it down, use paper, not your phone.
I am a huge fan of people writing their toasts out, shows that you care, you put some thought into it, and it helps you stay on track. If you do, use paper. You don’t want to look like you are snapchatting the entire time you are giving a toast. Whenever I see someone reading a toast off their phone I think “Oh they wrote this while they were sitting at the table” or “They wrote this on the way here”. They didn’t put any thought into it. Also this is a great way to end up dropping your phone.
3) Remember family is there, and a brand new married couple.
You probably have some hilarious stories about the bride and groom. Stories that their family does not need to hear. Plus their new spouse does not want to hear about how many frogs they had to kiss before they found their prince. I have actually heard a best man say “Johnny had a lot of girls he thought were the one, before he found Christy”. Yuck. What a horrible thing for the bride to hear. Keep it positive, fun, and heartwarming.
4) Know your strengths and weaknesses.
Very simple. If you are not funny, don’t try to be funny. It is not required that a toast be funny. If you are not a funny person, your toast will have much more impact if you stay true to yourself. If you are a clown and everyone knows you as one, then yes a funny toast is probably going to come off better. If you are the funny clown friend though? See #3 above.
5) Ask the DJ where you should stand
This is a technical thing. To avoid horrible loud horrible feedback. Just quickly ask the DJ where you should stand. He will be more than happy to tell you. It protects the ears of the guests, and the DJs speakers.
6) Hold the mic close to your mouth
This is another technical thing that can make or break a toast. If no one can hear you, it doesn’t matter what you prepared. The DJ can also only turn the mic up so loud until it feeds back. So hold it near your mouth and it will sound so much better. Ask the DJ if he has a mic stand if you have something written down that you need to hold instead of the microphone.
7) Speak from your diaphragm
You don’t need to yell, but you should project. You have possibly never given a speech in front of people before. The best thing to do is speak from your diaphragm. This will help your toast have a much great impact.
I hope these things come in handy for you. If you have any other questions you can always email me. I am more than happy to give advice, if I have it. Cheers!