Public speaking can scare people who don't do it regularly.
It gets even more daunting when you're asked to do it on a day you know that someone you're close to -- along with all their well-dressed friends and family members -- will remember forever.
If you get the honor of giving a toast and someone's wedding, how can you make sure that the congregation will leave with memories of your polished and touching remarks, rather than mumbling about that jerk who nearly ruined the whole event?
Before beginning, remember that a toast is not the same as a roast. Some good-natured ribbing can be part of your patter and hinting at torrid tales from the past may earn some laughs, but your brief moment on the mic is not the time to discuss how frequently the groom vomited in college or all the times the bride cried over other men.
The other thing to remember is that at a high-stress moment -- especially with the possibility of alcohol in your system -- you don't want to forget. So, write down what you want to say days in advance, EHow.com suggests. You don't have to carry a script in your pocket or read from a teleprompter, but getting an outline on a paper forces you to consider what you plan to do and get it in an order.
This will also help you remember that your speech should have a beginning, middle and end, About.com says.
The site suggests starting with a brief introduction of yourself and your connection to the couple, as well as a remarks about what a lovely event it is. EHow also suggests making sure to thank the hosts -- traditionally the bride's family, but modern times dictate talking to the couple first to find out who picked up the check.
For the rest, try to think of touching or warm memories of the couple or the person you are closer to. After telling a few tales, bring the remarks to the future, for a wedding is about sending the couple off to a hoped for life together.
At the end, to make sure you don't trail off and lose your way, find a quote wishing the happy couple the best of luck, and make it clear it's time to take a sip by saying, "Cheers!" or "To the couple!" as you take a drink.
If you feel panic about your assignment, remember that being asked shows the couple cares about and respects you. As TheWeddingWizards says, this is your chance to honor the bride and groom on their special day, not to show off your speaking.
With a little preparation and thought, it's five minutes of speaking that will last a lifetime.