Ok, so you’re getting ready to write a wedding toast, but as it turns out, you don’t like the groom (or hell, maybe you don’t like the bride). And you’re coming across all these great articles about how to deliver a heartfelt and emotional speech, while really what you’re trying to do is say something nice, that keeps everyone happy and still allows you to keep your dignity and not… lie.
While it might not feel like it right now, you are so not alone in this problem. So let’s talk about how to write a wedding toast when you’re not so sure about the person your friend/ family member/ other loved one is about to marry. For ease and clarification purposes, I’m going to assume that your friend is female, and the person you’re not that into is a guy, though this advice is applicable across the board, give or take a pronoun here and there.
Before we dive in, let’s clarify that this advice doesn’t stand when your loved one is going to marry someone that is dangerous, abusive, or otherwise harmful. In that case, you might want to call a domestic violence hotline, or consult a therapist to determine the safest course of action. This isn’t advice for those scary and terrible situations. This is advice for when your favorite person is about to marry someone you just don’t like. But if you’re tapped for a wedding toast, and you feel like it’s good form that you give one, here are five tips to make it work.
1. just pretend he doesn’t exist: This probably sounds worse than it’s meant to, but let’s lead with the easiest solution. You don’t have to mention this person in your speech, if you can artfully avoid it. if you don’t want to. This is one of your people, right? You guys probably have a wealth of experiences and years of fun times that you can draw inspiration from, and there’s truly no reason to say much more than, “… and then she met someone who really makes her happy, and I love to see her happy” and leave it at that. Toss a smile out, give a cheery nod, and reassign yourself to wine duty for the rest of the evening.
Will your friend notice? Maybe, depending on how hyped on bubbly and love she is at that point, and how gracefully you pull it off. But we all love being told about how great we are, and how much the people in our life love us, so if you deliver this right, you can distract her. Also, keep in mind that unless she has a good relationship with the groom to begin with, a lot of bridesmaids don’t wax poetic for ages about the groom in question.
2. find one thing you like about him and only talk about that: So maybe you can’t get away with ignoring this person. Find one thing that you like about him (beyond the fact that he makes your person happy), and talk for a minute about that. He has great taste in art? He throws a great party? Whatever, fine, just write a few sentences about that and then raise a glass.
3. if everyone knows you doN’t get along, play it up IN A FUNNY WAY: Let’s say her family and his family and your family will all be at the wedding, or a whole bunch of mutual friends will be, and everyone knows that you and the groom infamously do not jive. Instead of ignoring the obvious, play into it, and make sure you end your speech with something along the lines of how he better treat her well, because you’ll be watching. Because it’s funny, and because it’s… true, and because he’ll know it is and probably knows you mean business.
4. say something that sounds nice (but is meaningless): This works best if you’re drinking, and works even better if you’re a tipsy-happy drinker that I am. And after one to two drinks you’re happy to tell everyone how much you like their dress, how great their hair looks, and how you just love them SOOOO much, then by all means, have a drink first and giddily enthuse about how you love your friend soooo much, you want her to be soooo happy, and you just can’t wait to see what her future holds because it will be soooo special. If you’re not a happy drinker, you can probably pull this off anyway, by pulling out an artfully placed wedding toast quote or two. In this case it’s fine to lean into Hallmark sentiments, and “Irish Proverbs.” May the road always rise to meet them, whatever that means.
5. talk about when you knew she was falling for him: Okay, so. The guy we’re talking about right now is most likely the kind of dude that you could never see yourself with… but for some reason, your person has decided that he’s the guy for her. (At least right now. We can hold out hope, right?) But this is a good moment to remind yourself that this wedding is not about you, and your friend needs you to support that choice, at least in this moment. (You can always support her in a search for a divorce lawyer later.) So dig around in the recesses of your mind and recall the day that you realized your friend was serious about this guy. Don’t focus on the sinking feeling you felt in your stomach, but focus on the way her face changed when she spoke about him, or how her eyes lit up. Remember how excited she was to show you her engagement ring. Think back to the most recent Serious Conversation the two of you had about her relationship, and what she told you then.
And then? Condense that into a speech and deliver the shit out of it. She’ll love you, it’ll be perfect, and you’ll deserve at least two drinks afterwards.
have you had to give Wedding Toast when you didn’t like the groom (or the bride)? What did you say—or what would you say in the situation? What advice do you have for people who are struggling?