“Most toastmasters are aged and formal”

I read this comment on a young toastmaster’s website and whilst it might be a sincere observation on his part, I suspect he was positioning himself as a young man offering a dynamic service. I speak as someone comparatively senior in years, but, like all my TM colleagues, pride myself in getting the balance of dynamism and formality exactly as my clients want it. I am ‘formal’ in the sense that I keep things moving and on track but I do so in an engaging and fun way (so my brides and grooms tell me). I will make suggestions but I don’t impose procedures and activities.
Your toastmaster (‘young’ or ‘old’) should work closely with you to plan your day and then do exactly what is right for you and for your event. Nothing more.

Forget about your ‘wedding speeches’!

After all, they make you nervous; they’re often boring and they usually go on too long. Sound familiar? It’s possible to have a wedding celebration without any speeches but I’ve never seen this happen; it would be unusual and guests would feel that something is missing. So my advice is to forget about doing ‘wedding speeches’ and think about ‘wedding toasts’ instead. Changing a single word about the activity gives a different perspective. A ‘speech’ sounds academic and formal; it creates expectations of professionalism, fluency and humour. I try to avoid the word ‘speech’. I’ll introduce people who are going to ‘say a few words’.

The father of the bride will thank people for coming, say how proud he is of his lovely daughter and welcome her partner into the family. He’ll typically propose a toast the happy couple.

The bridegroom (or bride) will say how lucky he / she is to have married such a wonderful person and thank wedding party members for all their support. He (or she) will perhaps give a few gifts and end with a toast to the families (or something similar).

The best man will often joke about the groom and tell a few amusing stories (in good taste!), read a few messages (in the old days, these would be ‘telegrams’) and finish with a toast to the couple.

I encourage you to look at my kindle book. Wedding speeches for the very nervous’ and you’ll see ideas and templates for all the usual speeches – sorry, ‘toasts’.

‘Style’ comments

I’m not referring to glamour or fashion (thankfully!) but how I go about my work. Toastmasters and Celebrants have their own ‘styles’ which will influence their suitability for a particular event. Some are very formal and adhere to strict protocol, others more casual.

Here’s an overview of ‘me’ and my ‘style’

  1. I don’t do the very traditional toastmaster stuff; banging gavels, waving swords but I am ‘formal’ in that I adhere to the schedule and keep things on track. I involve the guests as much as is appropriate and I’ll stand back when not needed. I don’t assume that I am a guest with guest privileges.
  2. I don’t demand food (although something simple is appreciated to stop me fainting) and I don’t drink ‘on duty’. I might have a friendly nightcap before I leave and after I’ve removed my red tailcoat.
  3. I make sure the focus is on you (the bride and groom) so I don’t push myself into photos and I make a point of not being photographed standing between the bride and groom
  4. Your photos are a key part of your memories so I don’t wear my red tailcoat in my Celebrant role which, frankly, looks strange in hindsight.
  5. I don’t have formal rehearsals for Celebrant ceremonies (unless they are wanted); I enjoy the spontaneity over highly choreographed (and often stilted) perfection. I do proper advance planning, scripting and preparation of course!

Do I suit your requirements? If so, please get in touch. If not, no problem, there are lots of good options for you to choose from. I’ll even make recommendations if you want me to.

#weddings #wedding toastmaster #wedding Celebrant