Tips from Lauren Caines, Halifax’s expert toast-writer

Wise words from Lauren Caines: “No one ever says, ‘I wish that speech was longer’.” CHELLE WOOTTEN

She says “a good toast can make the difference between a good wedding and a great wedding”.

Last summer, while sitting in her dentist’s chair, it dawned on Lauren Caines—she didn’t have a single wedding on the horizon. She’s the brains behind The Wedding Wordsmith, a Halifax service aimed at helping people write and deliver memorable, meaningful wedding toasts. Inspired by that moment at the dentist, and her own reputation for delivering knock-out speeches for her loved ones, she started the business last summer .

“I sort of feel like it might be the kind of thing couples realized they needed after the fact,” says Caines, who assists with writing, rehearsing and managing expectations around speeches for both couples, and their chosen speaker. “I really think a good toast can make the difference between a good wedding and a great wedding.”

Here are three ways to minimize the stress that comes with the mic.

Practice makes perfect
“The number one thing is to be prepared. When I see people try and wing it, they talk way too long. No one ever says, ‘I wish that speech was longer’,” says Caine. “If you’re prepared, you can control the length. Some people don’t want to write something ahead of time, but it’s critical. And I would suggest practicing it—if you’re nervous you might take longer.”

Be specific
Are inside jokes off limits? Not necessarily. “A lot of people think you need to stay away from them, the key is just to do them right,” says Caines. She reminds speech writers to not just tell, but show; be detailed in the stories and jokes you share so that even guests who have no idea what you’re talking about can get into it.

“A bridesmaid may say, ‘She’s such a good friend’ or ‘She’s really funny’ but telling a story is really important, it you get up and tell one really good story your job is basically done.”

It’s a toast, not a roast
Caines advises couples and speech-givers communicate about exactly how open the betrothed want their mic to be. “The point is to make the bride or groom smile, or cry—you want them to feel something. It’s a toast, not a roast. It’s good to have a discussion about that. What is the affect they’re going for? Do they want people to laugh or be emotional?” It’s also good for couples to carefully consider who they’re choosing to speak on their behalf. “Ask people and find out if they really want to do it beforehand. And if you’re asking someone reluctant, it’s nice to provide some extra assistance.” Like say, a master toaster?

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