How to Properly Give a Toast

I'm sure we have all experienced a wedding toast that went on too long or was embarrassing at a wedding. We have probably also experienced some great toasts that are memorable. It can be nerve racking to give a toast or a speech at a wedding. Don't get caught up rambling on and on and be the person who needs to have the microphone taken away! Here are some tips on how to properly give a toast. 
Kate and Mike's Wedding
Photo courtesy of Cliff Mautner Photography
Be Prepared and Write it Down
Don't wait until the wedding day to come up with what things you are going to say. Even if you are great at thinking on your feet or speaking on a whim, it's good to have some notes written down just in case your mind goes blank.

Keep it Short and Sweet
Keep your speech short, no more than 5 minutes. You want the toast to reflect the bride and groom. This will guarantee that you time will be spent talking about them. There will most likely be other speeches, so keep your time to a minimum. 

Don't Be Embarrassing
The wedding is not the place to embarrass the bride and groom. Save that for the bachelorette/bachelor party. Don't mention any ex-girlfriends/boyfriends or anything that may be a touchy subject. You may think that your embarrassing story will get a great laugh, however, just remember that there are older family members in the audience and those guests might not find your humor so funny. Keep your speech clean and friendly.

Don't Get Drunk
Avoid drinking too much alcohol prior to your toast. If you need something to calm your nerves, make it a small drink. You are there to represent the bride and groom. Remind them why they selected you to give a toast. 

Practice Makes Perfect
Write down your speech or make note cards. Practice your speech in front of the mirror or a friend. Re-read it several times so you are familiar with what you want to say. Pretend to make gestures and eye contact. Time yourself to make sure you are not talking too quickly. Take short pauses to gather yourself and get yourself on track. You don't need to memorize it, but becoming familiar with it will help you when you are speaking in front of everyone. Remember to speak slowly, clearly and don't forget to smile!

Make it Personal- End on a Positive Note
Think about things that you would like to say to the bride and groom. After introducing yourself, a few ways to begin your speech is to mention the ceremony (ex: "What a beautiful ceremony we witnessed today") or start with an inspirational quote that fits with the day. Then follow up with a story about how you met, a memorable event that you all shared, some things that you admire about the couple, how the couple met, etc.  Try to stay away from the cookie cutter one liners that many people use in wedding speeches (ex: "For those of you who don't know me..."). Try to be original and let your natural personality shine through. 

Raise Your Glass
Don't forget to toast the bride and groom! End your speech with a congratulations and Cheers!


Teaser Tuesday

This weekend we headed up to Reading, Pa for Elisa and Tim's wedding at Sacred Heart Church followed by a reception at Berkshire Country Club. They chose a classic color scheme of champagne and black with touches of blush pink. When their delicious cocktail hour ended, guests headed into the ballroom and just as the newlyweds started their first dance, it began to pour outside- talk about perfect timing! About an hour after the rain stopped, a beautiful rainbow was spotted in the sky and was the perfect backdrop for some pictures. Klock Entertainment got the party started for the guests and kept everyone on the dance floor all night! It was a great day from start to finish and we can't wait to share their professional pictures from AW Styer with you all!

Featured Bride Friday

Names of Bride & Groom: Kelly and Paul

Wedding Date: June 10th, 2012

Ceremony and Reception Location: Cairnwood Estate, Bryn Athyn, PA

How did you and your fiance meet?: Paul and I first met in middle school (I have the signed yearbook to prove it!) but we did not get together until after college when we both signed up for eHarmony. 

Tell us about your proposal: On our first trip out of the country together, Paul and I decided to go to Ireland. On our first night in Dublin, Paul took me to Saint Stephen's Green to walk around the park before our dinner reservation. Just before leaving the park, Paul brought me to the pond, got down on one knee, and proposed!

What is the overall theme of your wedding?: We are going for romantic/elegance with lace accents and light pinks and whites. 
What has been your favorite part of planning?: My favorite part of planning has been the invitations. We had to look very hard for them and I think they turned out amazing!

What has been your fiance's favorite part of the planning?: Paul's favorite part of the planning has been doing anything he can do to make it easier for me. He has a few favorite, he enjoyed doing the invitations, cleaning the votives, and putting together the arch. 

What are you looking forward to most on the wedding day?: I am most looking forward to my first dance with Paul as Mrs. Paul Frasca!!

What is your fiance most looking forward to on the wedding day?: Paul is most looking forward to the moment when the doors open and he sees me in my wedding dress walking towards him!

Which vendor has been your favorite to work with?: Our minister, Rev. Chuck Blair, has been enthusiastic, supportive, and a pleasure to work with through this process.

What is your biggest worry about the wedding day?: My biggest worry for my wedding day is the weather because we have planned dinner on the back terrace. I also want to get pictures outside. 

What makes your wedding unique from all the others?: Our wedding is unique and special to us because we are getting married on my grandmother's and Paul's cousin's birthday. My Maid of Honor, and sister, Kathleen, is also baking cupcakes as a special treat for the reception.

Give three words to describe what you imagine you'll feel like the day AFTER the wedding: Excited, Grateful and Loved

Where will you be spending your honeymoon?: We are planning on going on an Alaskan cruise this summer for our honeymoon.

How to Tackle Your Guest List

Narrowing down your 1,000+ Facebook friends to just 100-200 guests for your wedding can seem like a daunting task. Until you realize that a majority of your so-called "friends" you actually haven't spoken to in over five years or you never even knew to begin with. Now you're down to about 500 and that's where it starts getting tricky...

All jokes aside, actually narrowing down your real friends, family, college buddies and co-workers along with those of your fiance's can be not only physically difficult, but also emotionally draining. 

Hopefully some of these suggestions and tips can help make your guest list process as smooth as possible.
  • Pick a Number, Any Number: Once you pick your venue and have a budget in mind, it's time to really sit down and figure out how many guests you can accommodate within the venue and within your budget. Picking the number is easy, sticking to it is another thing, but it's at least a great place to start.

  • Family First: You obviously have some obligations to your family first, so start there to get the bulk of the list accounted for. Remember though that family doesn't necessarily need to be blood related, it's whomever you truly consider family. 
  • Keep It On The DL: Once people hear about any family member, friend or even acquaintance for that matter getting married, their initial thought is that they hope to be invited themselves. Don't spread the word too fast about your wedding before you decide on size, location and other aspects that might hinder your guest size. Early on, you might think that someone will be invited and even mention it to them and later realize that that won't be the case. You don't want to get stuck in any tricky situations.
  • Choose An A & B String: Just like any team, it is completely acceptable to choose an A and B string for your guest list. Since all of the guests you invite in the first round will not all be able to attend, you can then call upon the second round of guests to extend the invitation to. Just as long as you do it in a quick time span so that it is not obvious to those B string guests.

  • Don't Give Into Peer Pressure: You may get pressure from family and friends as to who you SHOULD invite to your wedding, but the real question is more about who you WANT to invite. Don't give into peer pressure. 
  • Become BFF's with Excel: Microsoft Excel will soon become your best friend- so if you don't know your way around it already, you better learn quickly. Excel or other similar programs are great for keeping track of names, addresses, food choices and all other details for your wedding guests, so it's best to start a document with all of this information while you are making your guest list. You can then also easily keep track of RSVP's on there too. 
  • Divide and Conquer: Once you have decided the amount of guests you will be inviting, start first by playing fair and divide up the amount of guests that you and your fiance have the first say in inviting. This will help ensure that there is a pretty equal division of your friends and family and his friends and family. If that works out, you're job was really easy and you will have nice equal sides of the aisle during your ceremony.

  • Be Honest Or Stick To One Excuse: Of course you may disappoint some people who hoped to be invited to your wedding and quickly realized they never got a fancy envelope in the mail. But when it comes to any interaction with them, either be honest and straightforward or stick to one excuse like "it's mostly family" or "I had to invite a lot of my parents friends". You can't please everyone, so don't sweat it, but you don't want people to feel completely left in the dust. 
  • Don't Always Follow The Golden Rule: Although many people try to follow the golden rule of, "if you were invited to their wedding, you may want to invite them to yours", that rule doesn't always hold true in all situations. It is often a good place to start, but friendships change and couples separate and there are other aspects that could effect this rule as well, like if you are having a smaller guest list.
Rules To Follow For:
  • Family: You can stick to just those that are in the surrounding traveling region as a rule of thumb, but once you expand to relatives on the opposite coast and beyond, it's best to open the invite up to the rest. When it comes to family it is somewhat all or nothing. 
  • Childhood Friends: If you know their birthday on the top of your head, that's a good start. If you know their first boyfriend/girlfriend or their current on, that's another good sign. Stick to those friends that have not only been around you in your past, but have remained throughout your life and will in the future.
  • College Friends: I think it's best to follow the roommate rule- if you lived with them for most of your college years and considered them your close friend during that time, then they probably deserve a seat. Again, being able to use the "roommate excuse" may make your life easier later.
  • Work Friends: Just like family, work friends are often and all or nothing situation. It can sometimes be acceptable to just invite your direct supervisors or really close friend from work, but any other special pickings can make for a not so pleasant work environment. 
  • Children: Whether it's cousins or your friends children, also including to invite just a couple or "& family" can often be another decision. You can choose an age cutoff, stick to just family, or pick and choose as you please, just try to have a rhyme or reason to your decisions.
  • Plus One: You never want your lone single friend to feel like the odd man out, so it's often common courtesy to extend the "plus one" invitation to those guests as well. This will again be probably something that will be done on a case by case basis, but try to also stick to a rhyme or reason on this one.

Whoever you choose in the end, just remember that you will hear more from the people who attended your wedding and had a great time than you will hear from those who didn't attend and only wish they did. 


Teaser Tuesday

Kate and Andrew had a rustic and lace themed wedding and every little detail was thought of and executed perfectly! From burlap table runners to mason jar lined walkways- no detail was left untouched! The Carriage House at Rockwood Park was a perfect place for their reception. We strung lights from the ceiling of the ballroom and when the sun set, it looked magical! They treated their guests to a special guest appearance of YoUDee, the University of Delaware mascot- where the couple met. Guests also enjoyed time taking photos in the photobooth provided by Hoffer Photography, who also sent us these awesome images!
Laura and Andrew had such a flawless wedding day! They started out with hair by Hair by Meghan and makeup by Jill from Face the Occasion- the bride and her maids looked gorgeous! Laura and Andrew had a first look and did a few photos before their awesome ceremony, at which the bride's cousin, Lorenzo, sang a beautiful song. Then, it was down to Davio's Restaurant to enjoy the delicious food and dance the night away to the New Monopoly Band. Lucky for us, the talented Chris Hensel was on hand to capture the moments in photographs, while Jackie from Martin's Video caught it all on video. Laura's family gave such lovely speeches and the bride and groom spent the rest of the night on a packed dance floor. It was a great night!

Kate and Mike's Wedding

Kate and Mike were married at the beautiful Rittenhouse Hotel in March of last year. Kate and her maid of honor and a few of her friends started the day with hair done by Claudia Seyler and makeup done by Beke Beau. The girls looked fantastic and really enjoyed their quiet morning together. When it was time for the reveal, Kate and Mike took advantage of the particularly mild weather for March and met in Rittenhouse Square. The abundant sunshine made for some incredible photos! They returned to the hotel to finish some formal pictures and sign their ketubah. In the meantime, Evantine Design was transforming the ballroom into an all white ceremony space. Their huppah was draped in a sheer fabric and the aisle was lined in candles making the space really romantic. After the ceremony, guests enjoyed a delicious cocktail hour, complete with a University of Michigan ice sculpture, as a nod to the couple's alma mater. We created their ceremony programs, chair signs, menus and reception signage to match their classic color scheme of white with touches of gold and brown. CTO Park Avenue got the party started and kept the guests on the dance floor all night long while Kiss the Bride Films was on hand to capture all the fun! Guests enjoyed one of the greatest candy buffets we've ever seen and got to grab a "midnight snack" of Philly Soft Pretzels on their way home at the end of the night. Thank you to Kate for sending us these wonderful images taken by Cliff Mautner

Congratulations Kate and Mike on your first anniversary!