Making a toast is customary at weddings, but with toasting comes great responsibility not to insult anyone in the room or otherwise make a fool of yourself. However, if you really mess up, there is always the option of feeling bribery. Try creating wedding albums online, as well as in print – to help commemorate the special day – and to get back into their good graces. Follow this article for a fail-proof wedding toast:

Do…

Introduce Yourself

Unless you are absolutely certain that you have met everyone in the room on at least two recent, separate occasions, you should always introduce yourself before relaying a wedding toast. It’s just the polite thing to do and will help other’s connect with you.

Relay how You Know the Couple

You should always let the people know whether you are close to the bride, groom, or both, and whether you are family, friends or co-workers. This shows good manners and gives people a bit more perspective for your upcoming wedding toast.

Be Respectful

Toasting priority should go to parents, relatives, close friends, and members of the bridal party. Everyone is eager to congratulate a couple who has just tied the knot, but unless you are a direct relative or a member of the wedding party, you want to hold off on making a speech. If you are uncertain, or think you missed a speech, it is good idea to make sure that at least the parents, maid of honor, and best man have made their speeches before you grab the microphone.

Tell Anecdotes

If you have a short, sweet anecdote about the couple, now is the time to speak up. If you know how they met, or bonded. Make sure that the anecdote is short and to the point – especially if you have several prepared in your speech. These stories may be precious to you and the bride and groom, but everyone else probably wants to get back to the party.

Be Prepared

At the very least, you should have in mind what you are planning to say. Having a few ideas beforehand will get you through a brief toast, but if you are planning to bring a speech, bring note cards. You’re going to feel pretty foolish fumbling around the microphone with the entire party looking on and feeling sorry for you. Unless you happen to be an excellent orator and can improvise your speech on the spot, you want to have something written down in case you forget.

Congratulate the Parents

First congratulations should always go to the bride and groom, but seeing a child get married and start a family is a significant moment in a parent’s life as well. Mention the parents by name if you happen to be acquainted. If not, you can simply refer to them as the “parents of the bride, and parents of the groom”. With all of the revelry focused around the happy couple, the parents of the bride and parents of the groom will appreciate you taking the time to recognize a moment to congratulate them on their new son-in-law or daughter-in-law.

DON’T…

Relay Your Life Story

Keep your introductions limited to your name and how you know the couple. After all, you are here to make a toast, not read an autobiography.

Make Inappropriate Jokes

Again, if you don’t want to hear this joke at your own wedding, you should not be telling it. If your friends are more conservative than you are, remember to dial it down a notch. In general, anything lewd or sexual should stay in your head. No one wants to hear how hot you think the bridesmaids are, or what you are planning to do after the reception.

Tell Stories that are Inappropriate or Very Embarrassing

If you wouldn’t want someone telling a very similar story about you in front of your family, you probably should not be telling that story. The bride and groom will not be grateful or amused, and you risk offending people in the crowd. Just don’t do it.

Plan a Long Speech

Unless you are a parent or a member of the wedding party, try to keep your wedding toast under a minute. This is a matter of being considerate to others who want to make a toast to the couple. The exception to this rule is if you, and the bride and, or groom, belong to a culture where long toasts are considered normal. In that case, try to keep your wedding toast on the shorter end of five minutes.

Don’t get Drunk

A bit of alcohol is understandable. After all, this is a wedding and people have probably made several toasts already. If you are nervous, a few sips of liquid courage may even help you get up on stage. However, you want to make sure that you do not overindulge before grabbing the microphone. You may think that you are delivering an excellent speech, but people will be able to tell that you are drunk and you will probably be slurring your words. Being drunk is right up there with making inappropriate jokes and telling embarrassing stories.

Bring up Politics, Money, or Religion

Unless these are directly related to an appropriate anecdote, they have no place in your toast. There is no polite way of bringing the cost of the wedding into a toast, or commenting on how much money the couple makes. Bringing in religion is also a bad idea unless you know that the couple is religious and are quoting something relevant.

These are the major do’s and don’ts for making a wedding toast. If you have an idea for a toast that is particularly brilliant or creative and seems to fall outside these guidelines, it is always a good idea to approach the couple before the wedding and ask permission. If you cannot approach the couple, find a member of the wedding party- or another member of the wedding party if you are in the wedding- and present your plan. If they veto the idea, don’t do it and the same goes for a veto by the bride or groom. If you do