Toast Do’s and Don’ts

Last June I was asked by The Hamilton Spectator for some Do’s and Don’ts for wedding toasts.

Here are my suggestions for a flawless toast to the Bride & Groom:

Keep it short. Don’t ramble on, three minutes max. “People have a short attention span as it is.” Five minutes is definitely pushing it. “Rehearse, practice and time yourself.”

Have notes. It seems more natural to just have points of interest to refer back to. “It’s always good to have something written down because your emotions are running high. You don’t want to just fly by the seat of your pants because that’s when the rambling starts.”

Be yourself and be original. Maybe you want to make it rhyme or incorporate a poem that’s fitting. “It shouldn’t be something generic you got online.”

Don’t roast the couple. “Keep it classy.” No one wants to hear about an embarrassing moment on such a special occasion. That includes roasting guests, too. “Avoid calling people out on past mistakes in general.”

Don’t toast yourselves. This is more for the bride and groom. If someone says ‘and cheers to the bride and groom” you’re just supposed to just “take it and smile for the cameras.” Do not clap or clink your glasses or raise your glass. “It’s considered poor taste. You’re just supposed to graciously accept the toast.”

Don’t apologize for being nervous. Most people already expect you to be somewhat uncomfortable speaking in front of large groups. “You don’t need to point it out to make it more noticeable.”
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Father of the Bride

We’ve had posts about the Maid/Matron of Honour, The Best Man, Bridesmaids and the Mother of the Bride, but have yet to cover the Father of the Bride.

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The Father of the Bride is usually the most important man in a Bride’s life, next to her future husband. He is the man that will walk her down the aisle and ‘give her away’ to the Groom. He typically offers a toast at the reception and can give a speech if he so desires.

What should The Father of the Bride say to his daughter, future son-in-law and guests?

Here are some topics to touch on:

Welcome – The Father of the Bride usually speaks first, or is the second to speak after the MC or the Best Man speech. He should welcome guests to the wedding and thank out of town guests for joining in the celebration. He should thank people that made the day possible and participating in the planning process and the overall upbringing of the Bride.

Ceremony – He should mention the union that took place at the ceremony and the love his daughter and the groom share for one another. A nice quote, bible verse or song lyric can help with expressing any emotions he may wish to share.

The Bride – The Father of the Bride should talk about the Bride, how proud he is of her and provide a few fun facts about her. Keep this brief as not many people care to hear long winded stories of her childhood like losing her first tooth, her awkward teenage years or the troubles she got into during College. Talk about some of her talents, skills and accomplishments, but keep it short and sweet.

Their Relationship – Mention the relationship between the Bride and Groom. How they met, how he felt when he knew his little girl was in love and his hopes for them for their future together.

The Groom – Welcome him to your family and provide him with a few tips and advice like family traditions, etc. You can poke a little fun at him if you have a good relationship with him, but keep it classy.  You don’t want to embarrass him or your daughter. Be sure to make him feel special and accepted.

Wise Words/Toast – End your speech with a few relationship lessons and wise words. Offer an example from  your relationship with her mother if it’s a healthy one. Tell them about your hopes, dreams and wishes for them and your excitement of what lies ahead for them as a family.

The Father of the Bride is an important role in a wedding, so be sure to take it seriously, but have fun with it as well. Weddings are an emotional day, so be sure to cherish every moment.

*Photo by Angela Devries Photography from the wedding of Natalie _ Jason

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How NOT to ruin your wedding photos

Your wedding photos will be one of the most important mementos from your wedding day. The day will go by so quickly, and you’ll be having so much fun that you’ll need good, quality photos to refresh your memory of what a fabulous day you had!

Choosing a Photographer is a tough decision. I always tell my clients to go with who they feel most comfortable with and who’s style they prefer. Do not try to cheap out on your photos. This doesn’t mean you have to spend $5,000+, but it surely means you shouldn’t be spending less than $500 or asking a friend to do it for free. I saw a fabulous and oh-so-true quote the other day; “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.” This quote is bang on – let the professionals take care of you on your wedding day. We have many reasons to call ourselves such.

You’ve hired a professional and you know they will deliver, but what can you do to make sure that you don’t ruin your photos?

Here are some tips on how NOT to ruin your wedding photos:

Create a wish list

Work with your Photographer via email or a face-to-face meeting to discuss the kind of photos you want. Most times you’ve selected them because of their style, poses, layouts, etc – but if there is a certain pose or location you want, be sure to tell them!
Some popular shots on a wish list are; gown on hanger in window, picture with grandparents, photo of rings/invitation and your something old/new/borrowed and blue.

Have your Photographer stay 

To save money some couples will send the Photographer home after the receiving line or just before dinner. This is a mistake if you want to capture emotions from you, your groom, wedding party, family and guests during dinner, speeches and when the party starts. They don’t need to stay all night if money is tight, but have them stay at least until you’ve cut the cake and had your first dance.

Book in advance

Photographers and Coordinators are two of the first vendors to get booked early. We advise you to do your research and book with your selected Photographer at least 12-14 months in advance. Some times you can get away with as little as 9 months, but don’t be surprised if our #1 choice is booked already.

Schedule enough time

Chat with your Photographer and your Day of Coordinator about how much time is needed for your photo shoot. We will be realistic with you and factor in travel time, set-up, people management and weather (sunlight, etc). You want to make sure you have enough time to be relaxed and having fun, but not too much time that your guests awaiting your arrival back are bored.

Feed your vendors

Vendors that get fed are happy vendors, and happy vendors will work better than hungry ones. If you have vendors working over your dinner hour (Photographers, Coordinator, DJ, etc) we highly recommend that you have a vendor table for them and feed them dinner as well. Your wedding day is a long one although it seems to go by so quickly and most of your vendors will be working well before you start to get ready and long after you’ve gone home.

Look fresh

On your wedding day you will look so radiant and happy because it’s your wedding day, but do yourself a favour and eat and sleep well the day before. Same goes for your wedding day, stay hydrated, eat throughout the day and don’t get intoxicated.

Have fun

Stuffy photos are a thing of the past. Sure, you’ll have the traditional family and wedding party shots, but make sure you’re having fun, laughing and enjoying yourself. Don’t worry about the small things – this is your Day of Coordinators job. A smiling Bride looks best from all angles.

*Photo by JClay Photography from Helen & Jason’s big day

Visit us at www. for more information on how we can work together to help you plan a memorable wedding or special event.