(9 Months to 24 Months Before the Wedding)
A ceremony reading is a piece of prose or poetry that is read aloud during the ceremony. It can be religious or secular in nature and is usually read by a close friend or wedding party member and is a way to bestow honor to said family or friend.
Your wedding should reflect you and your love. Your reading should be about the two of you and not a generic love story. Your goal is to find something meaningful to the both of you that you can share with each other and to your guests. Keep an eye out for interesting ideas. They can come from almost anywhere: song lyrics, passages from novels, poems, quotes, paintings, magazine articles, billboards, and even bumper stickers. Look for an aha moment!
After you have found your reading, the next step is share the reading with your wedding party. Discuss, who would be a good choice to read the passage at your wedding, someone who can read with emotion, is comfortable in front of a crowd, can easily be understood by all your guests, who can make the reading come alive. With whom you choose to do the reading, give them plenty of time to review the reading, at least two to three weeks before the wedding is preferred.
You need to be appropriate and true to the formality of your ceremony, comedy and jokes are great but usually are not appropriate for a formal wedding. Know the rules of the church in which you are holding your ceremony. Some churches are very strict with what can be read. Share the reading with your church and pastor and gain their approval of the reading.
A champagne toast is used to give regards and best wishes to a newly married couple at their wedding and to bestow honor to someone who is held in high esteem from the wedding couple.
For the wedding, at both the rehearsal dinner and wedding reception, you want to find a toaster, that is comfortable talking in front of many people, who has a strong voice, and can talk with emotion. The toaster first and always, makes sure that his glass along with everyone else's glasses are filled before proposing a toast. Make sure everyone has a glass filled with champagne, wine, a mixed drink, or non-alcoholic punch. Even be sure the children have a filled glass with a glass filled with a concoction that looks similar to champagne; Sprite, 7-up, citrus soda, grape juice or apple juice are all good choices. The toast should not be offered with tea, coffee, milk, or water. For the wedding party, the server's protocol is to fill the glass of the bride first, then the groom, then the maid-of-honor, then the bride's parents, then the groom's parents and then finally the best man.
Traditionally, the best man serves as the toastmaster for the rehearsal dinner and wedding reception. Once all glasses are full, the toastmaster starts his toast off and is allowed to talk a little bit about the bride and groom and bring up special mention of special people in the bride and groom's lives. The best man is allowed to talk from three to a maximum of ten minutes to offer his toast. After the best man goes the maid-of-honor, the bride's parents, the groom's parents, followed by any other relatives and friends. All the other relatives are allowed a two to three minute toast.
At the rehearsal dinner, the toaster can get a little carried away at telling stories and add a little humor about the bride and groom, just don't get too carried away with inside jokes. You don't want to embarrass the bride or groom or any of the relatives and guests that are becoming familiar with families for the first time, you want to leave everybody with a positive first impression. At the wedding reception, the toasts should be more formal and the toasters should not indulge in humor and joke telling.
When giving toasts, remember the occasion belongs to the bride and groom. Toasts should always stick to the positive, don't even think about mentioning anything negative. The toastmaster should have a prepared toast and have his toast memorized, and be sure to practice, practice, practice, his toast. Have the speech come out naturally in his head and only have phrases or keywords in his pocket in the event he needs to jog his memory.
The toaster in his speech may make a list of anecdotes that describe the qualities that brought the couple together or pick out poignant qualities that one of them has. He might include a top ten list about the couple or might talk about each couple was like before they met and how they have changed after meeting each other. The toastmaster might offer their own advice for the couple, remembering to keep the toast on point using adjectives in their descriptions of the couple. You can tell funny stories but try not to offend anybody. Remember after giving your toast say "here's to" "the groom's name" and "the bride's name", "we all wish you a happy, successful, and rewarding marriage", raise your glass and then remember to drink from your champagne glass to the wedding couple.
The bride and groom have their moment to thank-you for the toast, back to all the guests and is usually done as they are about to cut the wedding cake. The groom and bride should speak for a moment and talk about their heartfelt thoughts and sum up their love and feelings for each other and give thanks to all the guests in coming to share in their special day with them. The groom should speak then the bride and should keep their comments down to a few sentences.
Remember, that when you are giving a toast your goal is to seize the moment. Your job is to make the wedding event an uplifting, special, ceremonial, and relaxed atmosphere where two people are becoming united. It's a celebration!
In summary, select readers and toasters who can play the part who are emotional, articulate, and close to the wedding couple who add to their special day. That's the story for today! See you on the other side!
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