Toast with the most

Lau­ren Caines is an ex­pert toast-giver, and she wants to help you be one too.

The Coast - Halifax Weddings Guide - - Expert Advice - BY AL­LI­SON SAUN­DERS

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 speech­givers 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?

CHELLE WOOTTEN

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

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