Summer is wedding season, when brides and grooms walk down the aisle to become husband and wife. Wedding traditions vary by region and cultural background, but most weddings have a few things in common. There’s a ceremony with an exchange of vows, a group of witnesses, and a party afterwards. Most receptions feature many toasts delivered by parents or by the wedding party. Public speaking is tough, and lots of people don't know where to start writing a speech. Here’s how to write a great Christian wedding toast.
To understand how to write a wedding toast for a Christian marriage, we need to understand what the Bible says about marriage in Genesis, chapter two. The story begins with God making the first man. He forms the man out of the ground, and he breathes life into him. When the man gets up, God says, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him. ”
Until this point, when God looked at his creation, it was always good. Genesis, chapter one repeats the phrase, “And God saw that it was good,” after every day of creation. For the first time in creation, something is not good. The man was alone. Since God wanted his creation to be perfect, he needed to fix the problem.
After parading all the animals before the man, God does not find a suitable helper. He puts Adam to sleep, pulls out a rib, and creates the first woman from it. When Adam wakes up, you can hear the joy in finally meeting his wife. “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
The author of Genesis interrupts his story to teach us about marriage. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” God united the first man and woman as one flesh, and he does the same in every single marriage since that day. They are no longer two individuals. They are one flesh, whether they are married in a church or a courthouse. God makes two people one.
Christ and the Church
The Apostle Paul calls this a mystery, but not the kind of mystery that takes a detective to solve. It is a concept that is beyond our full understanding, how two can become one. But he also says that this same idea, that the two become one flesh, applies to Christ and the church. The Bible consistently describes God’s relationship with his people as a bride and groom. The New Testament focuses that on Christ, the groom, coming to his bride, the church.
The relationship between the two helps us to understand what God does in marriage. Jesus unites with the church as one flesh, giving her everything that he has. Through this mysterious unity, the church receives Christ’s holiness, his status as a member of God’s family, his riches, and his eternal life. Because the church is one with her groom, we are all saved.
When a bride and groom are married, we see this beautiful image of Christ and the church, and we learn about marriage by seeing what Christ does for his bride. When you are formulating your own Christian wedding toast, it should include something about what God has done to bring the two together, and how he blesses them with salvation in Christ.
Follow A Simple Outline
No one wants to hear a wedding toast that’s all theology, though. Wedding speakers ramble, because they have so much to say about the bride and groom. They want to tell every great story and to make sure everyone understands the depth of their feelings for the couple. A long toast is too much for the audience to hear and understand. A simple, short outline focuses your words so the audience will easily understand you.
Here’s a simple outline that will work every time:
When you are writing the toast, keep everything focused on the bride and groom and how God supports them. Everyone wants to hear about the couple, not that hilarious story from camp. They don’t need to know about previous boyfriends, girlfriends, or spouses. They don’t need to hear about your or your interests. Everything should point to God’s work in their marriage.
Keep It Short
To be effective, your toast should be less than four minutes long. By this time, the guests have sat through a wedding ceremony, they’ve patiently waited for the wedding party to arrive, and they are impatiently waiting for the fun to begin. They will listen to several toasts before or after yours as well.
If you keep your toast short, you can focus on one single message, keep the audience’s attention, and share your feelings about the bride and groom effectively. The longer you go, the less likely you will have a focused message.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Once you have prepared your toast, practice a lot. If you feel comfortable, memorize it. The best way to present your most heartfelt emotions is to comfortably speak them. That takes practice. If you don’t have to think about what you are saying, everything will seem more natural. Plus, you will be able to look the bride and groom in the eye while you are speaking. It will make your toast more memorable both for you and for them.
Leo Tolstoy began Anna Karenina, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” The same can apply to wedding toasts. Good toasts generally follow the same rules, but bad ones find unique ways to fail every time. Follow these guidelines, and you will have an interesting wedding toast that points to God’s work for the couple.
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