It was the cringe-worthy wedding toast heard 'round the world. On the popular Bravo reality show "Flipping Out," Jenni Pulos was getting married. Her neurotic boss and best friend, Jeff Lewis, who puts the "flipping" in the title, begrudgingly left LA to attend her Chicago nuptials. The pre-wedding events went off without a hitch until it came to the toasts.
Jenni's "Big, Fat Greek Wedding" family was a bit religious and somewhat long-winded. It seems that everyone who had ever met Jenni wanted to say something about her big day. The way it was edited, at least, the toasts went on forever. One cousin even offered a poem.
Although Jenni's family went long in the toasting department, they weren't the biggest wedding etiquette offenders. That award goes to good ole Jeff Lewis. For those who don't watch the show, Jeff is known for being a lovable, anal-retentive jerk with a healthy helping of both OCD and ADD. Yep, fun guy. We don't know who thought that Jeff should give a toast, but it happened anyway.
Actually, it wasn't so much a toast as a warning. Jeff screamed out turrets syndrome style to Jenni's loving groom-to-be, "Remember what happened to the last one." By "the last one" Jeff was referring to Jenni's first husband. Jeff caught Jenni's ex speaking to other women on hidden camera and was the catalyst for the marriage ending. This is something that you probably don't want to be reminded of at your wedding.
Jeff topped off this pre-wedding dinner snafu with a drinking game at the actual wedding reception. Every time Jenni's orthodox family said the word "God" in a toast, he instructed everyone at his table to take a drink. As your friendly neighborhood love coach, I hate to pull the etiquette police card but oy vey, Jeff!
Here are the do's and don't of giving toasts at weddings:
1. Never mention exes.
We thought that this one was self-explanatory but obviously not. Look, everyone has exes and a past. However, we rarely want our past and future to collide. Even if a couple is open enough to invite exes and they are sitting in the pews with you, don't mention them in your toast. As for the exes themselves, even if you scored an invite to the wedding, stay silent unless specifically asked by the bride or groom.
2. Don't get drunk.
Public speaking is more fearful to most people than death. When you have to speak at a BFF's wedding, you may feel you need a little liquid courage. We understand. Having a half glass of wine is fine. Getting sloshed is never okay. If you feel like you have to get wasted to make a toast, you're better off bowing out gracefully. Why risk embarrassing your friend and yourself?
3. Less is more.
It's best to keep your wedding speech short and sweet. We don't all have the speech-making genius of William Shakespeare or a politician. Know your limitations. This is not your shining moment. It's about the couple, not you. Save lengthy poems, sermons, proclamations, and friendship contracts for a private moment.
4. Err on the side of caution.
If you can't say something nice, shut up. Remember that funny story about how the bride was kicked out of boarding school? Save it for another time. Cracking up about the fact that the groom used to be known as a playboy? Keep it to yourself. If you are even the slightest bit concerned that you may offend anyone at all, this is not the time nor the place.
Weddings are an unforgettable big day for the couple. If you have any questions about what your toast might be, perhaps it should be a Facebook post or a sweet letter instead.
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