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Toasts and speeches for the same sex wedding

Your dear friends Debbie and Cath, or Murray and Jim are getting married! Whoopee! From 21 December 2005, civil partnerships allow couples of the same sex to celebrate something that is a wedding ceremony in all but name. And they’ve asked you to give a toast ...

Ah – that’s not quite such an easy prospect is it? The couple themselves might even be wondering how to handle the business of toasts and speeches. So whether you’re a couple getting married or a guest trying to create an elegant set of words to say over the champagne, here’s a quick guide to the new same sex wedding process:

Who does what?
Traditionally this has been the order of speeches/toasts:

1. Best Man
2. Groom's Father
3. Bride's Father
4. Groom
5. Bride
6. Friends and Relatives
7. Maid/Matron of Honour
8. Groom's Mother
9. Bride's Mother
10. Anyone else

And this simply becomes:

1. Best Man
2. First partner’s Father
3. Second partner’s Father
4. First partner
5. Second partner
6. Friends and Relatives
7. Maid/Matron of Honour
8. First partner’s Mother
9. Second partner’s Mother
10. Anyone else

Isn’t it easy?

What to call the happy couple
A wise couple will let their toast-makers know in advance what they want to be called. Many same sex couples simply use their names – Bill and Fred or Sarah and Jessica, but they might want a special term used such as ‘life-partner’ ‘chosen one’ ‘soul mate’ etc. If you’re a guest, look at the invitation for clues, or ring up and ask! A toast to the ‘bride and groom’ can become a toast to ‘these lifelong partners’ or ‘Bill and Fred, these two who have chosen each other above all others’, if you know what phrasing they favour.

Getting through your toast or speech
Yes, it’s nerve-wracking, isn’t it? Here are ten tips to making a good speech:

1. Take time to think about what you want to say. Think about what you want people to know about your friends, and what you wish for their future.

2. Sit down and write it out. You don’t have to read it on the day, but writing it down helps fix it in your mind.

3. Put a little bit of your personality into the speech. Let your words reflect who you are and how you feel.

4. Practice your speech in front of people that you feel comfortable with and ask them for their opinions. If you don’t trust anyone, use a mirror to watch yourself or set up the video camera and play it back on the TV – you’ll be amazed how you look and sound!

5. KISS. (Keep It Short, Stupid!) Your speech should be between 2 and 6 minutes.

6. If you’re way down the speech list – stick to soft drinks until your turn is over. If it’s hard to make a speech, it’s trebly hard when several glasses of fizzy wine have already gone to your head!

7. Start your speech with one of your treasured memories of the couple. This can be sentimental or funny, but make sure you share information appropriate for all ages – no embarrassing stories from the past with grannies and little kiddies in the room!

8. Let everyone know how you feel about the happy couple. Talk about how happy they’ve made each other.

9. Wish them success in their marriage. You could let them know you hope that they will have a smooth married life, but you also know that if there are problems, they will solve them.

10. Raise your glass and salute the couple – you’ve done your job and now you can enjoy your glass of champagne.

Suitable toasts
This one gets heard at a lot of same sex marriages in the USA in May!

Apple blossoms swing and sway,
In the merry month of May.
All the fairy folks are gay,
’Tis the merry month of May.
In the trees the birdies call,
Apple blossoms softly fall,
Hear the robin sweetly say
’Tis the merry month of May.
- Traditional

Here are some others that suit different circumstances:

There is a light that shines beyond the heavens;
this is the light that shines in your heart when you are in love.

"May you have warmth in your igloo, oil in your lamp and peace in your heart!"
- Eskimo Proverb

May the face of every good news,
And the back of every bad news,
Be toward you,
From this day forward.

May the goblets of life hold no dregs of sorrow.

I love weddings. They are where strange tales begin and happy endings are possible.

May your right hand always
Be stretched out in friendship
And never in want.

Always remember, if you’re enough lucky to be married to _______,
then you’re lucky enough!

May misfortune follow you the rest of your life, but never catch up.

And if you want to do something really different on your big day ...

There’s a new trend to hiring a video booth and setting up a loop in reception room. Your guests record their toasts to you in the booth during the reception, and they are played back on a loop on the big screen throughout the reception – this adds an extra dimension to your wedding video too.

Several couples are opting for the Charity toast. This follows the traditional toasts and speeches. Anybody in the room can make a speech – their first minute is free: but for every minute afterwards they agree to donate a sum of money to a nominated charity. One couple recently made £650 for the Disaster Relief Committee!