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Anyone who’s had to give a wedding toast knows how stressful it can be, especially if public speaking isn’t your forte.
You want to strike the right balance of humor and sentimentality, making your speech sufficiently thoughtful, but wrapping it up before guests begin to nod off.
Fortunately, Hollywood has provided plenty of examples of how wedding speeches can go right — or very, very wrong. Here are seven pointers we’ve pulled from pop culture to get you through your next toast:
1. You only get one turn at the mic
The dueling speeches delivered by Annie (Kristen Wiig) and Helen (Rose Byrne) in 2011’s “Bridesmaids” are a hilarious demonstration of what not to do (which includes trying to impress the crowd with your rusty high school Spanish).
2. Gracefully ignore interruptions
When Carrie is asked to give a wedding speech for Miranda’s friends in the “Sex and the City” episode “The Chicken Dance,” she writes a surprisingly touching poem for the occasion. Big nearly ruins the moment when he rudely rushes out to take a call, but Carrie remains poised, passing off tears over her own relationship shortcomings as “tears of joy for the happy couple.”
3. Make it genuine
After attempting to sabotage the nuptials of Michael (Dermot Mulroney) and Kimmy (Cameron Diaz) in the 1997 rom-com “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” Julianne (Julia Roberts) offers a truly heartfelt apology. “I dreamt that some psychopath was trying to break the two of you up,” she tells them. “Luckily I woke up and I see the world is just as it should be. For my best friend has won the best woman.”
4. Inject some humor
Charles (Hugh Grant) turns his speech in "Four Weddings and a Funeral" into a standup routine about the unfortunate circumstances of his last best-man gig. “The divorce came through a couple of months ago. But l'm assured it had absolutely nothing to do with me. Paula knew Piers had slept with her sister before I mentioned it in the speech,” he jokes. But after a few zingers, he gets sentimental, telling the couple, “I am, as ever, in bewildered awe of anyone who makes this kind of commitment that Angus and Laura have made today.”
5. Don’t mention exes
In 2012’s “The Five-Year Engagement,” Tom (Jason Segel) is less than charmed when best friend Alex (Chris Pratt) performs an inappropriate parody of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” complete with a slideshow of his many past girlfriends.
6. Keep it short and sweet
In “The Hangover Part II,” set in Thailand, Alan’s (Zach Galifianakis) cringe-worthy list of “fun facts” about the country (whose name he mispronounces) prompts Doug (Justin Bartha) to wisely advise, “Why don’t you skip to the last card there, buddy.”
7. Focus on the couple — not yourself
During Chandler and Monica’s wedding on “Friends,” Joey attempts to impress Chandler’s mom’s date, a Broadway director, by showing off his acting skills. “I realized I’ll always be their friend, their friend who can speak in many dialects and has training in stage combat and is willing to do partial nudity,” he awkwardly proclaims.
But as Joey demonstrates, even if you mess up, just raise your glass to the happy couple and all will be forgotten.
This post was originally published on April 27, 2015.