21st Birthday Speech Writing Tips

History is littered with bad 21st birthday speeches that started with good intentions. A bad toast can put a sour note on any 21st birthday party – ideas like poems and talking about exes might look good on paper but will only get you groans or, worse, silence.

So here are 10 toast tips to make sure people remember your speech (regardless of how much they drink).

1. FINISH BY INVITING EVERYONE TO DRINK

Logically you might think advice on how to end a speech would come at the end of the list but this one is so important, so crucial, so paramount to everyone enjoying your speech that it takes the first spot on the list. Don’t finish by saying ‘thank you’ (this isn’t a high school English speech) or by starting everyone to sing Happy Birthday (this isn’t a party for an eight year old). You finish by holding up your drink, which…. hold on.

2. HAVE A DRINK IN YOUR HAND

You finish your toast by holding up your glass, saying something like ‘Here’s to the birthday boy/girl’ and inviting everyone in attendance to drink to their honour. This absolutely, most importantly, includes the guest of honour. That brings us to tip number two.

3. BE SURE THE BIRTHDAY BOY OR GIRL HAS SOMETHING TO DRINK AT THE END OF YOUR TOAST

Keeping the birthday person in good supply of libations is a joint responsibility of all the partygoers but it will be your toast that falls flat if they end up empty handed when everyone else is drinking.

4. MAKE IT PERSONAL

Don’t go to Google or Pinterest or some trashy mag to find out what to say in a 21st speech. If you’ve been asked to give the speech than you better show why.

5. DON’T MAKE IT ABOUT YOU

You get to be the centre of everyone’s attention while you give the speech but the birthday girl/boy has to be the focus of the speech. That’s the deal. It might be tempting to run through a few jokes you’ve written for an open mic but if they’re not about your bestie you can give them a miss.

6. KEEP IT BRIEF

Got it?

7. BE SOBER ENOUGH TO REMEMBER YOUR SPEECH

It’s a fine line to tread between sober enough to be articulate and too sober to be confident but you’ll just have to trust your gut and save the kamikaze shots for after cake.

8. KEEP IT HAPPY

Don’t crash the mood by talking about dead pets or lost friends. This is a celebration and you want to keep spirits alive. If there’s something a little dour you have the mention, try not to linger on it. The only tears you want are from people laughing too hard.

9. GIVE A TOAST EVERYONE CAN ENJOY

In-jokes are fun and great to pepper in there, but don’t base your speech around things only a handful of people will understand.

10. COMPLIMENT THE VENUE

Finding decent 21st birthday venues can be a bit of a drag so if this one is being held somewhere like the Acadia Room or the Verandah Room then it’s probably a good idea to give them a quick ‘job well done’. Unless they kinda miffed the venue choice, in which case…

11. ADMONISH THEM FOR NOT CHOOSING TO HAVE THEIR 21ST AT THE FOX

Seriously, if you’re having your party at a lesser venue then you’re just wasting people’s time.

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