As society emerged from the isolation of 2020, we moved into 2021 with a newfound appreciation for the act of gathering and celebrating with our loved ones. In a February 25 online article, Esther Lee of The Knot coined 2021 the “Year of Intentionality.” Looking at the trends of this year so far, it’s clear the impact the intentionality mindset has had on the wedding industry. Couples are making the best out of ever-evolving restrictions, creatively putting the focus on what truly matters: the importance of being together, and the emotion that brings to their wedding day. Everyone wants to celebrate their union and showcase their unique love story with the people that matter most to them.
AofE’s Favorite Trend of 2021
Gathering again has been one of the biggest gifts of 2021, one that we often took for granted in prior years. Couples are now focusing on the intent and the vibe of their wedding day, looking for ways to meaningfully connect, and leading many to make smaller, more intimate guest lists.
“Over time, couples have leaned into
experiences over aesthetics, creating
hyper-personalized affairs and curated guest ‘moments,” writes Lee.
With this shift to curated guest lists (apologies to your second cousin once removed and your mother’s best friend’s son), a beautiful new trend has emerged and is our newest obsession here at AofE — “tiny toasts”! Dinner party-style speeches give each guest a moment to connect with and reflect on their special relationship with you. Many couples are encouraging each of their guests to participate by giving an abbreviated toast, and often the newlyweds will toast their guests in return. These “tiny toasts” replace the traditional, scripted speeches of the past.
What really makes this trend so special is the importance it places on each individual guest. Everyone gets to share their love for you and your new spouse, and be an integral part of your big day. The dinner party-style format is relaxed and casual, taking off some of the pressure of speaking in front of a group. But we know that public speaking isn’t for everyone. There is a reason it continuously ranks as one of the top phobias among adults! That’s why AofE created this list of the top 3 tips for crafting a memorable tiny toast that will keep your heart from racing, and leave people talking for days after the wedding about your fabulous contribution:
- Open with the people who really matter: the newlyweds. Other guests want to hear about them, not you.
- Make it feel inclusive, like all the guests are a part of your memory. A bit of embarrassment can break the ice; sensory details bring your toast alive; and do call attention to other guests that may tie into the story.
- Hit them with emotion at the end. Lay on all the love, and leave everyone with glasses raised, and tears falling!
For more helpful tips and tricks for public speaking, check out resources like The Science of the People. Founder Vanessa Van Edwards provides game-changing formats, and all the elements that are necessary for captivating storytelling and the delivery of a killer toast. She sums it up beautifully when she says, “Most importantly, remember that your toast is an act of love. I’m being serious here! The greatest gift you can give another human being is sharing your love for them in public. It honors them, it honors your relationship, and it shows others you are proud to have them in your life. So don’t just have an okay toast, have an awesome one.”
Preserve These Special Words
AofE’s “The Best is Yet to Come Guest Book” has quickly become one of our most sought-after products. Skillfully curated, it puts a focus on the intentions and emotions behind the event. We know all too well that this day passes by in the blink of an eye. That’s why we designed this beautiful piece. It gives you a thoughtful way to remember your day and the love that surrounded the two of you, and sets you on the path for a lasting anniversary tradition.
Our heirloom keepsake book is an experience for both you and your guests. Elegant “toast sheets” are designed to capture all those “tiny toasts” (say goodbye to saving scribbled notes on cocktail napkins), and “words of advice” cards (our favorite!) are just two features that make our guest book unique. Both items allow guests to leave heart-felt words for you, but the fun part about the “advice cards” is that your guests seal them in an envelope and affix a sticker with the anniversary year they would like you to open it. It’s your choice whether to send out these cards in advance, to give them more time for reflection, or to have them available for guests to share their warm words while they wait for your big entrance.
A Wedding of Intentionality is Just a Few Steps Away
With the completion of a curated guest list, the creation of an intimate environment that gives space for your guests to meaningfully contribute to the day, and an AofE heirloom guest book in hand, your wedding can transform from a party with an open bar to a celebration of community and intentionality. We believe, now more than ever, that a wedding is a golden opportunity to gather with purpose and allow everyone to meaningfully contribute to the day. After all, these special guests were a big part of shaping you as a person and will continue to serve as trusted counselors as you navigate life as a couple. Embrace this “Year of Intentionality” by creating space for the ones you love, and preserving their sacred words to bring you joy and celebration in everyday life.