About Tom Haibeck
So now that you've stumbled across my website and read the introduction to WeddingToasts.com, you may be wondering about who I am – and why I might be qualified to offer you advice on how to emcee a wedding or make a wedding toast.
Over the past 25+ years, I have made toasts and speeches at hundreds of weddings, special events and dinners. I have also served as emcee and Best Man at the weddings of numerous friends and family members. And as a communications professional, I’ve written speeches and provided speaker training for some of North America’s top corporate executives (see Haibeck.com).
But it all began at a little 500-watt radio station on the Canadian prairies. In my late teens and early twenties, I served my apprenticeship as an announcer, disc jockey, reporter and anchor. That was also about the time many of my friends began to get married – and being I was experienced in speaking before an audience and knew how to use a microphone, I often got the call to help out with wedding toasts and emcee duties.
I should mention at this point that I completed a broadcast journalism program at Mount Royal College in Calgary, Alberta and later graduated from Simon Fraser University's School of Communications in Vancouver, British Columbia. I also enrolled in the Dale Carnegie Course in Public Speaking and Human Relations, where I won First Prize for Best Speech and finished with the Highest Award for Achievement.
"Will You Make a Toast to the Bride?"
Suffice to say, I was a good speaker and in hot demand on the wedding circuit. But I was always interested in improving my speaking abilities, so I did a lot of research on the subject matter and talked to a wide range of wedding professionals about how best to emcee or make a toast at a wedding.
I began compiling all this research into a series of files for my own reference purposes. Then one day, I got a call from an older friend who had been asked to speak at his nephew’s wedding. He told me he was very nervous and unsure about what to say, and asked if I could offer any tips or assistance (I clearly remember the fear in his voice when he called).
In response, I wrote a few pages of notes for him and delivered them to his office. He read through them, incorporated those thoughts and suggestions into his presentation and did a superb job at the wedding. He called me right afterwards and thanked me profusely for my help. It occurred to me at that point that there might be a market for a book on the subject of how to emcee a wedding and/or how to make a wedding toast.
"There's nothing like a little liquid courage to calm the nerves!"
"Will You Do the Honors at Our Wedding?"
But it was my own wedding that inspired me to actually write the books. I had asked one of my best friends to emcee and make a toast at our wedding, and he made all the classic mistakes. He started writing his little “tribute” on the back of a napkin the day before the wedding – and soon found himself panicking about what he was going to say before an audience of some 125 guests.
By the next day, he was a nervous wreck, counting down the hours to the time he would have to preside over the reception. So he did what a lot of people do in that situation. He got stinking drunk.
The stories he told about our wild road-trips and ex-girlfriends might have gone over well at the stag. But in the context of a formal wedding reception at a fancy hotel, he went over like a drunken lout at a garden tea party.
His attempts at humor were too often met with a deadly silence – except, of course, for our old buddies in the back of the room, who laughed uproariously at his ribald tales. And of course the harder they laughed, the more he was encouraged to blather on – and the whole experience was deeply embarrassing for my wife, our parents and many of the older guests in attendance.
The Books That Could Have
Made All the Difference
I distinctly remember (while hiding under the table) thinking that I should have given him the same file of notes that I had given my other friend. But I didn’t, because I thought he might have been offended by my attempt to “stage-manage” his performance.
Later that night, I asked him how he would have felt if I had given him some prep notes. “I could have used all the help I could get!” he said, and admitted that he felt horribly unprepared for his moment in the spotlight.
So a few months later, I got to work on the first edition of the book, which I eventually published in 1990. I never dreamed it would become an international bestseller. Or that Regis Philbin would be recommending it to his millions of viewers. Or that it would eventually become the cornerstone of my own little publishing empire.
"The Advice in Your Book was Invaluable!"
But the best part of the entire experience for me has been the feedback I've gotten from the people who have benefited from the book. Over the years, I've received hundreds of thank-you cards, letters, phone calls and e-mails from people all over the world who have quite literally raved about how much the book helped them.
So… here’s to you and your own success with the books. I hope to hear from you in the near future with your own account of your success as a wedding emcee or how you brought down the house with a truly brilliant wedding toast!
And remember, if you buy the books from this website and aren’t completely satisfied with it, I’ll refund your money, no questions asked.
To order the electronic version of The Wedding MC handbook and Wedding Toasts Made Easy! as part of my Ultimate Wedding Speaker Kit, click here!