First, you could hire a bridesmaid starting at $US1,000.
Now, you can pay $US500 or more for someone to write a wedding toast straight from the heart — well, a heart, anyway.
The New York Times explores the trend of hiring professional speechwriters to compose toasts for special occasions, whom it calls “toast whisperers.”
It’s not just limited to weddings — you can hire a professional to script your sentiments at events like birthday parties and Bar Mitzvahs, anniversaries, baby namings, and “even funerals.”
Unsurprisingly, this industry is most popular in major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.
From The Times:
Lindsi Shine, a high-end lifestyle consultant in New York with over 400 clients, mostly celebrities, athletes and Wall Street executives, has a small stable of ghostwriters she sends tongue-tied 1 percenters to.
“You know you’re always being judged a little,” Ms. Shine said, “so it’s better to get some professional help than try to handle it on your own. I’m from Indiana, and in Indiana we go to weddings and we enjoy them. In New York, we go to weddings and we review them.”
According to the American Express Spending and Savings Tracker, the average cost of being in a wedding party is $US701, and that doesn’t include having your toast ghostwritten. Of course, that’s nothing compared to the costs shouldered by the bride and groom — the average cost of holding a wedding, excluding the honeymoon, is over $US31,000 as determined by wedding website The Knot. (However, that extravagant number has faced some debate.)
If you aren’t interested in hiring out your toast-writing duties, the professionals who spoke to The Times warn amateurs to keep it short and avoid embarrassing stories. Victoria Wellman, founder of the New York City ghostwriting company Oratory Laboratory who writes about 100 speeches a year, boils down the components of a successful toast:
“We always say a speech should be about 70 per cent humour, 30 per cent sincerity,” Ms. Wellman said. “When you are sincere, when you truly break down how you feel about the person, people know it’s real.”
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